3.6 out of 5 3.6
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

Audi makes the Q5 less practical and more appealing

Audi Q5 Sportback (21 on) - rated 3.6 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £48,785 - £77,690
Lease from new From £593 p/m View lease deals
Used price £33,840 - £68,840
Fuel Economy 31.0 - 188.3 mpg
Road tax cost £510 - £520
Insurance group 35 - 47 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Comfortable ride and seats
  • Beautifully put together
  • In vogue looks

CONS

  • V6 diesel version lacks responsiveness
  • Expensive even without extras
  • Dashboard controls are less-than convincing

Audi Q5 Sportback rivals

BMW
X6
3 out of 5 3.0

Written by Keith Adams on

Audi has expanded the popular Q5 SUV range with a slightly sportier-looking, low-roofed variant. Predictable this model may be – but with good reason, as the less-bulky profile appeals to buyers previously reluctant to go for the boxy bulk of a traditional SUV.

This kind of model is di reguer among premium manufacturers now. Other slinky SUVs include the flashy Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, sporty Porsche Cayenne Coupe, and oddly-proportioned BMW X4.

Taking cues from the successful A5 Sportback, the Q5 Sportback joins the Q3 Sportback and electric-only e-Tron to give Audi customers a choice of coupe-SUVs to complement their full-sized sister cars.

Just a few centimetres longer than the regular, boxy Q5, the Sportback retains ample room for five with just a small reduction in headroom.

What’s new about the Audi Q5 Sportback?

Although much of the Q5 Sportback’s engineering and technology is shared with the regular Q5, no-one buys a sporty-looking SUV like this hoping they won’t be noticed. Audi’s drawing attention to the new model with a new lighting technology, OLED rear lights.

These multi-segment units don’t just use a bright, low-power technology (the same technology you’ll find in high-end smartphone screens) for shattering the darkness. Different patterns and configurations are possible, with a safety system ensuring your driving-mode signature becomes a full set of illumination as cars approach from behind.

If you thought dynamic indicators had helped Audi stand out on Britain’s motorways, this new animated tail-light tech should really grab you. Even without the fancy showcase, OLED lighting is more consistent and even, ensuring that light signature is clear from every angle.

What’s under the skin?

There are no surprises here. There’s a 2.0 TDI diesel with 204hp badged as 40 TDI and a 2.0 TFSI petrol badged as 45 TFSI with 265hp.

Diesel models make use of twin-dosing AdBlue selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which in other Volkswagen group cars and vans has proven very successful in reducing real-world NOx output.

Emissions are further reduced with two plug-in hybrid models. Both combine a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. They’re badged as 50/55 TFSI e – the 50 utilising 299hp and the 55 having 367hp. Both can travel around 35 miles using just electricity.

Sharing technology with the Q5 means a wide variety of options, including standard, adaptive and air suspension – the latter can raise the car by 45mm for dirt roads, and lowers it by 15mm for improved economy at speed. Steel springs are set up for a sportier feel than the standard Q5, further assisted by optional adaptive dampers and optional dynamic steering. Speaking of options, there are up to 21 different designs of wheel available, from 18- to 21-inches.

What’s it like inside?

Audi’s well-regarded MMI – MultiMedia Interface – has been revised  and the Q5 Sportback benefits from the latest updates including an infotainment touchscreen with handwriting recognition, improved voice control and comprehensive steering controls.

Mounted in the centre of the dashboard, the main display is 10.1-inches. Ahead of the driver Audi’s now-familiar 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit benefits from the latest developments including hazard warning messages, information about obstructions in the road and traffic-flow awareness to help plan journeys with the least amount of interruptions.

Good news on the practicality front. The low-roofed Q5 Sportback is a roomy car. Rear space isn’t greatly affected by the sloping roof. It manages to avoid feeling too dark in the back, even without a sunroof. Rear seat passengers are treated to climate controls and drinks holders from the middle seat armrest. The boot measures in at 510/1,480-litres versus 550/1,550 boot for the regular Q5. It’s enough of a difference to notice, but not enough to care.

What’s it like to drive?

Floaty. It’ll glide serenely and effortlessly, especially at lower speeds. Admittedly our test car had the adaptive air suspension, only available on Vorsprung models.

Comfort mode is where most buyers will leave it in. This mode protects drivers from the worst of the bumps and ruts British roads can throw at them. All cars come with quattro four-wheel drive and a seven or eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 45TFSI completes the 0-62mph spring in a solid 6.1 seconds. There’s definitely a strong mid-rpm shove. You can stretch it right to the rev limit and it doesn’t feel like it’s run out of puff. Despite the decent turn of speed and the word sport written on the back, it’s no Porsche competitor.

The 40 TDI engine is thrifty, torquey enough and completely coddled in soundproofing to make you even forget it sips from the black pump.

The SQ5 diesel meanwhile, is still relatively hampered by the post-diesel age of Audi. Full-throttle take-off at a junction feels subjectively as hesitant as ever. The single-turbo 3.0-litre engine responds to any brusque and sustained acceleration request filed below 2900rpm with an irritating, annoying and ultimately frustrating lag.

Regardless of which engine you choose, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way these Sportback models handle and ride. On 19-inch wheels, it’s stable and planted on the road with unwavering accuracy whatever the surface conditions. In low-grip conditions, the grip and poise is particularly impressive.

What models are available?

In the UK there will be four models – Sport, S Line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. The more you pay, the more you get.

Standard equipment on the Sport model is thorough. It includes things such as a reversing camera, keyless go, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and an electric tailgate.

S Line adds 19-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, and sports suspension.

Edition 1 models benefit from 20-inch alloy wheels, Nappa Leather seats, and a black styling pack, which includes black front radiator, diffuser, and front lip spoiler.

Top of the range Vorsprung models receive adaptive air suspension, 21-inch wheels, a 360 degree camera and a slew of other driver assistance packages.

Is the Audi Q5 Sportback worth waiting for? Read our verdict to find out

Audi Q5 Sportback rivals

BMW
X6
3 out of 5 3.0

Other Audi Q5 models: