This is, for now, the only petrol engine in the A5 Sportback range (ignoring the turbo V6 in the S5), so it has to do a bit of everything.

Private buyers and lower-mileage company users will want distinguishing refinement and driveability from it; keener drivers will expect a bit of verve, rev range and pace.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Throttle-on balance out of sharper bends is a little lacking; there’s always a smidgeon of understeer to contend with

Anyone switching from diesel to petrol in the wake of the emissions scandal will likely expect all of that, plus economy comparable with that which they might have got from a like-for-like diesel without feeling like they’ve made a bad choice.

As unlikely as it may seem, the 2.0 TFSI in the A5 Sportback delivers on almost all of those considerations very well indeed.

This is a swift, slick car to drive and it can hit 60mph from rest quickly enough to put a hot hatchback in its place, but its powertrain also has balance, reserve and multi-faceted strength.

Even in chilly conditions the quattro drivetrain found more traction than it needed during standing-start testing.

It recorded sub-six-second 0-60mph acceleration times in both directions, but it did so smoothly and without ever feeling remotely strained.

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Accelerating from 30-70mph through the gears, it was two seconds faster than the A4 2.0 TDI 190 S tronic that we figured, but it matched the diesel’s 30-70mph sprint in fourth gear to the tenth, at 8.3sec.

In a nutshell, that’s diesel-level in-gear performance flexibility with extra high-range power thrown in for good measure. Have your cake and eat it territory, in other words.

The engine revs keenly beyond 5000rpm when you want it to and yet feels refined and well isolated at other times.

Our noise meter confirmed as much, recording the car to be quieter than the A4 diesel at all times except at maximum revs in third. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, meanwhile, has moments of hesitation but can be manipulated to adopt almost any shift style you like via several drive modes and manual paddle shifters.

Slightly underwhelming cruising economy is the only fly in the ointment: the 2.0 TFSI 252 registered 41.1mpg on our touring test, where wider experience suggests that the almost identically priced 3.0 TDI 218 would have pushed 50mpg.

It became obvious during our testing that the petrol engine’s economy dipped more markedly during hard driving than a diesel’s might have and that you need to use Efficiency mode to get the best cruising range (it’s worth at least 10 percent on the motorway).

Even so, the potential for just over 40mpg from a 249bhp petrol executive four-door is pretty commendable, even in 2017. 

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