No one ever said sexy can’t also be practical, and the 2021 Audi A5 Sportback blends the best of what we love about the A4 sedan and the A5 coupe and adds a voluminous hatchback cargo hold hidden under its stylish fastback roofline. This athletic four-door competes with other similarly-styled sedans such as the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe and the Kia Stinger, and brings Audi’s tech-forward approach and simple-yet-chic interior design. Rear-seat headroom isn’t as generous as in the more traditional A4 sedan, but the A5’s cargo volume makes up for that deficiency and then some.
What’s New for 2021?
Like the rest of Audi’s A4 and A5 lineup, the A5 Sportback powertrain is now equipped with a new 12-volt hybrid system. The A5 Sportback also receives the lower-powered “40” turbo four-cylinder engine from the A4 lineup this year whereas the more powerful “45” engine was previously the sole offering. Both engines are up by 13 horsepower this year. The base Premium model now comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, lane-departure warning, and an integrated toll-road transponder; that car’s optional Convenience package now includes a heated steering wheel and front and rear parking sensors. The mid-range Premium Plus gains a host of standard driver-assistance features and the Prestige model now comes with heated rear seats.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Premium 40: $42,795
- Premium 45: $44,995
- Premium Plus 40: $47,695
- Premium Plus 45 $49,895
- Prestige 40: $53,395
- Prestige 45: $54,745
Like last year, we’ll stick with the mid-range Premium Plus. It adds plenty of features to justify its uptick in price, including Audi’s trick Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display. While we haven’t driven either the 40 or 45 model with the new hybrid system, we’re sure the significantly more powerful 45 is the one to go with here, so we’d happily check that mark on the order sheet.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
For 2021, the A5 Sportback can be had with two turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains, both employing a 12-volt hybrid system. Models wearing the 40 badge provide 201-hp while the 45 models pump out 261-hp. All-wheel drive is standard and all A5 Sportbacks come with a seven-speed automatic transmission. We haven’t tested either model yet, but the last generation car with the more powerful engine managed a 5.0-second zero-to-60-mph result at our test track. The A5 Sportback is composed, confident, and easy to drive fast through corners; it’s everything a modern sport sedan should be. Its agility belies its comfort, too: potholes and broken pavement do little to upset it, especially when it’s equipped with the optional adaptive suspension. The well-weighted steering feels natural in the driver’s hands, and the front tires respond immediately to inputs, making this Audi a joy to pilot on twisty tarmac.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy estimates for the 2021 A5 Sportback, but last year’s model earned estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. While we haven’t tested a 2021 A5 Sportback on our real-world highway fuel-economy route, an older model we evaluated returned 34 mpg during that test.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The A5 Sportback’s cabin isn’t as plush as some might expect from a luxury brand, but all of the materials are of high quality, the fit and finish is superb, and there are enough high-end features to distance it from mainstream sedans. Rear-seat passenger space isn’t as generous as in the Audi A4 sedan, but it’s spacious enough for two average-size adults—and for the slight sacrifice in rear headroom, you get the A5 Sportback’s sleek roofline, which is far sexier than that of its more angular and upright A4 sibling. All A5 Sportback models come well equipped with luxury necessities such as power front seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, and three-zone automatic climate control. A hatchback in disguise, the A5 Sportback’s sloping rear roofline hides a power-operated liftgate and a large cargo hold, making it far more practical than the Audi A4 sedan or the A5 coupe and convertible. It proved its mettle in our carry-on suitcase testing by accommodating 16 cases despite having a smallish cargo area according to the numbers. In fact, the Sportback beat all of its direct rivals in our real-world cargo test except for the particularly voluminous Buick Regal GS.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Audi’s MMI is one of the most pleasing-to-use infotainment systems among premium brands. It’s made even better by the A5 Sportback’s optional—and highly recommended—12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display. All models come with a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen display that can also be controlled by a clickwheel mounted on the console between the driver and the front-seat passenger. Audi’s MMI interface is easy to use while on the go, but Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration is standard if users prefer to interact directly with their smartphones instead. Navigation is optional and comes with access to a suite of internet and vehicle-connectivity features called Audi Connect Prime and Audi Connect Plus.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Earning good marks from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the A5 Sportback appears to be a trustworthy choice for those concerned with safety. Audi offers a wide range of driver-assistance features, but some are only available on the more expensive Premium Plus and Prestige models. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi’s warranty package doesn’t stand out among rivals in this comparison. The Kia Stinger’s 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain policy leads the segment in coverage but doesn’t offer complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for 1 year or 10,000 miles