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Audi Q5 Sportback review

The Audi Q5 Sportback is comfortable to drive and is well made, but it’s not quite as practical as the standard Q5 SUV and it’s a wee bit more expensive, too.

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wowscore
8/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Sharper styling than normal Q5
  • Comfy and refined
  • Excellent build quality

What's not so good

  • No sportier to drive than normal Q5
  • Rear headroom is reduced by roofline
  • Costly option packs

Audi Q5 Sportback: what would you like to read next?

Is the Audi Q5 Sportback a good car?

The new Audi Q5 Sportback is an SUV for people who don’t want to look like they’ve bought an SUV, so it has a seriously rakish profile, like the BMW X4. It’s Audi’s third coupe-styled SUV after the Q3 Sportback and Q8 and comes with the same revisions as the recently updated Audi Q5.

The Q5 Sportback’s styling changes over the Q5 mean it’s a bit like a mullet haircut: it’s business up front and party at the back.

From the front, the new Audi only looks subtly different to the standard SUV. The grille comes with slightly different plastic mesh, and the air intake trims beneath the headlights have been tweaked, too. The Q5 Sportback is available with OLED lighting technology that makes the headlights and brake lights brighter and more efficient than ever.

You’ll see a much bigger difference from the side and rear. The Audi Q5 Sportback is only seven millimetres longer than the standard Q5 but its sloping roofline and heavily revised back end make it look lower, longer and sportier. The rear bumper has been tweaked too, with revised silver trim and different reflector strips under the boot lid.

The new Audi Q5 Sportback’s interior looks much the same as the standard Q5’s cabin, at least in the front. You get the same classy dashboard design with Audi’s latest infotainment system. This consists of a standard-fit 12-inch virtual cockpit and a free-standing 10-inch touchscreen display. Audi has also upgraded the voice commands that now respond to the ‘Hey Audi’ trigger phrase.

Thankfully, the standard Q5’s cabin was already among the best in its class – the technology all works well and build quality is extremely good. But there is a small sacrifice to be made when you climb in the back.

That swoopy roofline chops 17mm out of the roof height, with reduces headroom for passengers in the back. It’s only minor, and those under six foot or so won’t notice, but really tall adults will find their heads touching the roof where they didn’t in the Q5.

The 550 litres boot in the standard Q5 drops to 510 litres in the Sportback. Fold the Q5 Sportback’s rear seats down and this grows to 1,480 litres – although that’s still 70 litres less than you can fit in the standard Q5. For many that’ll be a small price to pay for style, however.

The new Audi Q5 Sportback goes on sale first with a pair of 2.0-litre engines – a 265hp 45 TFSI petrol and 204hp 40 TDI diesel. Audi has also launched a 347hp twin-turbo V6 diesel SQ5 Sportback model and is set to launch a pair of plug-in hybrid models in 2021. Every Audi Q5 Sportback – including the high-performance SQ5 Sportback – comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

 

 

The cabin is as classy as ever, and Audi has jumped on the 'Hey Audi' voice control bandwagon.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

You’ll get deja vu if you step our of the Q5 and into the Q5 Sportback, as they’re almost identical to drive.

S Line models come with lowered, stiffer suspension to make them feel more sporting, and you’ll be able to pay extra for an adaptive suspension setup that lets you switch between a cushy ride and sharper cornering on the fly – the latter is recommended if you really want a proper luxury feel.

Adaptive air suspension that can vary the car’s ride height to make it lower for better stability and taller to deal with the odd spot of off-roading is also available. The Q5 Sportback is the most refined and comfortable car in its class if you do spec this option, and the flexibility it brings is handy.

And the price for the extra style? Well that’s…the price. The Audi Q5 Sportback is around £2,500 more expensive than the equivalent Q5. While that seems fair enough, you’ll have to really like the Sportback’s design. If you’re not bowled over by it you’d be much better off spending that £2,500 on options or a higher trim level in the normal Q5.

If this does sound like your next new car, check out the latest Audi Q5 Sportback deals.

How practical is it?

The Q5 Sportback does ask for a bit of a space sacrifice over a regular Q5 – but it’s unlikely to be a deal-breaker unless your passengers are extremely tall. The boot is a touch smaller, too.

Boot (seats up)
455 - 510 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,365 - 1,480 litres

The Q5 Sportback’s interior  there is a small sacrifice to be made that makes itself known when you climb in the back.

That swooping roofline chops 17mm out of the height of the roof, which reduces headroom for passengers in the rear. It’s not a deal-breaker, and those under six foot or so won’t notice, but really tall adults will find their heads touching the roof where they didn’t in the Q5.

For four average-sized adults, however, the Q5 Sportback still offers ample room. Legroom in particularly is very good.  The seats themselves are more heavily sculpted than those in a Mercedes GLC, too, which helps make long journeys very relaxing.

So you might think that carrying three in the back would be easy? Not so much, sadly: the middle seat isn’t very comfortable and the drop in headroom is more noticeable.

Still, sliding and reclining rear seats are a fairly affordable optional extra that’ll make your passengers more comfortable on long drives. These seats let you carry 20% more luggage in the Audi Q5’s boot in their rearmost position, too.

The Q5 Sportback’s rear doors also open fairly wide and its tall roofline helps make it pretty easy to lift in a child seat. The Isofix anchor points on the two outer rear seats are clearly marked but those on the front passenger seat are, rather annoyingly, hidden away. The car’s raised ride height means you won’t have to stoop down to strap in a child, though – even if you’re tall.

The Audi Q5 Sportback’s front and rear door bins are big enough to hold a one-litre bottle and its glovebox is fairly large, too. There’s a generous storage tray in the centre console with two USB ports and enough space to hide your phone or a few valuables.

Pick the optional Technology Pack and you’ll get a sliding tray under the armrest that’ll both wirelessly charge your phone and keep it hidden out of sight – good for security but also to minimise distractions when you’re driving. There’s a second small slot beside the start button that’s too small for a phone but it’s the perfect place to pop the key fob. Rather annoyingly, there’s nowhere handy to store your designer shades.

You get an armrest for the rear seats as standard but you’ll have to fork out for a set of rear cupholders. You also get a lockable glovebox, a luggage net and a set of seat-back storage pockets as part of this optional Storage Pack, but the cupholders themselves look about as rugged as an origami swan.

The 550 litres boot in the standard Q5 drops to 510 litres in the Sportback. Fold the Q5 Sportback’s rear seats down and this grows to 1,480 litres – although that’s still 70 litres less than you can fit in the standard Q5. For many that’ll be a small price to pay for style, however.

Visually the only real difference in the Sportback’s boot compared to the regular Q5 is the available height you have to load stuff in. It’s the same length and width, so a couple of bags of golf clubs or luggage for a week away should fit without having to strap stuff to the roof. It’s just you won’t be able to stack stuff like you’re in a Jenga tournament.

You’ll have to lift your luggage over a slight load lip in all Audi Q5s, though – unlike in the Mercedes GLC where the floor’s completely flat. There’s nowhere to store the Audi’s load cover, either, and you can’t adjust the boot floor height.

What's it like to drive?

While it’s a shame the Sportback isn’t more fun to drive than a normal Q5, it’s certainly pretty competent. All engines are strong and refined, too.

The new Audi Q5 Sportback goes on sale first with a pair of 2.0-litre engines – a 265hp 45 TFSI petrol and 204hp 40 TDI diesel.

Audi has also launched a 347hp twin-turbo V6 diesel SQ5 Sportback model and is set to launch a pair of plug-in hybrid models later this year. Every Audi Q5 Sportback – including the high-performance SQ5 Sportback – comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

While the SQ5 is very quick for a diesel and will do over 40mpg on a run, you won’t feel short changed by the standard engines. The four-cylinder diesel torquey yet economical, while the petrol unit offers up strong pace and is refined, with a hint of sportiness to its engine note. If you don’t do loads of miles the petrol might be the best bet as it’s more in-keeping with the Sportback’s image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll get deja vu if you step out of the Q5 and climb into the Q5 Sportback for a drive, as they’re almost identical on the road.

S Line models come with lowered, stiffer suspension to make them feel more sporting, and you’ll be able to pay extra for an adaptive suspension setup that lets you switch between a cushy ride and sharper cornering on the fly – the latter is recommended if you really want a proper luxury feel.

Adaptive air suspension that can vary the car’s ride height to make it lower for better stability and taller to deal with the odd spot of off-roading is also available. The Q5 Sportback is the most refined and comfortable car in its class if you do spec this option, and the flexibility it brings is handy.

What might be a bit disappointing is that there is no real changes to the way the Q5 Sportback drives compared to the regular Q5. It would’ve been nice if Audi had instilled a sportier feel to its handling, but at least it’s just as composed and comfortable.

What's it like inside?

The Q5 Sportback’s cabin is as classy and tech-laden as the Q5, but there’s a bit less headroom. Also, as with the Q5, some things that should be standard are optional and the options themselves aren’t cheap.

Audi Q5 Sportback colours

Solid - Brilliant black
Free
Solid - Ibis white
Free
Metallic - District green
From £675
Metallic - Floret silver
From £675
Metallic - Glacier white
From £675
Metallic - Manhattan grey
From £675
Metallic - Matador red
From £675
Metallic - Mythos black
From £675
Metallic - Navarra blue
From £675
Metallic - Ultra blue
From £675
Pearl - Daytona grey
From £675
Special solid - Quantum grey
From £675
Audi Exclusive - Custom
From £2,400
Next Read full interior review
Buy a new or used Audi Q5 Sportback at a price you’ll love
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