Select a year
- Highs Muscular turbo V-6, corner-carving moves, rich interior.
- Lows Lacks driving soul, too low-key in comfort mode, annoyingly light on front cubby storage.
- Verdict The S5 Sportback is fast and fun but from behind the wheel it’s less visceral than the segment’s top guns.
To create the S5 Sportback, Audi grabbed its 349-hp S5 coupe by both ends and stretched it to accommodate more passenger space, four doors, and a hatchback liftgate. Both S5’s use that same turbocharged V-6 bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission pushing power to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. The dapper S5 Sportback impresses on curvy roads and, although its punchy powertrain can hustle, its delivery feels somewhat muzzled. Sharper competitors such as the BMW M340i and the Mercedes-AMG C43 are fiercer and more fun to drive. The S5’s large hatchback liftgate makes loading cargo easy but compared to the mechanically identical S4 sedan, the Sportback’s rear legroom is less capacious. That’s the price of style, and the slick S5 Sportback has plenty.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
The 2023 Audi S5 Sportback receives minor updates to differentiate it from last year’s model. The S5 Sportback’s new Black Optic Plus appearance package includes more black elements such as a black spoiler and exhaust tips. Adaptive cruise control is added to the optional Convenience package. An Audi Sport interior package is new for 2023, adding red stitching and RS carbon inlays to the S5 Sportback’s black interior. Finally, Quantum Gray paint option has been replaced by Chronos Gray.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We'd go with the mid-level Premium Plus model which offers a delightful balance of extras for the price. Items such as a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, built-in navigation, passive entry, a wireless smartphone charging pad, leather upholstery, massaging front seats, and front and rear automated emergency braking are all standard. The only options we’d splurge on are performance-enhancing ones. The Black Optic package (black exterior trim, 20-inch wheels, performance summer tires) and the S Sport package (red brake calipers, adaptive dampers, and a torque-vectoring rear differential) both bring along enough upgrades to significantly improve the handling of the S5; it doesn’t hurt that these packages make the car look cooler too.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Displacing 3.0 liters, the turbo V-6 is more powerful and torquier than the supercharged engine of the same displacement that came in the last-generation S5. It accelerates rapidly from a stop, and overtaking other drivers on the highway is effortless. While it trails the Mercedes-AMG C43's 4.1-second zero-to- 60 mph time, the last S5 model we tested still managed an impressive 4.3-second sprint. The eight-speed automatic transmission performs admirably, but its preference for second-gear starts when in Comfort mode exacerbates the engine's initial turbo lag and renders the S5 sleepy off the mark. Tap the Drive Select switch out of Comfort mode and into Dynamic or Auto mode, however, and the S5 Sportback comes to life, eagerly leave the line in first gear. Similarly, the transmission is reluctant to downshift Comfort mode. Again, swapping to Dynamic or Auto largely rectifies this issue. Our test car was equipped with both the-optional 19-inch performance tires and the S Sport package, which includes a torque-vectoring rear differential and adaptive dampers. These pieces together provide the S5 Sportback with a firm but forgiving ride and a lot of cornering grip.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the S5 Sportback will earn 21/30mpg city/highway. While we haven't tested a 2023 S5 Sportback on our real-world highway fuel-economy route, the last one we evaluated returned 33 mpg during that test. For more information about the S5 Sportback's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The S5 Sportback's interior features high-quality materials, top-notch fit-and-finish, and an ergonomically friendly design. In spite of its low roofline, the Sportback is relatively spacious. Those seeking even more interior space will be better served by the less swoopy but mechanically identical Audi S4 sedan, which includes almost 0.5 inch more legroom for rear-seat passengers. Every S5 Sportback features luxuries such as front seats with heating and massage functions, three-zone climate control, a sunroof, and passive entry with push-button start. Thanks to its hatchback body style, the Sportback is impressively versatile and has one of the roomiest trunks in this segment. We fit six carry-on suitcases into the back with the rear seats up and a whopping 16 with the seats folded. Cabin storage space for smaller items such as phones and sunglasses is limited, which is average for the class.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The S5 Sportback comes standard with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, which replaces an 8.3-inch center screen. The new system is still available with built-in navigation and wireless device charging, but it no longer includes a rotary controller on the center console that was more intuitive than touch inputs. Features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, voice control, and Bluetooth phone and audio are standard.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Audi provides various standard and optional driver-assistance technology for all trim levels of the S5 lineup. For more information about the S5 Sportback's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard front and rear automated emergency braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The S5 Sportback's warranty is average for the class, and its complimentary scheduled maintenance period doesn't last as long as those of a number of other manufacturers, including BMW and Jaguar.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2020 Audi S5 Sportback
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
Premium, $52,895; Premium Plus, $55,395; Prestige, $61,295
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
183 in3, 2998 cm3
349 hp @ 6200 rpm
369 lb-ft @ 1370 rpm
Wheelbase: 111.1 in
Length: 187.3 in
Width: 72.5 in
Height: 54.5 in
Passenger volume: 91 ft3
Cargo volume: 22 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 4050 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.2 sec
100 mph: 10.8 sec
¼-mile: 12.8 sec
Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 155 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 23/20/27 mpg