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First Drive

First Drive: Audi Q5 Sportback

Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI Quattro 265PS S line S tronic
The story: Audi’s mid-size SUV gets a sportier version, sacrificing a modicum of practicality for a zippier driving experience and extra style.
Category:SUV
Key rival:BMW X4
Price:£47,730 (£55,035 as tested)
Efficiency:31.4-36.6mpg (range)
Emissions:192-206g/km
On sale:Now

The age of the SUV is long-established, and manufacturers are now working hard to fill as many niches in the market as possible. The coupe-inspired SUV genre is a particular priority, as carmakers scramble to ape the trend started by BMW’s X6. Audi subsequently introduced the Q3 Sportback to add some pizazz to the Q3 SUV, and now its big brother is here. Meet the Q5 Sportback.

The recipe is familiar: take a Q5, give it a swisher silhouette at the cost of a bit of rear headroom and boot space, and make it a bit more fun to drive. And charge around £2,400 more.

First Drive - June 2021 - Audi Q5 Sportback - Image 6The result is exactly what you’d expect. Everything customers like about the Q5 remains, including an identical and excellent interior that oozes quality, from the premium feel of the materials to the way they’re stitched together.

There’s also a surprising amount of space in the back. Six footers will have few worries about head room, even if the regular Q5 has a fraction more acreage. Boot space is down from 550 litres in the standard car to 510, but it’s still very capacious.

To drive, the Sportback is, well, sportier. Not by lots, but there’s enough extra agility to make it more entertaining. It’s not as nimble as the BMW X4 though. The S line model we tried uses stiffened sport suspension over the entry-level Sport trim, and lets a few road imperfections into the cabin, but comfort levels are still entirely acceptable, even on the larger 20-inch wheels fitted to our test car (19s are standard). Top-spec Vorsprung models come with air suspension, which is optional elsewhere in the range.

First Drive - June 2021 - Audi Q5 Sportback - Image 1We’ve only had the chance to try one engine, the 45 TFSI Quattro, which uses a 265hp, 2.0-litre engine and all-wheel drive. It’s a great unit, and pulls strongly from low revs. It’s attached to a fast-shifting seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox that’s flawless 98% of the time, but can sometimes take a beat to react from standstill.

However, the 45 TFSI sips fuel at a fairly thirsty rate and, with emissions of 192g/km and up, sits firmly in the maximum 37% BIK bracket.

Of more company car driver interest is the plug-in hybrid model, the 50 TFSI e, which makes 299hp from a petrol engine and electric motor. It promises up to 38 miles of electric-only driving, putting it in the 11% BIK bracket, and has an official mpg rating of up to 188.3. The boot is slightly smaller though; down to 455 litres thanks to the space taken up by the battery. For yet more power, the 55 TFSI e ups the combined hybrid power to 367hp.

There’s also a diesel-powered, 204hp 40 TDI model, with CO2 emissions of 165g/km. It also sits in the 37% bracket, as does the performance diesel model, the 341bhp SQ5 Sportback.

phill tromans

 

First Drive: Audi E-tron S

The verdict

The Q5 Sportback offers a sleeker version of the regular Q5 while barely compromising practicality, and it drives well too. Is it worth the extra money over the regular car? Audi reckons that up to 40% of Q5 customers will think so. We reckon that if you’re sold on the styling, you’ll be very pleased with it.