SEATTLE—When introducing its sportback successor to the A4, Audi minced no words about its intended consumer target: the frequent car updater who is this close to switching to an SUV.
After a few hours' drive in two flavors of this upgrade, the 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback, I was inclined to agree. If you want a luxury car with the length and carrying capacity of a boat, but not the sense that you need maritime credentials to steer it, then Audi's new sportbacks might be enough to stop you from buying into America's fastest-growing car-purchase sector.
0-60mph in a heartbeat—with room to spare
That niche is important to mind here, because unlike last year's A4 sedan, Audi is not offering a sub-$40,000 option for these models. The 2018 A5 Sportback will set you back nothing short of $42,600, while its beefier S5 sibling, whose upgrades includes a 3.0L engine and S Sport Suspension, starts at $54,400.