Audi A5 Sportback driven

You could call the low-slung, broad-shouldered, wind-swept A5 Sportback a three-in-one Audi. According to the company's sales pitch, the model offers the elegance of a coupe, comfort of a sedan and practicality of an estate.

But like three-in-one sachet beverages, the Sportback has its virtues and drawbacks. The latter has nothing to do with taste, for the new car will find favour with most people at first sight.

In fact, the Sportback will easily qualify as one of the most beautiful and sumptuous Audis around.

Rather, the marriage of three genres has necessitated some compromises (as marriages tend to).

The car's coupe-like rear quarter naturally means restricted headroom for occupants in the second row. Audi alleviated this somewhat by lowering the rear seats. How successful this is depends on how tall you are.

A 'liftback' boot lid is also heftier and more unwieldy. In this case, Audi could probably have done something to prevent muscle fatigue but did not.

And because of its relative bulk, dynamic traits normally associated with a coupe are not all that apparent at the wheel.

As an Avant, the Sportback is neither here nor there. Its 480-litre stowage is not class-leading (not even among sedans), although it is more usable because of its unobstructed flatness.

Backrests of its rear seats can be folded forward (almost flat) for another 500 litres of luggage space if needed. Which is a good thing.