Audi's new hatch is a fine choice

Starting at $42,155

Audi's A5 and performance-oriented twin the S5, embody a sporty coupe design, sure to attract people who want a car with a daring look. But Audi thinks that some of these buyers may be stymied by the coupe's impractical design. Enter the A5 Sportback, similarly twinned with the S5 Sportback, a model that not only adds two rear doors, but also brings in a hatch over the rear cargo area.

The coupe-styling of the A5 makes it one of the better-looking cars on the road, but the A5 Sportback isn't too shabby itself. Similar to the popular Audi A7, its roofline shows a smooth flow down through the hatch. However, it is somewhat difficult to see the model resemblance between A5 coupe and A5 Sportback.

Technology has been a high point in Audi vehicles, and the A5 Sportback follows suit, gaining the Virtual Cockpit technology that Audi launched in its TT model. That means an LCD panel for the instrument cluster showing a combined virtual gauge and navigation view.

Audi fits the car with a 4G/LTE data connection, enabling Google Earth integration into the navigation system along with Google destination search. For audiophiles, Audi will offer a Bang and Olufsen stereo as an option.

Drivelines will be the same as the A5 and S5 coupe models. That means a direct injection turbocharged 2-liter engine in the A5, good for 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque in the A5 Sportback, and a direct injection turbocharged 3-liter V6 in the S5 Sportback making 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

Both Sportback models come standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive.

The hatchback will be the real selling point of these models, allowing for easy cargo access. You might even think of these cars as the modern stand-in for a station wagon.

2018 Audi S5 Sportback

A rear hatch on an Audi S5? It's the new Sportback variant, making for a new choice in the Audi line-up.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

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