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Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI Ultra SE Technik review

Smooth engine allows relaxed and easy progress in most situations

March 2015

picture of car from the front picture of car from the rear picture of car interior picture of car detail

Overall rating

4 out of 5 stars

Likes:

  • A spacious and practical cabin
  • Wide choice of engines, drivetrains
  • First small premium SUV from Audi
  • Good levels of equipment

Gripes:

  • Door pockets will not fit larger items like CD cases
  • Urban fuel economy isn't impressive
  • Fuel economy meters lack precision
  • A rear windscreen wiper would be welcome

Audi's search for ever-greater fuel economy has culminated in a range of 'Ultra' models specifically tuned to offer the maximum efficiency potential. The A5 Sportback is a perfect candidate to be fitted with such an engine, as a car that appeals to budget-conscious drivers who don't want to compromise on quality, like company car drivers and parents.

The A5 is not a compact car, sharing much of its chassis with the A4 but with a larger, more spacious body. The roofline is higher for longer, specifically for the purpose of carrying adult rear passengers. It is styled in imitation of a saloon, lacking a rear windscreen wiper, but it is in fact a hatchback.

It therefore sits in a busy sector of the market, surrounded by cars that might be cheaper, larger, more luxurious or more exclusive, but Audi argues that the A5 Sportback Ultra offers an ideal balance between premium and accessibility. Key to its appeal is a diesel engine that is tuned differently to its otherwise similar kin.

It therefore sits in a busy sector of the market, surrounded by cars that might be cheaper, larger, more luxurious or more exclusive, but Audi argues that the A5 Sportback Ultra offers an ideal balance between premium and accessibility. Key to its appeal is a diesel engine that is tuned differently to its otherwise similar kin.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine has been detuned and has less power and torque than other TDI units in the A5 range, but this Ultra version spreads its pulling power over a broader rev range than its counterparts, giving a linear, smooth power delivery that encourages early gear shifting and a progressive style of driving. It is very easy to drive economically.

Our verdict on the Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI Ultra SE Technik

This is not the most exciting car in the world, but understatement can be just as desirable. The A5 Sportback TDI Ultra looks every inch a premium car and goes about its business quietly and smoothly, with echoes of the brilliant A6 in its sense of refinement. Choose the SE Technik trim grade to include all the technology you're likely to want without compromising the ride quality or comfort.