There are few things more intimidating when driving than seeing the menacing face of an Audi come bounding up in your rear-view mirror, its headlights scowling in their unique LED-lit way.
I know this having experienced it countless times on the UAE’s roads and I’ll readily admit I took a small degree of pleasure knowing that the shoe was on the other foot as I drove the Audi A5 around the streets of Dubai.
The A5 Sportback is one of the German brand’s more aesthetically pleasing cars, with a beautifully curved backside that maintains its passive-aggressive front-end look.
Its trademark headlights have had a small refurbishment, opting for a more succinct ribbon-style string of LEDS rather than the individual spotlights that kicked off the now popular trend.
One thing Audis have always been is comfortable and the basic A5 Sportback model is no exception. Electric sports seats with 12 options of movement including lumbar support and all-round Napa leather transport you to driver-seat heaven.
The Sportback does represent the frequent conundrum in today’s car market though: is it a sedan or a coupé? Fundamentally, of course, it’s a sedan. Five doors, a big boot and three spacious rear seats will attest to that.
But the frame-less windows, S Line exterior package, sports suspension and sporty steering wheel – all as standard in the Sportback – all lean heavily on its coupé sibling.
Media functionality and phone connectivity is good. It’s certainly not the most advanced system but it’s also not infuriatingly long-winded or tiresome like some of its rivals. Inside, the centre armrest lets the side down slightly – it’s certainly not going to win any awards for its design; it shuts over half of the drink holder.
Though there are parking sensors there is no reverse-view camera – an aide A5’s competitors do offer. But let’s be honest, if you’ve opted for an A5 Sportback, you probably don’t need video-assistance for your parking.
The recuperation system – where the engine ‘switches off’ at traffic lights and restarts immediately as you touch the throttle – is still a relatively novel concept and a good, eco-friendly one that keeps things interesting.
Onto the engine and the 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic engine produces 211bhp and is capable of 0-100km/h in 6.6 seconds, so it’s no slouch off the mark.
That said you don’t want to mistakenly think you’re in an RS5 when you put your foot down. Torque output of 350Nm from 1,500rpm lasts until 4,200rpm which is fine, but as the revs needle regularly dropped below 1,500rpm when cruising – which made for the silently elegant drive – there was a noticeable lag when in need of a boost. Put it this way, it’s not the car that will get you out of trouble on a motorway.
But then that’s not what this car is about. The incredibly smooth and comfortable ride, the acceleration from zero km/h, the coupé appearance which conceals a sedan and the sheer road presence of a car that looks this fantastic and frightening all warrant the starting price of Dhs183,500.