The Audi Q5 Sportback has a crossover body style that next to a regular Q5 looks quite sleek. The five-door, five-seat Sportback follows on from the Q3 Sportback and e-tron Sportback. Like its namesakes it features a more sloping rear-end and lower roofline yet the ride height of an SUV. The shape is, as Mr. Spock would say… illogical. So what is it all about?
The Sportback is built on the same platform as the regular Q5 and features all its bits and pieces too. The same engines, safety & driving aids etc. are all there for both Q5 body types. With Sportback, it is all about the look and its styling. The four-door coupe SUV trend started with the BMW X6 and has since filtered down to the mainstream with the Renault Arkana a very recent prime example. The blocky SUV is under a little pressure as buyers seek something a little different yet wish to keep the tall driving position an SUV gives. Our test car looks fantastic in a striking ‘Ultra’ blue (€1,339 option). It commands attention and gets it too. There is a massive Audi grille that lets the world know you’ve paid more than the average asking price for your car.
Inside is less exciting, although that sensation is perhaps more a combination of familiarity with the very latest generation excellent interiors from Audi and the Sportback’s more classic one. It’s typical Audi inside, the build quality is impressive as are the materials used. This is all the stuff Audi buyers take for granted and know so well. Where Audi is failing its customers is in basic specification and creature comforts, which are nearly always optional extras on top of an already high asking price. The ‘options’ subscription model is growing – especially among premium brands. This is where you pay an extra fee for things that would be standard on a Hyundai – I don’t like it but it does mean the base price can be keep lower than it would otherwise – I still don’t like it! Premium should mean better not just more expensive!!
The Q5 range starts from €58,115 and the Sportback from €61,225… wait, what? You have to pay more for less space, seems odd but true. Our two-wheel drive diesel powered S-Tronic (automatic) 35 TDI with 163hp looked great in S Line trim and a gorgeous blue colour. The engine however failed to be remotely interesting bar the fact it delivers good fuel economy of 5.7-6.2 L/100km and has a huge driving range from a full tank.
The driving experience feels great. The right side of firm and it is more dynamic than mainstream SUVs who would have a more comfort-orinetated soft ride. Our relatively low powered 35 TDI (diesel) is simply the wrong engine choice if you want to feel encouraged to drive with enthusiasm. The Q5 Sportback 40 TDI quattro is a better option as it features all-wheel drive and 204hp. Pricing for the 40 starts from €66,105 (SE trim).
The high performance V6, 3-litre, 341hp/700nm SQ5 TDI (tiptronic auto) Sportback at €98,600 might be too old school with its fossil fuel burning engine – although 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds sounds like fun. In fairness with the rise of electrification the SQ5 is not really a wise long-term investment. This means the plug-in hybrid TFSI ‘e’ versions are the cars to go for. With a zero emissions range of up to 62km in electric mode this powertrain is the way to go right now. There is a 299hp/450nm ’50’ model (€63,485 SE) and a 367hp/500nm ’55’ quattro model (€72,860) that offer fuel consumption as low as 1.5 L/100km (188mpg). (Note Irish pre-budget 2021 pricing)
The Audi Q5 Sportback is a lovely looking albeit pricy machine that expresses the latest in exterior SUV design trends. One for the fashion conscious.