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- Highs Punchy turbocharged V-6 engine, impressive cornering capability, nicely-appointed interior.
- Lows Lacks on-road character, interior cubby storage is stingy, dulled throttle response in comfort driving mode.
- Verdict On paper, the S5 Sportback nails its mission but its strong test results don't translate to an engaging on-road drive.
The 2022 Audi S5 Sportback looks great, goes fast, and carves corners as well as today's best sports sedans, but its anodyne driving persona lacks some of the charm and drama we look for in a performance car. Under the hood is a perky 349-hp turbocharged V-6 that sends its power through an eight-speed automatic down to the ground through standard Quattro all-wheel drive. Handling is lithe, and the S5 Sportback is easy to hustle down a twisty road. The problem is that rivals such as the BMW M340i and the Mercedes-AMG C43 are similarly powered and more fun to drive. The Audi does offer more practicality than those four-doors thanks to a capacious cargo area cleverly hidden beneath a large rear liftgate. If a two-door or convertible body style suits your style better, the S5 is also offered in those shapes; we review those models separately.
What's New for 2022?
The S5 Sportback is largely unchanged for 2022, but 19-inch wheels and faux carbon-fiber interior trim are now both standard.
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 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 2022 S5 Sportback will earn 21/30mpg city/highway. While we haven't tested a 2022 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
- 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