The MLB-underpinned Sportback enjoys the same advantages already showcased by the current A4, in that it is marginally longer and wider than the car it replaces and significantly lighter.

Without the full range of downsized engines, the A5 can’t quite claim to have shed the same 120kg its saloon sibling managed, but the “as much as” 85kg quoted by Audi helps the model tested to achieve a respectable 1535kg kerb weight.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
What’s better than one cargo net in the boot? Three of ’em, plus a couple of retaining straps. You can tuck smaller items under the main net on the boot floor as well as bigger things beneath it

The weight loss can be attributed not only to the platform’s mix of aluminium and high-strength steel, but also the kind of far-reaching effort that results in the through-load seat frame being made of magnesium and the carpets being ‘weight-optimised’.

Such attention to detail is admirable and of benefit to both efficiency and performance.

The performance-orientated 249bhp 2.0 TFSI doesn’t share the clever Miller cycle timing of the 188bhp version that is currently available in the A5 coupé and A4 estate and saloon here in the UK, but it is nevertheless armed with Audi’s valve lift system and all the other bells and whistles required to deliver 273lb ft from 1600rpm while emitting just 144g/km of CO2.

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The 188bhp 2.0 TDI unit trumps that with 295lb ft (equalling the 215bhp 3.0 TDI’s peak twist), and is offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, if you go for entry-level spec.

Most people, though, will opt for the seven-speed S tronic transmission, newly fettled for the job and attachable to any engine save the forthcoming 282bhp 3.0 TDI and the 349bhp 3.0 V6 TFSI in the S5, both of which will use the latest iteration of Audi’s eight-speed Tiptronic torque converter automatic.

Whichever drivetrain you opt for, the Sportback’s suspension is by way of a revised five-link axle at the front and an entirely new one at the rear, where its predecessor had a heavier trapezoidal-link.

Our test car had standard passive sport suspension; adaptive dampers are a £600 option.

Audi’s Drive Select, though, is featured across the range, as is a revised electromechanical steering rack. The 2.0 TFSI tested gets the quattro-branded self-locking centre differential that defaults to a 40 percent front, 60 percent rear torque split, although 70 percent to the front or 85 percent to the rear is possible. An additional sport diff for the back axle is limited to the option list of the S5 and top-spec TDI. 

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