Audi turns the A5 into an abomination

Audi announces the A5 Sportback, a five-door version of the A5 Coupe.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham

A5 Sportback teaser shot
Audi released only teaser images of the car, such as this shot of the hatchback. Audi

A streak of insanity has been running through the automotive design world these last few years, first expressing itself with the BMW X6. This particular psychosis reached across the world to Acura, with its upcoming ZDX model, but cropped up again at BMW with the 5-Series Gran Turismo. Now this design virus has leaped over to Audi, which has chosen to take the perfectly beautiful A5 coupe and add a hatchback.

One of the first clues to the disaster is this sentence from Audi's press release, "The five-door coupe features emotional and progressive styling to fascinate with powerful elegance and sporty proportions." Given the progressive loosening of the definition of coupe, with Audi pushing it to five doors, some car company will eventually apply it to an SUV. That sentence goes on to apply the descriptors progressive, elegance, and sporty to the car, which Audi is calling the A5 Sportback. It sounds as if Audi's marketing team didn't know what to call it, so ended up picking a set of words out of the dictionary.

A5 Sportback sketch
This sketch reveals the profile of the A5 Sportback. Audi

The thing is, we really, really like the design of the A5. To make room for the extra set of doors and the hatchback for the A5 Sportback, Audi extended the wheelbase, something that should have given the designers pause. Otherwise, the A5 Sportback should offer the same tech and power trains as the standard, better-looking A5.

Fortunately, the Audi A5 Sportback won't be sold in the U.S.