Say what you want about SUV coupes but the mass adoption the once-niche vehicle has got every car manufacturer wanting to jump on the bandwagon. The German carmakers, in particular, has a coupe version of nearly every SUV offered. And Audi is no different, as seen here with the Q5 Sportback.
Being a new sub-model the Q5 line-up, the Sportback utilises the same underpinnings of the Q5, while sporting a redesigned exterior. The front fascia is recognisably Audi Q5, with the massive Audi Singleframe grille sitting proudly up front and flanked by deep air intakes and the signature LED DRLs.Matrix LED headlights are available as standard on S line, Vorsprung and Edition One trim levels.
Along the sides is where you start to see the key difference in the Q5 Sportback, mainly that slanted roof found in most SUV coupes. The sweeping shoulder lines extend from the front wheel arches, all the to the rear tail lights, giving the Q5 Sportback a sporty and muscular stance.
The sloping roofline further adds to the rakish silhouette that tapers sharply to the rear, blending seamlessly into that distinctive rear fascia. Audi, known for its high tech lighting technology, has introduced an innovative rear lighting system featuring OLED technology.
Each individual lighting segment can be controlled independently with various configurations for customers to choose from, all of which include dynamic coming-and-leaving-home lighting sequence. A new rear bumper design further accentuates the wide stance of the Q5 Sportback, enhancing the all-important “wow factor”.
Despite the sloping roofline, Audi insists that the Q5 Sportback combines the “aesthetic appeal of a coupe and the accommodating versatility of an SUV.” Longer than is boxy sibling by 7mm while maintaining identical height and width, the Q5 Sportback promises ample legroom and headroom for its five occupants.
The focal point of the interior is definitely the 10.1-inch MMI display, incorporating Audi’s MIB 3 infotainment system. Ditching the rotary control dial, the Q5 Sportback has gone full touchscreen and includes enhanced functionality with a voice command.
Audi’s industry-leading Virtual Cockpit with its 12.3-inch display also comes as standard in specific markets, giving drivers the full range of comprehensive internet connectivity including access to Google Earth images and up-to-date traffic information.
Vorsprung trim levels adds another level of premium features, such as the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, head-up display, wireless charging, and a raft of driving aids that include parking assistant and blind-spot monitoring.
Stepping up from the standard cruise control, Vorsprung trim levels feature adaptive cruise control that allows the Q5 Sportback automatically adjust the driving speed to suit the situation, the topography of the route, speed limits and road users up ahead.
The Q5 Sportback will be made available with a choice of one TFSI gasoline engine and two TDI diesel powertrains. The 40TDI and 40TFSI both feature 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines, with both pushing out similar power at 204hp. These powerplants will be paired to the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. On the upper end of the power scale, the SQ5 Sportback will pack a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged TDI V6 that generates 347hp, mated to an eight-speed tiptronic torque convertor.
All versions of the Q5 Sportback will come as standard with Quattro all-wheel-drive system, that now features an axle deactivation system where the rear axle can be engaged or disengaged depending on driving conditions.
To further boost fuel economy, the Q5 and SQ5 Sportback both will come with a mild-hybrid system in the form of a starter motor that stores electrical energy generated during braking in a lithium-ion battery. With this, the Q5 and SQ5 will be able to coast with the engine shut off, as well as maximise the start-stop functionality at higher speeds. Audi has also confirmed that a plug-in hybrid TFSIe variant of the Q5 Sportback would be made available, although when exactly is anyone’s guess.
As with the sportier looks, the Q5 Sportback gets a stiffer suspension set up from the S Line trim onwards, with adaptive dampers also available for better road handling characteristics, all of which are controlled by Audi’s drive select system.
The Q5 Sportback will also be made available with adaptive air suspension for Vorsprung trim levels. The adaptive suspension can increase the Q5 Sportback’s ride height up to 60mm for a more comfortable ride, or even lower the rear axle by 55mm for more effortless luggage loading. The SQ5 Sportback versions, on the other hand, feature an S-specific version of the air suspension for a more dynamic ride.
17th century English philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “There is no beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” We highly suspect he may have had a vision of the future with the Q5 Sportback in it when he comes up with that quote, because as strange as SUV coupes are, Audi has somehow made it work. The Q5 and SQ5 Sportback are among the most handsome entrants into this niche segment. With smart packaging and industry-leading technology, Audi has all the makings of an absolute winner.