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L.A. Auto Show 2016: Audi A5 and S5 Sportback

L.A. Auto Show 2016: Audi A5 and S5 Sportback
Audi will bring versions of its European-only A5 and S5 Sportbacks to the U.S. as 2018 models. (Audi)
What is it?

Not quite a sedan, not quite a coupe and not exactly a station wagon, Audi's four-door Sportback will come to the U.S. as a 2018 model in the A5 and S5 configurations. Until now only available in Europe, the new Sportbacks may fill a niche somewhere between the luxury sedan and the luxury SUV — a plush but practical alternative for city folks who don't want to drive a road hog.

Why it matters

Audi continues to chew away at bigger German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and may take away sales here as it has with its luxury SUV models.

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What’s new

The Sportbacks, new to America, get updated engines and share refreshed design elements with the 2018 A5 and S5 two-door coupes also debuting at the auto show. Audi says the new models maintain generous cabin space while lowering and widening the vehicles' stance. All four vehicles share new engines and upgraded driver assistance programs.

The competition

Seeking to gain ground in the performance sedan realm, Audi may be going after SUV shoppers rather than sedan shoppers. Depending on price, these may include people looking at anything from a Mercedes E300 wagon to a Porsche Macan crossover to one of the sportier Land Rovers.

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The details

The A5 Sportbacks will be powered by the engine found in the company's refreshed two-door coupe and cabriolet models, a 2-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine, which makes 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The S5 Sportbacks will come with a new 3-liter turbocharged V6, also available in the two-door S5 model, that makes 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Neither is available in a diesel version. Both come standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive.

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