by Aiden Eksteen
There's a lot of criticism around the concept of coupe's that don a 4-door layout, being that the concept opposes the actual definition of what a coupe is - 'a car with a fixed roof, two doors, and a sloping rear.' It's typically extremists that support this superficial condemnation of the new, more malleable classification, which is why premium coupes such as the 2021 Audi S5 Sportback prosper in the USA. With its suave and contemporary design, uniform performance dynamics, and comprehensive specification sheet, the S5 Sportback stands out in the trending classification. Under its rakish hood is a 349-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 unit that, along with a quattro all-wheel drive setup, has the S5 Sportback coupe deliver a steadfast and congenial driving experience. There's plenty of allure from BMW's 4 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-AMG's CLA 45, but the S5 Sportback offers its own unique intrigue that many may prefer.
For the 2021 model year, Audi has left the third-generation S5 Sportback mechanically unchanged but enhanced the standard specification. Regardless of the trim you choose, every S5 now has Audi's smartphone interface that includes wireless Apple CarPlay and an integrated toll-road payment transmission feature. Lane departure warning is standard across the range, too. The optional Convenience Package has been bolstered by the addition of front/rear parking sensors and a heated steering wheel. On the Premium Plus trim, a top-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, a hands-on detection steering wheel, and lane-keeping assist are now standard. Meanwhile, the top-spec Prestige adds standard seat heating for those in the back, too.
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The 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder gasoline engine in the 2021 S5 Sportback emits more than enough power for the suave, lengthy coupe. It forwards 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission to a quattro all-wheel drivetrain standardized in the Audi. The powertrain's throttle responses are always quick and smooth, and while the S5 Sportback isn't the most thrilling or poised coupe, its sound performance complements its proclivity for comfort and refinement.
The only circumstances where the S5 Sportback won't receive a good review, is in the case where someone is looking for a competitively proficient sport coupe, or where someone regularly needs to transport passengers over six feet tall in the rear seats. It's otherwise an easy luxury coupe to recommend to anyone looking for a charming and graceful 4-door cruiser that's packed with all the creature comforts and conveniences an everyday driver should have. At $52,500, the 2021 Audi S5 Sportback entry price is relatively high, but that premium certainly comes with a lot of value - evidenced by the S5 Sportback's polished and serene drive dynamics and ride quality, exceptional build quality, and inclusion of many high-tech features. In review, the 2021 Audi S5 Sportback doesn't pretend to be anything more than what it is - a modern, luxury 4-door coupe and a standout option within the segment.
For 2021, the Audi S5 Sportback line increased in price, and while the mid-spec Premium Plus received the biggest increase, it's still the trim we recommend. This is simply because it comes standard with several desirable features that the Premium doesn't. These include Audi's sweet virtual cockpit, which incorporates a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster. It also gets SiriusXM radio connectivity with a three-month free subscription, wireless smartphone charging, and a hands-on detection steering wheel. Its inclusive safety consignment is extended with adaptive cruise control, a top-view camera system, front/rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic assist, and vehicle exit warning.
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