The SUV movement seems as relentless as an undertow off Huntington Beach.
But here comes the ultimate temptation for hatchback-loving Canadians to resist the hulking machines. Audi is bringing a hatch version of the remodelled A5 and S5 to North America, dubbed the Sportback.
The A5 sportback has been sold in Europe since 2010. Audi originally said in March that it would be sold in the U.S., but couldn't confirm for Canada. The auto maker has now confirmed that the car will be arriving in Canada this Spring. No pricing has been announced.
The A5 Sportback will come with a 252-horsepower turbo four-cylinder, the S5 with a 354-horsepower twin-turbo V-6.
Presuming similar if not identical performance to the coupe, consumers are in for a sporty ride. On twisting, narrow roads outside of Porto, Portugal, the S5 Coupe produced a throaty, though not a Maserati-audacious sound from the exhaust, as though being operated by a manual shifter rather than the smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. It climbed to 140 km/h with the resistance of melted butter to a knife. Running from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, it consumed 7.5 litres/100 km.
Yet, that sort of performance is expected from a German sports car. What sets the Sportback apart during an age of declining sedan sales is its sleek appearance, a new cockpit and technological advances. A lowered, wide grille and chiselled headlamps gives it attitude. Sharp creases sear along the hood through the top of the side panel, while the lines of the hatch seem to smile like a flocking dolphin. In contrast, twin tailpipes on each side look a touch menacing, braced by a diffuser panel.
"The A5/S5 will wake up a flattening segment and do exactly what Audi does extremely well," said Scott Keogh, Audi of America president, told Forbes. "This car has a stunning line, stunning hips and a stunning rear."
The wide-mouth hatch opens high like an SUV's, and the compartment is surprisingly generous on first look.
The model on display at the Los Angeles auto show has firm leather seats, grey in colour and textured like a turtle's back. Polished aluminum accents the black dash and side panels. Behind the steering wheel, the driver has the option of minimizing the speedometer and tachometer in order to display the nav map. There's another screen in the middle of the dash.
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