Audi’s penchant for splitting and splintering its line-up is often bewildering.
It’s an approach which might seem the exact opposite of fabled Teutonic efficiency – but if that means there’s an Audi for almost every potential buyer, then it’s efficiency elevated into an exact science.
Case in point: the second-generation A5 and S5 Sportback, which combine the lineage of the four-door A4 sedan with the two-door A5 coupé.
A sportback, in Audi-speak, is a five-door coupe – four doors for people and one door for groceries, getaway luggage or Ikea flat-packs (for which you’ll want to fold down the rear seats) – wrapped up with a sporty hatchback-meets-fastback tail.
The new 2017 models play up the eye-appeal of the slinky original A5 Sportback with even sharper styling, dress-creases along the front and flanks, and a long low-slung look buoyed by the slightly stretched wheelbase and short overhangs.
A larger grille hints at more muscle, although Audi has yet to reveal which power plants we’ll see under the bonnet. The global offering starts with 1.4 and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines and a 2.0-litre turbo diesel, while the S5 Sportback (below) gets an eager 3.0-litre V6 turbo.
Yet the Sportbacks are hugely practical, with the tailgate providing easy access to a 480 litre boot.
And because Audi embraces technology to an almost “get a room” degree, the Sportback’s array of standard and optional features runs from wireless smartphone charging and an 8.3 inch Apple- and Android-friendly screen to a ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instrument pack with head-up display, 30 colour ambient LED lighting and 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen ‘3D sound system’.
The suite of active safety measures begs to be taken more seriously, as it should be.
An adaptive cruise control system looks after braking and accelerating in stop-start commuter traffic up to 55km/h, matching your speed to that of the vehicle in front; collision avoidance assistance fine-tunes your driving line to steer around an obstacle; and a clever exit warning helps prevent doors being opened if a cyclist is fast approaching.
There’s still a good nine months to go until the Sportback twins land in Australia, with prices and hard specs yet to be shared – although for what it’s worth, the current A5 Sportback starts at $68,000.