Audi has released the first official pictures of its handsome new A5 and S5 Sportback, due to go on sale in 2017.
What’s a sportback, I hear you say. Allow me to explain. The A5 was made by removing two doors from the A4 and giving it a more slippery, streamlined shape.
Buyers loved it but some demanded more practicality, so Audi slapped two doors back on to create the A5 Sportback.
The new four-door model offers more cabin space than its two-door sibling and, like the regular A5, comes with a performance-focused S5 range-topping model.
Because of its lengthened rear section, the cabin space of the A5 Sportback is 17mm longer than the coupé’s, giving passengers 11mm of extra shoulder space and an additional 24mm of rear knee room.
Boot space is also up in the Sportback by 15 litres, to 480 litres. With the rear seats down – they’re arranged in a 40/20/40 layout – luggage capacity grows to 1300 litres.
A range of petrol and diesel engines will be available, while the high-performance S5 version will get the same 349bhp turbocharged V6 petrol as the S5 coupe and Audi S4 saloon and S4 Avant estate.
When it goes on sale early next year, the new Audi A5 Sportback’s biggest rivals will be the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, as well as more conventional executive cars like Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE and Lexus IS.
The A5 has front-wheel drive as standard, but quattro four-wheel drive is offered as an option and comes as standard on the 282bhp 3.0-litre and S5 variants.
The entry-level car sits on 17in wheels, with 18in wheels available for higher-spec models. Top-of-the-range A5s and the S5 get 19in wheels.
As standard, the A5 Sportback comes with suspension that can be adjusted to change ride harshness.
As is the case with the coupé, the A5 Sportback gets Audi’s optional Virtual Cockpit system, which includes a 12.3in high-definition digital instrument panel, as well as the latest evolution of Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system.
This uses an 8.3in monitor, touch-sensitive rotary controller and wireless internet connectivity for up to three years free of charge via a SIM card permanently installed in the car.
There’s also optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a wireless smartphone charging pad and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Audi is yet to confirm the car’s pricing, but a small increase is expected over the outgoing model, which starts at £30,035.
Order books will open this autumn, shortly after the car is revealed at the Paris motor show at the end of this month.