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First drive: Audi Q5 Sportback

Date: 02 June 2021   |   Author: Kyle Fortune

The popular Audi Q5 now comes with a sleeker Sportback profile. We try a petrol variant ahead of the PHEV's debut.
Standard equipment:
Alloy wheels, LED headlights rear lights, MMI Navigation Plus with 10.1in touch screen, Audi Virtual Cockpit plus with 12.3in screen, Pre-sense City safety features, 3-zone air conditioning, central locking with 'Keyless Go', electric tailgate, parking sensors plus rear-view camera, Audi Drive Select with mode choices, cruise control with speed limiter, hill-hold assist.
Diesel: 4204hp 2.0
Petrol: 265hp 2.0
Petrol plug- in hybrid: 299hp 2.0 plus electric motor, 376hp 2.0 plus electric motor
Equipment grades:
Sport, S line, Edition 1, Vorsprung, Competition Vorsprung
Seven-speed S tronic automatic with quattro four-wheel drive

The world's best-selling premium SUV doesn't struggle to find buyers, but Audi's added another model to the mix that's certain to increase its sales even further. The new Q5 Sportback adds, in Audi's words, "coupe inspired styling" to the Q5, which, like all the Sportback models elsewhere in the Audi range, means a slight compromise for a bit more style. It's not too detrimental though, as while the Sportback drops a mere 2mm in height overall and sees a more rakishly styled hatchback at the rear, the drop in luggage capacity is marginal. 

What's perhaps more difficult to qualify is the not insignificant £2,450 price difference between the Sportback and its regular Q5 alternative. 

The Q5 Sportback will reach customers from June, though initially it will only be offered in 40 TDI quattro and 45 TFSI quattro guises, with the more fleet-friendly 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e plug-in models arriving shortly after. They will bring around 38 miles of battery-only driving potential and a 10% BIK figure that will make them appealing to business buyers. Audi expects the fleet/retail model mix for the Sportback to be around 40/60%, with a good portion of those sales made up of the plug-in hybrids. 

There are three trim levels that fleet buyers will be interested in - the range-topping SQ5 is not likely to feature prominently on user-chooser's lists. Sport, S line and Vorsprung are all offered, with the earliest adopters of the Sportback also able to pick it up in Edition 1 trim. However, S line remains the favourite choice for UK customers. This option adds 19in alloy wheels and sharper-suited S line styling inside and out to
the already generous standard equipment list that comes with the entry-level Sport. 

Even without the S line looks, the Q5 Sportback comes with everything you could reasonably want. Bluetooth, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are all included and can be controlled by Audi's MMI Touch system, losing the rotary controller and supplementary buttons that used to be located in the transmission tunnel alongside the automatic gear selector. Whether that's an added benefit or a backward step remains to be seen, though the touchscreen is relatively quick and easy to navigate, and it's backed by a voice control system that also works well. 

Elsewhere around the cabin the Q5 Sportback looks and feels no different to its regular Q5 SUV relation: that's to say fine materials and fit and finish, if not quite the super modern screen-dominant feel of Mercedes-Benz's GLC Coupe alternative, even with the Audi's standard fitment of its digital display Virtual Cockpit in place of conventional instrumentation. 

With everything else identical to the Q5 inside, there's only the view over your shoulder to differentiate the Sportback. Here it's not so restricted as to feel wildly different to the standard Q5, the glass at a more obviously raked angle behind you, but that's it. It might be a problem if you're taller and sat in the back seat, but if you're under 6ft it's not really an issue. 

Likewise, the boot's loss in capacity, just 10 litres when the rear seats are in position (70 litres less with them down), doesn't really impact on the 'Utility' element of Sport Utility Vehicle. It looks a bit more sporty, then, even if it doesn't feel any more agile or fun on the road. It remains as sure-footed, refined and capable as its regular Q5 relation, even riding decently on the larger 19in alloy wheels and sport suspension that comes with the S line trim.

It all comes down to the question of how much you want to be different and how much you're prepared to pay for it. Just remember to park it nose first in the office car park so people know that it isn't one of the countless regular Q5s, and that you've spent more.

Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI S Line  

P11D: £48,390

Residual value: 44.5%

Depreciation: £26,838

Fuel: £10,196

Service, maintenance and repair: £3,070

Cost per mile: 66.8p

Fuel consumption: 32.5mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 197g/km (37%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £298/£597

Luggage capacity: 510 litres

Engine size/power: 1,984cc/265hp


  • Sharp looks
  • Neat interior
  • No real loss of space
  • The steep premium that rakish bootline adds