2021 Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback S-Line (car review)

LUXURIOUS, practical and just drop-dead gorgeous, the 2021 Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback S-Line is a stunner of an offering by the European manufacturer, blurring the lines between family car practicality and sports car performance.

Audi’s tagline for the A5 is sculptured like an athlete, and you know what, they weren’t lying. The Sportback styling is basically just a fancy way of turning a coupe into a sedan by adding doors and giving it a lift-back tailgate, rather than a conventional boot hatch.

It’s a blessing when you’re placing larger items such as prams or even boxes into the back, preventing damage to the body work or interior trims. The A5 Sportback is available in two variants, the front-wheel drive 40 TFSI and the all-wheel drive 45 TFSI.

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There are three available packages to choose from, the Carbon and Black Package, the Premium Plus Package and the S-Line Sport Package. When you’re done with that, there’s nine colours to choose from, three solid, five metallic and one pearlescent.

That’s without even mentioning the array of optional interior extras such as seat type, upholstery and even steering wheel shape. Our test vehicle was the all-wheel drive 45 TFSI, fitted with the S-Line package.

Thanks to some recent updates to the exterior, it is truly magnificent, regardless of what angle or even what light you look at it under. The front is aggressive, with lots of body lines flaring out from the large signature Audi grille.

The fog lamp housing and surrounding area is eye-catching thanks to how it juts out, but it works, it’s definitely got a mean look to it. It maintains this subtle aggression through the sides, and all the way to the rear of the car.

It culminates in an almost duck-tail appearance, complemented by the dual-exit exhaust and subtle diffuser to finish it all off.

Under the bonnet, you’ll find a 2.0-litre four cylinder engine fed with a hotside-setup turbocharger, making 183kW and 370Nm of torque to all four wheels. This is mated with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.

The combination makes the A5 Sportback more than capable of launching you from a standstill to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds. What you probably won’t be told is that there’s mild hybrid technology running in the background too.

The suspension setup is firm yet comfortable, with the Audi riding on 20-inch wheels with a lower profile tyre than the non S-Line version. You’ll feel the bumps and grooves in the road a lot more as a result, but it’s worth it, for how it looks.

We’re a little biased to performance over comfort, but in the A5 Sportback you get both. Plus, the addition of Audi’s optional adaptive damper control to help counteract some of those bumps makes it all the more worthwhile.

Because of this, we were only able to achieve a combined fuel economy of 8.7-litres/100km, compared to Audi’s claimed economy of 7.1-litres/100km.

Inside the cabin, there’s nothing but top quality materials wherever you look, the leather on the dash, the door cards, the steering wheel and the quilted leather on the seats. Slap the dash with your palm and feel the sturdiness of the soft dark leather panels.

It’s quality you’d expect from supercar manufacturers such as Ferrari or Lamborghini. And when it comes to in-car tech, the A5 Sportback is getting close to, if not already being at the pinnacle of technology.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, along with digital radio, satellite navigation, wireless phone charging and a brilliant 360-degree camera. That’s barely scratching the surface.

The dash mounted entertainment unit perfectly complements the completely digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, allowing you to change a multitude of settings that you probably will never find the time to go through.

Speedo and tacho settings and appearances can be customised, even shrunk and enlarged if you want to have your satellite navigation on the cluster instead of on the entertainment unit. You can even have both, and there’s a head-up display too.

With the flick of a switch or the press of a button, you can also change the drive mode, which adjusts the engine and transmission mapping, the dampers and the weight of the steering. Comfort is the default setting, and Eco and Dynamic are also available.

The latter is Audi’s version of Sports mode, but you can also opt for Custom mode, which is where we spent most of our driving experience, because it allows you to sharpen the things you want, like engine mapping, and soften stuff like suspension and steering.

If you’re looking to buy the A5 Sportback for family purposes, you won’t be disappointed either. Despite the sloping roof line, there’s plenty of head and leg room in the second row, and if you want to put a child seat in, there’s ISOFIX points and top tethers.

Both front seats are powered, and featuring heating for extra comfort during the colder months. Paired with quilted leather, you may as well sleep in the car. If you do choose to do that, there’s three-zone climate control.

The boot can hold 480-litres of cargo, which expands to 1280-litres with the back seats folded down. Bonus points to Audi for including a cargo net to stop all our belongings from flying around the boot while we were busy destroying our fuel economy.

The 2021 Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback retains its 5-star ANCAP safety rating, achieved in 2015. Features such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go, traffic jam assist, lane keep and departure assist all reinforce that score.

But you’ll also find rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring too. The luxurious lift-back is priced from $77,000 – excluding on-road costs and optional extras. Be warned though, loading up with option packs will push the price into six digit territory.

Audi offers a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty on the A5 Sportback, a car that’s at the top of our list of family friendly sedans. You can bet we’ll be anticipating upcoming updates for the A5, S5 and RS 5 ranges too.

It’s one of those cars that people will approach you about and compliment you on, because it really doesn’t put a foot wrong, anywhere.

Our 2021 Audi A5 Sportback 45 TFSI S-Line was supplied by Audi Australia. To find out more, contact your local Audi dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design / Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - brilliant drivetrain; excellent in-car tech; family friendly; killer looks.
Cons - short warranty; rides a bit firm; AEB unnecessarily controlling; extras can cause base price to skyrocket.
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual is an avid enthusiast of all things JDM, from the legendary powerhouses to the old school kei cars. He has a passion for modification and making his cars look like they belong on the track. But they never actually make it there.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> brilliant drivetrain; excellent in-car tech; family friendly; killer looks.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> short warranty; rides a bit firm; AEB unnecessarily controlling; extras can cause base price to skyrocket.2021 Audi A5 45 TFSI Sportback S-Line (car review)