Audi Q5 Sportback revealed for 2021

  • Audi's range of bodystyles expands with new coupe-SUV
  • Proven Q5 qualities, with a sportier look and new OLED lighting
  • Racier style retains space and practicality for families

It is the inevitable trend of 2020 - the coupe-SUV; everyone's doing it, and it shouldn't be a surprise to find that Audi is expanding the popular Q5 range with a slightly sportier-looking variant. Predictable it 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

Taking cues from the succesful A5 Sportback, the Q5 Sportback joins the Q3 Sportback and electric-only e-Tron to give Audi customers a choice of three rakish-but-chunky coupe-SUVs - or as Audi calls them, CUVs. It's a sensible recipe, too, taking the five-door practicality of the A5 Sportback and lifting it up with kerb-crushing ground clearance and grassy-field tackling Quattro all-wheel drive on all but the least powerful model. It takes on the established Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, among other less direct competitors.

Just a few cm longer than the regular, boxy Q5, the Sportback retains ample room for five with just a small reduction in headroom. A new, optional seating system - rear seat bench plus - introduces the sort of flexibility buyers of French SUVs will already be familiar with, a sliding bench and multi-position reclining backrest.

Audi Q5 Sportback rear bench

Regardless of seating option, the appealingly low-roofed Q5 Sportback can still carry 1,480 litres of cargo with the seats folded. With them raised, the luggage area is 510 litres; on models with the optional bench this can be increased to 570 litres at the expense of rear legroom.

New lighting draws attention to the Q5 Sportback

Although much of the Q5 Sportback 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.

Audi Q5 Sportback rear

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.

Going round and round - Q5 Sportback wheels and suspension

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,

Diesel, hybrid and petrol power

There are no surprises here - the Q5 Sportback offers a two-litre diesel or two-litre petrol, both four-cylinder units with 204hp available in the diesel. Further details are yet to be released, the plan is to offer two outputs for four-cylinder models in either petrol or diesel form, plus a V6 diesel.

Audi Q5 Sportback choices

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 will be further reduced with two plug-in hybrid models. Care more about performance than your green credentials? There'll be an SQ5 Sportback too.

Interior technology: touch-friendly

Audi's well-regarded MMI - MultiMedia Interface - has been revised for 2020, and the Q5 Sportback benefits from the latest updates including a touch screen with handwriting recognition (replacing the touch-pad dial of the previous generation), improved voice control and comprehensive steering controls. MIB 3 provides the core of the Q5 Sportback's system, which can be optioned to the level of cloud-based profile storage, multi-user preferences and other online services.

Audi Q5 Sportback interior

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 for MIB 3; by the time the Q5 Sportback goes on sale, there may be further upgrades again - check back for our full review early next year, when we'll also look at Audi's fleet-based road intelligence - a Waze-like system of hazard, obstruction and traffic-flow awareness shared between MIB 3 equipped Audis.

Anything else?

Driver assistance has been upgraded providing defensive driving for adaptive cruise and energy saving, and for Chinese drivers there's a long wheelbase model. Production will start in 2021 in Mexico, so you have a few months to decide on your ideal Q5 Sportback

What this means for you

It's another premium, sporty-looking SUV so you can sit high up, feel safe, and still have a car with more kerbside appeal than a large box on wheels, As it inherits technology and styling from the rest of the Audi A5/Q5 range, it's a known quantity both for reliability and comfort, and for making the right impact on your neightbours when you get it home.

With prices yet to be confirmed we can't comment on value, but the Q5 Sportback should be a safe buy, and one that will remain in demand new or used as the UK heads towards the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales. The SQ5 Sportback should be quite a sendoff as the e-Trons take over...

Further reading:

The Parkers guide to electric cars
The best electric SUVs 2020
Best electric SUVs

Audi Q5 Sportback rear