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First look: A5 Sportback is Audi’s centenary gift

100 years coming: The Audi A5 Sportback hatch offers the elegance of a coupe with the comfort and convenience of a sedan.

A5 Sportback model officially emerges as Audi celebrates its 100th birthday

16 Jul 2009

AUDI has celebrated its 100th anniversary by revealing the A5 Sportback – the German luxury brand’s third A5 model derivative and its second Sportback model.

Officially unveiled today (June 16) ahead of the Volkswagen premium division’s centenary celebrations in Germany tonight, the A5 Sportback goes on sale in Europe in September before hitting Australia in the first quarter of next year.

Audi Australia has committed to offering both direct-injected FSI petrol and TDI diesel engines in the A5 Sportback, which is expected to be priced above the four-door A4 sedan (from $53,900) and five-door A4 Avant (from $56,800) ranges, but below the A5 Coupe range, which opens in Australia at $79,900, with the upcoming A5 Cabriolet to carry a further premium.

As with the rest of Audi’s local model line-up, Audi Australia is likely to cherry-pick from the A5 Sportback’s global engine range, which in Germany will include three petrol and three diesel powerplants from launch, with a further three engines (including a 105kW/320Nm 2.0 TDI coupled with a CVT auto) to come on stream next year. All will meet the Euro V emission standard.

Expect the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 from the new S4 to eventually power the S5 Sportback, although it is yet to be seen if Audi sees fit to employ a more powerful but cleaner-burning version of the 4.2-litre V8 from the S5 Coupe and discontinued RS4 sedan and convertible to create an RS5 Sportback.

7 center imageAudi’s second five-door Sportback model after the A3 Sportback might be similar in its basic configuration to the five-door A4 wagon, but features such as a rear hatch that tapers into a neat rear spoiler and four frameless windows give it a similar design concept to BMW’s forthcoming 5 Series GT.

It features the same upswept shoulder line as the A5 Coupe, but adds a third side window that gives the five-door A5 Sportback’s D-pillar a different look to the two-door A5 Coupe’s C-pillar. Like the two-door A5s, the five-door is strictly a four-seater.

Said to offer both the elegance of a coupe with the comfort of a sedan and the versatility of a wagon, the A5 Sportback rides on a 59mm-longer (2810mm) wheelbase than the A5 Coupe and features a lower roofline than the A4 sedan and wagon.

At 4711mm long, 854mm wide and 1391mm high, it’s claimed to offer “much better” leg and shoulder room than the A5 Coupe and falls only a few millimetres short of the A4. Its luggage compartment extends from 480 to 980 litres with the rear seats folded – 25 litres more than the coupe and similar to that of the A4 Avant.

From launch, the A5 Sportback’s European engine menu comprises the 132kW 2.0 TFSI six-speed manual and a 155kW 2.0 TFSI with quattro and seven-speed S-tronic transmission, plus the 125kW/350Nm 2.0 TDI manual, 140kW/400Nm 2.7 TDI manual, 176kW/500Nm 3.0 TDI S-tronic and 195kW 3.2 FSI quattro S-tronic.

In Australia, the A5 Coupe is available in four drivetrain configurations: 2.0 TFSI quattro manual, 3.0 TDI quattro auto, 3.2 FSI auto and 3.2 FSI quattro auto.

All models will be equipped with a braking and deceleration energy recuperation system. Coupled with an idle-stop system, which will also come with the 2.0 TFSI model, the entry-level 2.0 TDI is claimed to return average fuel consumption of just 5.2L/100km, yet it also offers claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in 8.7 seconds.

Audi says the 2.0 TFSI variant has a kerb weight of just 1500kg, thanks in part to the use of aluminium front panels for all models. All four-cylinder models have a drag co-efficient of 0.29Cd.

The A5 Sportback also gets Audi’s new electronic stability control system with electronic front differential lock to reduce understeer and improve steering response on front-drive variants.

Wheel sizes will range between 17 and 20-inch. Other options include the Audi Drive Select system, which allows drivers to choose between three different driving modes, plus adaptive suspension damping, dynamic steering and a sports differential.

Audi expects Germany to account for one-third of all A5 Sportbacks sold, with the UK forecast to be its second-biggest market, followed by France, Italy and Spain.

Read more:

Audi gives sneek peek of A5 Sportback

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