Sometimes America gets what it wants, and sometimes it has to wait. In the case of the 2018 Audi A5 and S5 Sportback, the US launch has been some time coming. Fresh to the LA Auto Show 2016 this week, the slope-backed five-door coupes are finally making the jump from Europe.
The Sportback cars have been offered there since 2007, but while Audi has had great success with the rest of its line-up in the US, it didn’t include the A5 and S5 Sportbacks. Whispers that this might be due to change began earlier this year, when the second-generation A5 and S5 Coupe were revealed.
In fact, according to Audi of America president Scott Keogh, the A5 and S5 are cars the company has long wanted to bring to the US market. That enthusiasm wasn’t matched with sufficient confidence among the automaker’s German bosses, however. Indeed, it took the A7 and S7 – and their ability to drive US sales without cannibalizing the existing A6 sedan – to convince those in charge that America was ready for a smaller version.
Like their coupe siblings, the Sportback models have a wider, flatter “Singleframe” grille and extended, lower hood lines. That feeds back into a more pronounced shoulder line, atop more muscular wheel arches. LED lighting front and rear bring things in line with other recent Audi cars, such as the A4 Allroad.
All-wheel drive quattro is standard on both cars. The A5 gets Audi’s well-esteemed 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi says it should deliver a 5.7 second 0-60 mph time from its 252 HP and 273 lb-ft. of torque.
As for the S5, that steps up to a 3.0-liter TSFI V6. Drivers can expect 354 HP and 369 lb-ft. of torque, plus a 4.5 second 0-60 mph time. A new, eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission is also included.
Both versions get a self-locking center differential that, normally, pushes 40-percent of the power to the front wheels and 60-percent to the rear. There’s also wheel-selective torque control. Audi has redesigned its front five-link suspension for a reported improvement in handling and steering precision.
Step inside, meanwhile, and there’s space for five. Audi will offer a Bang & Olufsen Audi system, as well as the option of its virtual cockpit digital driver’s display. MMI Touch is also an option, as is baked-in 4G LTE with hotspot functionality. Audi pre sense basic and city will be installed as standard, while adaptive cruise control with stop & go and traffic jam assist will be offered as options.
Style-wise, there’s a 3D decorative inlay trim that begins in the doors and spans right across the dashboard. A panoramic sunroof is standard. It’s not just about looks, though: there’s twice the cargo capacity of the A5 Coupe, for instance.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but deliveries will kick off in Spring 2017.