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Performance, practicality and the most modish of drives come at a price. Audi India is looking to up the ante with their second-generation A5.
We drive the 2017 Audi S5 Sportback, the high-performance variant of Audi's A5, in Rajasthan's beautiful Pink City, Jaipur. Upon the conclusion of the drive, I contemplated - the S5 Sportback is a sure-enough performance-brat? Or is it?
The S5 Sportback exterior design is quite the head-turner with sporty design elements like the power dome hood and wave-design shoulder line. The S5 Sportback also boasts of features such as a sculptural Platinum Grey single-frame grille with aluminium-optic double horizontal blade bars, satin finish wing mirrors, contoured full LED headlights and the undeniably beautiful, "3D" LED tail lights with rear turn signals.
Overall, the all-new exterior styling is impressive; however, Audi has drifted from their robust and chiselled designs. Could this be because of Hyundai's poaching of Peter Schreyer, the German automobile designer widely known for his design contributions to the Audi TT? And let's not forget Luc Donckerwolke as well, former Design Director of Volkswagen Group's Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi; now, the Chief Designer at Hyundai-Kia.
Inside, the interior boasts an upmarket feel with an expansive wraparound dash, a rotary controlled media system, twelve-way power front seats with fine Nappa seating surfaces, and nicely finished interior inlays and ambient lighting, giving the S5 Sportback - high comfort levels during long-distance cruises.
Overall, the cabin is slicker than its rivals, with decent headroom and legroom in the rear. However, on the infotainment front, the S5 Sportback's interface is not pack leading compared to the BMW and Mercedes-Benz alternatives.
Power for the S5 Sportback comes from a turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine that produces 349bhp and a healthy 500Nm of torque, assisted by the Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system with self-locking centre differential. The transmission type is an eight-speed tiptronic, a conventional automatic with eight gears rather than a seven-speed S tronic dual clutch. The rest of the A5 range: A5 Sportback and A5 Cabriolet, features a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
Throttle response is on the up and up with strong power delivery in dynamic mode between 4500 - 6500rpm. The S5 Sportback can sprint to 100kph in a rapid 4.7 seconds, though in return claimed mileage drops below 10kpl. Transmission is smooth for the most part, and manual mode upshifts are quick; however, downshifts can be a bit laboured.
Audi's D.N.A. drive modes: comfort, auto and dynamic allow you to determine the quality of the driving experience based on your mood and road conditions. But for an intensely sporty drive, the dynamic mode feels best; however, the steering could do more with feedback. Overall, the S5 Sportback feels well balanced, and the suspension set-up is good and doesn't exactly get upset when pushing harder into bends and elevation changes.
Jobo Kuruvilla Thinks!
The 2017 Audi S5 Sportback represents a positive balance between performance, styling and practicality, and follows the art of being Audi. For India, the following models are on sale: the A5 Sportback, A5 Cabriolet and the S5 Sportback. Ultimately, for the four-ring loyalists, it is all about what variant of the A5 suits your flair. To think of it, the S5 Sportback we tested, is a performance-brat with practicality wrapped into an appealing package. But, if you are after outright performance and bent on style, the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG could be considered as well.
- Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol
- Power/torque: 349bhp/500Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive
- 0 - 100kph: 4.7 seconds
- Estimated top speed: 250kph
- Estimated mileage: 9.5 litres per 100kms
- On sale in India: October 5, 2017
- Estimated price: INR 80 to 85 lakh on-road