Audi’s A5 and S5 Sportback: A performance-minded detour from the SUV

Enlarge / The Audi 2018 S5 Sportback, parked just outside of Snoqualmie Falls, WA.

Sam Machkovech

SEATTLE—When introducing its sportback successor to the A4, Audi minced no words about its intended consumer target: the frequent car updater who is this close to switching to an SUV.

After a few hours’ drive in two flavors of this upgrade, the 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback, I was inclined to agree. If you want a luxury car with the length and carrying capacity of a boat, but not the sense that you need maritime credentials to steer it, then Audi’s new sportbacks might be enough to stop you from buying into America’s fastest-growing car-purchase sector.

0-60mph in a heartbeat—with room to spare

That niche is important to mind here, because unlike last year’s A4 sedan, Audi is not offering a sub-$40,000 option for these models. The 2018 A5 Sportback will set you back nothing short of $42,600, while its beefier S5 sibling, whose upgrades includes a 3.0L engine and S Sport Suspension, starts at $54,400.

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