Two months into its time with us, the A5 Sportback is already proving its worth as a roomy and practical family car that looks good, performs well, and has a very commodious capacity as a load-lugger. There is a lot to be said for coupÈ-style and hatchback convenience.
Kit-wise, it has two key features that I’m feeling very grateful for on cold mornings when winter is baring its fangs. Having both a heated driving seat and steering wheel banishes the shivers and puts a smug smile on my face for the early morning station run. The sting of exiting the house at 6.30 on a frosty morning is quickly extinguished by those toasty details in the Audi’s armoury.
This is the first car I have driven on a long-term basis that comes equipped with an AdBlue tank. Pop open the fuel filler flap and there sits a pair of inlets, side-by-side: diesel tank entry, and the neck of the AdBlue pipe. With just under 2,000 miles on the clock thus far in the car’s time with us, I can happily ignore the left-hand, blue-capped filler for the moment. A dashboard alert will tell me when the time comes to top up this secondary tank. The A5’s handbook informs me that when it happens, the display will also say how far the car can be driven before the AdBlue tank runs dry. If I stupidly allowed that to happen, which I certainly won’t, the engine wouldn’t restart after ignition switch-off until the blue-capped tank is replenished.
If you haven’t experienced AdBlue yet, what is it all about? Well-informed regular Diesel Car readers will already know that it’s the antidote for nitrous oxide emissions, and that our Audi is one of a steadily rising number of the latest diesel models which now come equipped with an AdBlue tank. The stuff you occasionally need to pump into it is a solution comprising of urea and water. This is injected into the car’s exhaust system ahead of a catalytic converter, to react with NOx emissions and split the gas into its harmless components, nitrogen and oxygen. Heat turns the AdBlue mixture into ammonia, which does the job of breaking down the noxious NOx. I’m the kind of be-prepared driver who usually starts scouting for a filling station as soon as the fuel tank touches the halfway point on the gauge, so I won’t be letting the AdBlue tank dip anywhere close to empty. When the car alerts me, I’ll do it promptly. It does make me wish, though, for a secondary gauge to let me see how much of the urea mixture remains in there. It would be nice to be able to closely monitor the fluid level.
Meanwhile, it’s time for another trip out in the Audi, with seat heater set to high and steering wheel warming my gripping fingers. Come on winter, do your worst. Snowy-coloured Audi and me, we’re ready for you!
Date arrived 8th September 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.3mpg (on test)
The lovely toasty heated steering wheel that’s such a winter boon in company with the three-setting heated front seats.
White paintwork looks fresh and bright in summer, but at this time of year is a pain to keep clean.