Audi continues the rollout of its A4 family of cars with the newest model, the 2018 S5 Sportback. A hatchback with a coupe-like profile and a powerful engine in the mold of the larger S7, the S5 is set to make its debut in the United States this spring.
The powertrain is taken straight from the S4 sedan and S5 coupe. It is a longitudinally mounted, twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that spins out 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The power is routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels via Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. Buyers who order the S Sport package also get a Sport Differential that can send all of the available power at the rear axle to the outside wheel in turns to improve handling.
Audi says all that power motivates the S5 Sportback to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph when equipped with summer performance tires.
Like the S4, the S5 Sportback uses the brand's MLB Evo platform and has a five-link front suspension. The Audi Drive Select system is standard. It has Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual driving modes that allow drivers to change the steering weight, throttle response, shift points, and adaptive cruise control settings. The S Sport package also comes with electronically adjustable dampers that are subject to the whims of the Drive Select system as well.
The greatest differentiator between the S4 sedan and S5 Sportback is the sloping hatchback body style. It will also be the main reason buyers choose this car because it looks fantastic. Audi calls the S5 a five-door coupe, and while that is technically inaccurate, it is emotionally correct. It is, in fact, a four-door hatchback, but the sloping roofline is sleek and coupe-like in appearance, while still delivering some of the utility of a hatchback. This look has never been used on the A4 platform, though it has had success on the A6 platform in the form of the A7 and S7, cars that have earned a reputation for being among the most beautiful on the market.
Otherwise, the look is very much current Audi. The lines are crisper than they have been in the past, but they are evolutionary, not revolutionary. Details include LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights; a platinum gray singleframe grille with aluminum-look bars; and aluminum-look side mirrors that are also auto-dimming, power folding, and heated. The rolling stock is 18-inch double-spoke wheels with standard summer tires (all-seasons and 19s are optional), and the S5 Sportback also gets quad exhaust outlets with chrome tips, a unique rear diffuser with a honeycomb structure, a sunroof, and a power liftgate.
Fold the rear seats down, and the S5 Sportback offers 35 cubic feet of cargo space in the back. Aside from that, the interior is much like that of the S4. It offers Audi's virtual cockpit digital infotainment and gauge display in the instrument panel. The virtual cockpit comes with Google Earth navigation, and it should get the same sport display mode as the S4. This sport display makes the tach and speedometer prominent and adds a boost gauge and lap timer. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are standard. Tech and entertainment options include the MMI touch interface with handwriting recognition, a color head-up display, and a Bang & Olufsen 3-D sound system.
2018 Audi S5 Sportback
2018 Audi S5 Sportback (European spec)
2018 Audi S5 Sportback (European spec)
The cockpit is also nicely appointed. It has three-zone automatic climate control and heated 8-way power-adjustable front sport seats with 4-way power lumbar support, power side bolsters, and a massage function. The upholstery is diamond-stitched leather and Alcantara. A heated steering wheel and heated rear seats are available in a Cold Weather package and ventilated front seats are available in a Warm Weather package.
Standard safety features include forward collision warning with emergency braking and pedestrian detection; blind spot warnings; and a system that prepares the car for a crash from the rear, warns the occupants when exiting the car if a cyclist is approaching, and includes rear cross traffic alerts. Also available are adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane assist, and active high beams.
The 2018 Audi S5 Sportback is set to hit dealers this spring with a price of $55,375 for a Premium Plus model and $59,775 for a Prestige model.
For more on the Audi A4 range, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.