Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI First Drive 2021
- Typical Audi plushness
- Wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
- More practical than you might expect
Not so great
- Infotainment system is now touchscreen-only
- Coupe SUV styling won't appeal to everyone
- The standard Audi Q5 does more for less
What is it?
Another day, another niche model from Audi. This time, the popular Q5 SUV has been given the Sportback treatment – essentially a rakish roofline, a slightly smaller boot and a £2000 price hike over the standard car. But you can’t put a price on style, right?
The standard Q5 has been a top seller since it first went on sale way back in 2008, and Audi reckons the Sportback will account for around a quarter of all Q5 sales when it arrives in dealers next month. It’s set to rival the BMW X4, Mercedes GLC Coupe and Range Rover Velar, with prices starting in the region of £46,500 and topping out at more than £75,000.
It’ll be offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as a plug-in hybrid badged the TFSI e. Buyers will also be able to choose from a number of different trim levels, with the line-up consisting of Sport, S line, Edition 1, Vorsprung and Competition Vorsprung models.
It’s the Q5 Sportback S line that’s expected to be the most popular, and that’s the one we’ve tried here. We’ve sampled it with the 45 TFSI petrol engine and S tronic automatic gearbox, which means it’ll set you back a smidgen less than £48,000.
Standard equipment includes diamond-cut 19-inch alloy wheels, sports exterior styling and sports suspension. A plethora of options (including Matrix LED headlights, 20-inch alloy and the comfort and sound pack) takes the list price of this particular test car up to £55,235. Ouch.
What’s the Audi Q5 Sportback like inside?
Truly sumptuous. You just won’t find a flimsy finish or a badly designed feature anywhere. All the buttons are satisfying to touch, and it’s clear where your money goes compared to more affordable alternatives.
All that could be said for the standard Q5, though. Practicality’s taken a hit compared to the standard car, with boot space dropping by 40 litres (the Q5 Sportback can accommodate 510 litres of luggage compared to the Q5’s 550 litres). It’s certainly not bad, though, and access via the powered tailgate (standard across the range) is easy.
Space in the back is adequate, too, although tall adults sitting behind large adults might find knee room a little limited. There’s plenty of headroom, though, and it doesn’t feel particularly claustrophobic (sometimes a concern in coupe-SUVs, like this).
One new feature is the 10.1-inch navigation system, which has been rolled out across the Q5 range. It does without the old rotary controller, meaning it’s operated entirely via touchscreen. This seems like a backwards step in our view, but at least there are still physical dials for the climate control and even a knob for adjusting the volume.
How does it drive?
Don’t be fooled by the Sportback badging, the Q5 coupe isn’t particularly fun to drive. You’d be better looking at a BMW X4 or Jaguar F-Pace if that’s what you’re after, but the Q5 Sportback is a refined and comfortable choice.
You sit high up, giving you a sense of superior safety and a good view of the road ahead. The steering is light around town, while the standard-fit parking sensors help with tight parking spaces. The optional reversing camera is a desirable feature, too.
Adaptive air suspension is standard on high-spec Vorsprung models, but our S Line test car was fitted with the so-called sport suspension. Combined with the optional 20-inch alloy wheels, there’s no denying that it rides the road a little firmer than we’d like – yet another compromise you’ll have to be prepared to make for a car that looks good, unfortunately.
The 45 TFSI petrol engine is a surprisingly sprightly 2.0-litre unit, which actually does a decent job of getting a shift on in the bulky SUV. It’ll accelerate to 62mph in 6.1 seconds, while the standard-fit dual-clutch automatic transmission is responsive enough. You might want to take control via the pedals if you’re planning an overtake, though.
Overall, the Audi Q5 Sportback doesn't really surprise in any particular way. It's just like a standard Q5, albeit marginally less practical and (arguably) better looking. But that means it’s got a superb interior, powerful engines and will no doubt sell like hot cakes.
Watch: Audi Q5 Sportback
Audi Q5 Sportback: the facts
Model tested: Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S tronic
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol
Gearbox: seven-speed auto
Combined fuel economy: 32.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 197g/km
Price from: £44,145
As tested: £55,235
Prices start from £46,415 for an Audi Q5 Sportback in entry-level Sport trim with the 40 TDI diesel engine. The range tops out with the SQ5 TDI in Vorsprung trim, which retails at around £75,000.
Orders are now open for the Audi Q5 Sportback. Deliveries are expected from June 2021.
The best engine depends on your personal requirements. The diesel 40 TDI suits the Q5 well and will be very economical but, if you mainly cover short journeys, look at one of the petrol models or the plug-in hybrid TFSI e.
Find your Audi Q5 Sportback
40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
- 2,000 miles
- Marshall Audi Oxford
- Oxfordshire, OX42HW
Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £669.92, Customer Deposit: £6,450.00, Total Deposit: £6,450.00, Optional Final Payment: £18,347.50, Total Charge For Credit: £5,244.70, Total Amount Payable: £48,244.70, Representative APR: 6.5%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.49%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9.6ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000
40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
- Wearside Audi
- Tyne and Wear, SR51JT
Finance is available. Speak to the dealer to find out more
45 TFSI Quattro S Line 5dr S Tronic
- 5,999 miles
- Mon Motors Audi Bath
- Somerset, BA28SG
Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £669.45, Customer Deposit: £6,817.00, Total Deposit: £6,817.50, Optional Final Payment: £21,266.25, Total Charge For Credit: £6,064.50, Total Amount Payable: £51,514.50, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 10.8ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000