Audi has a great history of building off road sports cars and the new A5 Sportback is one of the newer additions to their impressive line up. The A5 Sportback is powerful, smooth, sleek, and amazing to drive in the mountain snow. The quattro AWS drivetrain is “The Standard” when it comes to off road / winter driving for a sports oriented car.
Like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, the A5 Sportback offers a hot hatch / hatchback design that allows you to load in all your gear with ease. When the back seats are folded down you’ll have nearly as much room as your average luxury compact SUV. In fact, if you’re looking at the Audi Q5, Porsche Macan, or BMW X4 you may want to also consider the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW M440i xDrive as you get approximately the same interior set up. The main differences are in ride height where you trade off clearance for some handling.
The A5 Sportback is a bit low to the ground with 4.64 in ground clearance. So, you’ll want to think about if you need to go on side roads, unplowed roads, and or drive up to the mountains for those big winter snow storms. Most all of us never need the ground clearance of an SUV, but think about what you require.
The A5 Sportback comes in 3 basic builds with scaled Horse Power, Performance, and Options:
Audi A5 Sportback – This is their workhorse 2.0L 4 Cylinder (40 TFSI) engine which is also the base engine on the Porsche Macan. This offers 201 HP with a 0-60 in 6.4 Seconds. Expect to spend about $52,000 for a well equipped build.
Audi S5 Sportback – This is a very sporty version with a powerful in line 6 Cylinder that pumps out 349 HP and accelerates 0-60 in just 4.5 Seconds. Plan on budgeting about $62,000 for a well equipped build.
Audi RS 5 Sportback – For those looking for the ultimate dry land performance, and Ok with sacrificing some snow driving capability the RS is the model to get. With 444 HP and 0-60 in a blistering 3.8 seconds – The RS 5 Sportback may break the tires loose on snow and ice. Just remember that it’s only takes 0-2 seconds to hit a snowbank after pushing down full throttle on this one. Also, get your wallet ready to shell out nearly $80,000 for this rocket.
You can visit the Audi Website to build your own
The reliability of the Audi engines is quite good, and you can expect relatively low maintenance. You can sign up for the extended service plans which are always a good idea, and ensures you keep everything in spec. From my experience you’ll have little to no issues up to about 110,000 miles, then you’ll run into some more expensive repairs. I would plan 110,000 miles as “end of life”, and when you should consider trading in or replacing for the newer model.
The final conclusion – The Audi A5 Sportback is a great alternative to the BMW M440i xDrive currently offering a bit more variety with the 4 Cylinder option. I do prefer the BMW for driving performance, snow traction, and durability over the A5 so I encourage you to test drive each to see what’s better for you. You can expect about 10,000 – 20,000 more total miles from the BMW on durability / end of life, so you should consider that in your purchase price.
As with any winter driving performance, getting the right snow tires are essential. The Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 tire is a perfect match for this vehicle and you can check out Tire Rack to see select the best for your driving needs.