Audi is hellbent on filling every which niche. Today it's the turn of the A5 to be mangled into a new bodyform: the new A5 Sportback. This latest version is unveiled on the date of Audi's centenary. Many happy returns, Ingolstadt.
Amidst all the hoopla, fireworks and celebrations, we have to admit to being a little baffled by this new addition to the A5 range: a five-door version of the A5, itself the two-door iteration of the four- and five-door A4. Got that? It reminds us a little of the recent VW Golf/Bora overlaps which spawned carbon copy estates and other results of VW family inbreeding.
The A5 Sportback itself is considerably better looking than the VW archive's same-again wagons, though. This is a more practical A5, complete with a niftily useful hatchback and 480-980-litre boot, a dash of coupé style but a whole lot of A4 DNA. That's our view; Audi prefers to say the A5 Sportback mixes 'the emotion and elegance of a coupé, the comfort of a sedan and the practicality of a station wagon.'
Right. When does the A5 Sportback go on sale?
UK sales kick off in October 2009, priced from £25,440 to £36,220. A typically wide choice of engines spans from a 178bhp 2.0 TFSI to a 263bhp 3.2 V6 in petrol guise, from 168bhp 2.0 TDI to 237bhp 3.0 TDI if you prefer the black pump. Being based on the familiar A4/A5 hardware, a combination of front- and four-wheel drive is available in tandem with every which transmission you care to name.
In total, that's six engines at launch, with a further three promised for 2010. All come with a regenerative braking system that stores energy under braking and coasting to top up the battery. And 2.0-litre models boast stop-start.
Look closely at the A5 Sportback and it's more ground-hugging than the A4 saloon – 36mm lower, in fact. In line with its sporting aspirations, there are only four seats.
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