Sportback 45 TFSI quattro 265PS S line S tronic
came the SUVs, bewitching
drivers everywhere with their do
anything, go anywhere
Now comes the second wave of
must-have sport utility vehicles,
epitomised by the likes of Audis
Sportback. Not only do these new
coupe-ified interpretations look
more dynamic, but theyre
primed to drive better too...
MILLIONS OF DRIVERS love their SUVs even the 'boxy' ones. And indications
are that they're already even more smitten by these refreshing new variants
with coupe-esque styling. And for anyone willing and able to spend between £46K
and £60K to park one on their drive, the Sportback's £2,500 premium over a trad-look
Q5 is no barrier at all.
While most SUVs look tough enough to be Dakar-rally contenders, the majority
of them will live out their lives running on nothing more challenging than tarmac.
So injecting more dynamism and verve into the on-road driving experience can
only be a good thing. And that's exactly where the Sportback variants come in;
delivering snazzier looks allied to SUV ruggedness while still providing more
space and versatility and driving better than many a conventional car.
what's not to like? Seen in your rearview mirror, the Sportback's nose, with
its trademark honeycomb single-frame grille, could belong to a regular Q5 SUV.
However, as it overtakes, you'll definitely spot the differences: the swoopy
coupe-esque glasshouse and sportier tail treatment that make it oh-so-slinkier
than a regular SUV. So you won't be surprised to learn then that, although only
being on sale in the UK for a few months, take-up of the rakish Sportback already
accounts for four in ten Q5 sales.
have progressed beyond
big alloy wheels and
soft leather interiors.
Buyers now demand
top-spec comms and
the Q5 Sportback
delivers, not just with its
clear, 10-inch central
touchscreen, but with
its widescreen 12.3-inch
Virtual Cockpit display
of the driver.
Add to that
on the steering wheel,
and a comprehensive
voice command system
(triggered simply by
saying: Hey, Audi),
and you rarely need to
look away from the
Spend a week in a Sportback's company and you'll get it, and come away impressed
by its likeable nature and sheer everyday usefulness. Climb aboard through the
big doors and you'll instantly feel everything is right in your world
the interior is beautifully fitted-out with top quality materials and classy
trim and confirms all you've read or heard about Audi's elegant blend of well-fettled
And thanks to plenty of room (including a fist-and-a-half of headroom even with
the seat jacked up) and plenty of seat adjustment, whatever your body type,
you'll find it easy to make yourself exceedingly comfy in the firmly cushioned
sports seats, upholstered in grey leather and textured Alcantara, that are as
supportive and relaxing on long journeys as when you're just popping out to
pick up a takeaway. Both front 'chairs' also get quick-to-warm three-stage heating,
extending under-knee support and power lumbar adjustment for an even better
For those who appreciate a shipshape cabin there are plenty of storage spaces
including a deep box under the sliding and height-adjustable central armrest,
with a handy bed your smartphone can call home while it's being wirelessly charged,
large siamesed dual-use cupholders, a decent-sized glovebox (usefully, it's
lit, lined, and lockable), plus big, bottle-friendly door bins front and rear.
Today's 'must haves' have progressed beyond big alloy wheels and soft leather
interiors. Buyers now demand top-spec comms and the Q5 Sportback
delivers, not just with its free-standing, crystal clear, 10-inch central touchscreen,
but with its widescreen 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display directly ahead of
the driver. Add to that straightforward multifunction controls on the steering
wheel, and a comprehensive voice command system (triggered simply by saying:
'Hey, Audi'), and you rarely need to look away from the road. Great too is the
ease with which you can locate filling stations or car parks using the MMI navigation
system. Equally helpful is the online traffic information which can display
highly detailed, real-time information on the traffic situation, obstacles,
and the state of traffic jams.
Connect also brings you Amazon's Alexa 'she' is fully integrated
and provides access to Alexa functionality through use of the Voice and MMI
controls. She's easily controlled using the same standard commands as Amazon
Alexa in the home start any request with: 'Alexa…' And use her
for, amongst other things, Smart Home control, Amazon Shopping, Knowledge (sports,
movies, quizzes, etc), and access to streaming services for Amazon Music and
Audible and Kindle audio books.
driver's full colour digital instrument panel is one of the best, the customisable
information is flawlessly presented taking in road speed and anything
else you fancy from active 3D navigation mapping, radio/media information, driver
assistance systems, to all MMI functionalities (telephone, car settings, etc)
so the driver never feels overloaded.
brings you Amazons
Alexa she is fully
integrated and provides
access to Alexa
functionality through use
of the Voice and MMI
controls. And shes
easily controlled using
the same standard
commands as Amazon
Alexa in the home:
start any request with
Alexa… and use her for,
amongst other things,
Smart Home control,
Amazon Shopping, and
access to streaming
services for Amazon
Music and Audible and
Kindle audio books...
Smartphones matter! And mobile integration is assured by Apple CarPlay and Android
Auto. Other plusses include keyless entry with keyless Start, a four-zone climate
system that's operated by real knobs and buttons (so much better and infinitely
less distracting than trying to tap a screen while on the move), parking sensors
and camera (our test car was fitted with the optional 360-degree system that
provides seven different views: front, rear, corners, and sides, as well as
a brilliant bird's-eye view that makes shoehorning the Sportback into a tight
bay an absolute doddle), a quality sound system, powerfolding (auto and on demand)
heated and automatically dimming door mirrors, one-shot power windows, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, powered tailgate, and an electric parking brake with auto-hold
(a godsend in stop-start traffic).
Safety kit includes core essentials such as Audi Pre-Sense that uses a camera
to detect vehicles and pedestrians ahead if an imminent collision
is detected at speeds up to 52mph, the system first warns then will, if necessary,
initiate emergency braking. Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators are
also standard equipment as too is cruise control with a speed limiter, auto
lights, rain lights, and automatic dip/main beam switching.
Measuring 15' 4" nose to tail, the Sportback is a fully-fledged four/five-seater.
Access in and out is a breeze thanks to rear doors that open wide, a tall roofline,
and the seating's higher hip-points. Adults can very happily sit behind a six-foot
driver or front passenger while enjoying generous amounts of legroom, a fist
of headroom (despite the sloping roof), and real comfort from the contoured
outer 'chairs'. While three-side-by-side in the back is on the menu, two adults
sharing the rear cabin will feel very indulged indeed.
you plan on using the Isofix child seat anchor points on the two outer rear
seats (also fitted to the front passenger seat) you'll most definitely appreciate
the Sportback's raised ride height which makes light work of fitting child seats
and strapping their users into them. Youngsters and adults alike will appreciate
the large windows and the rear cabin's airy feel.
if you regularly mix-and-match luggage and people, then note that sliding and
reclining rear seats are optional (they also enable an extra 20% of boot space).
In addition, there are central air vents, cupholders integrated into the drop-down
centre armrest, large door pockets, net seatback pouches, and a nicely padded
centre armrest with pop-out cupholders.
with a tauter sport
suspension so right from
the get-go theyre more
engaging to drive.
Admittedly the sport
suspension brings a
firmer ride, but the
that the trade-off doesnt
have to be too one-sided.
Those travelling in the
comfy rear seats can
bask in the relaxing and
quietly refined cabin
ambiance as they ride
along (even rolling on
20-inch low-pro rubber),
while up front their
driver can smile to
themselves as they relish
the tangibly focused
dynamics. Definitely a
Sportback models come with a tauter sport suspension (adaptive dampers and air
suspension are worthwhile options) so right from the get-go these sportier variants
are more engaging to drive than the regular Q5. Admittedly the sport suspension
brings a firmer ride, but the Sportback demonstrates that the trade-off doesn't
have to be too one-sided. Audi's engineers have finessed the ride:handling equation
very effectively; so much so that those travelling in the comfily supportive
rear seats can bask in the relaxing and quietly refined cabin ambiance as they
ride along (even when rolling on 20-inch low-pro rubber), while up front their
'chauffeur' can smile to themselves as they relish the tangibly focused dynamics.
Definitely a win-win.
In fact, those with a need for speed won't be disappointed put
the ally pedal to the metal and you'll find the dynamics underpinning the Sportback
bear out its sportier lines. Add in some superior grip, courtesy of the standard-fit
quattro on-demand all-wheel drive, and you won't be surprised to discover that
when you show your Q5's nose some fast and twisty B-roads it's more than keen
to show off its pace; it reacts fluently to the helm, is easy to place, and
feels engagingly confident whenever, and wherever, you're pressing on. And let's
not overlook that often unsung component of any competent handling set-up
the brakes: the Sportback's are first-rate; progressive and powerful however
hard or soft you press down, with plenty of reassuring bite.
With a more than ample 261bhp under the bonnet, the Sportback has all the oomph
you'd expect to match its looks. The petrol-drinking TFSI engine is a four-pot
2.0-litre with a mild hybrid system built in and, thanks to the 273lb ft of
torque on tap between 1,600 and 4,500rpm, doesn't need working hard. It's eager
to rev and agreeably unruffled right from the moment you pull away
but put the boot in and it gifts you impressive point-and-squirt action.
speed is limited to far more than you're ever likely to call on: 149mph. More
relevant, the S line model reviewed here needs just a smidgen over six seconds
to pass the 62mph post from standstill (6.1 actually). That's pretty good going
for its weight and while officially the combined cycle fuel consumption is given
as 32.5mpg, over the course of a week's enjoyably brisk driving we recorded
an average of 35.9mpg. Given the performance, few will grumble about that.
Drive Select is also standard and, left to its own devices in Auto, progress
is quick and unflustered courtesy of the seven-speed, dual-clutch S tronic autobox
making up the other half of the powerplant. Other driving modes include Comfort,
Dynamic (perfect for when you're getting a move on along demanding roads), and
Offroad, while Individual lets you customise the driving experience to suit
a more than ample
261bhp under the
bonnet, the Sportback
has all the oomph youd
expect to match its looks.
The petrol-drinking TFSI
engine is a 2.0-litre with
a mild hybrid system
built in and, thanks to
273lb ft of torque,
doesnt need working
hard. Its eager to rev
and agreeably unruffled
right from the moment
you pull away but put
the boot in and it gifts
you impressive point-
autobox's perforated leather palm-fitting knob also allows instant toggling
between Drive and Sport; tap it to the left and you'll be in manual mode which
you might prefer if you're towing. Paddle-shifters on the wheel's horizontal
spokes give you yet another option for managing the power. Another helpful feature:
pressing the Park button incorporated into the selector knob not only engages
Park but also applies the parking brake for you.
Raise the hands-free powered tailgate and you'll be presented with a big boot
that sits at a convenient height above the road. The 40:20:40-split rear backrests
fold down to form a seamless loadbay. If you choose the range-topping trim which
brings air suspension, your Sportback can be lowered by 60mm for loading, for
which your pooch and your back! will be grateful.
Admittedly, going for the Sportback over the 'boxier' Q5 costs you in luggage
space: but only 40 litres, so no big deal and you still get an
easy-to-stuff 510 litres. If specced, the optional sliding (by six inches) rear
seats can create an extra 60 litres of boot space, as well as providing reclinable
rear backrests and a very large load-through section.
Go to full loadbay mode with the rear seatbacks folded down (you'll find convenient
release levers in the boot) and the sizeable 1,480 litres at your disposal means
there's no compromising on practicality or versatility. Add to that the ability
to tow a braked 2,400kg and for most owners, particularly sports enthusiasts
or active weekenders, that makes it game, set and match to the Sportback.
Both to own and to drive, the Q5 Sportback is a very rewarding SUV. With a classy
high-riding cabin that you'll be keen to spend time in to serving competently
as a four-wheel drive 'wagon' with an assured ride and space for the family,
the pooch, and the luggage, it ticks all the boxes. Throw in plenty of driving
enjoyment and it's clear that Audi's new coupe-SUV Sportbacks are here to stay!
Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro 265PS S line S tronic
Maximum speed: 149mph | 0-62mph: 6.1 seconds | Test Average: 35.9mpg
Power: 261bhp | Torque: 273lb ft | CO2: 202g/km