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First Drive: 2018 Audi S5 Sportback

There’s compromise in the automotive world. Some of it is bad, but some of it is the good sort of compromise. The 2018 Audi S5 Sportback is that good kind. Yes, we’re hopelessly dreaming of a day when wagons will return in large numbers to roam the roads. That day isn’t today, so that’s why we have a vehicle like the S5 Sportback.

It’s a sedan, that is kind of shaped like a coupe, and has some of the utility of a hatchback. It’s also packing a 354-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, an available sport rear differential, and adaptive suspension. So yes, the S6 Avant would be our real dream machine in this space. But that doesn’t exist.

We can choose from a bunch of other cars that dance around the fact that America doesn’t want a wagon… thankfully, most of them are good and the S5 Sportback is no exception.

[Disclaimer: Audi flew me up to Seattle, put me up in a hotel, and gave me food and booze. They did not take me seriously, however, no matter how many times I said to reduce model count to just coupes, sedans, wagons, and real SUVs.]

  • Zentropy

    Traditionally, I love sleepers– cars with an understated appearance but rocking it in the drivetrain. Audi might fit a “luxury sleeper” description. A pleasing but understated exterior, tasteful interior, and good power should be a formula for success, but all Audi’s I’ve driven feel very remote and disconnected from the driver, like I’m steering with an Xbox controller. Despite their “goodness” on paper and in pics, I honestly prefer cars with more flaws but more feel.

    • Fred Talmadge

      That’s pretty typical of all new cars. Even the good ones are still isolated and much of the back is via the cars computer. I’ts pretty easy for me to tell this, because I have a 1965 Lotus Elan, that communicates everything.

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