Review – Audi Q5 Sportback (2022)
When we test a model for the second time, it is often a different body style. For example, a station or a sedan version. Especially when it comes to a popular model, we like to test several variants. Think of the Golf 8 and the Golf Variant 8 . But we are testing station wagons less and less. They are out of fashion. We step more and more often in a coupé-SUV: an SUV with a ‘sportier’ body.
Audi Q5 Sportback
Audi has a new high-legged coupé in the stable: the Q5 Sportback. The new body style will just hit the market before the all-new generation of the Q5 hits the road in 2024. With the Q5 Sportback, Audi is competing with the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé and the BMX X4. Richly late, because the X4 was already on the road in 2014.
The Q5 Sportback differs from the normal Q5 on a few points. You had already seen the sloping roofline, but have you noticed the two spoilers yet? There is a spoiler above the rear, but there is also one on the tailgate. Nice and sporty! Audi does justice to the name Sportback, shall we say.
Don’t you lose a lot of space with such a sloping roofline?
In short: yes, a little. In the back fits ‘only’ 510 liters, while in the regular Q5 550 liters. And of course it is less easy to take high items with you. In practice, it is fine to live with, or you really have to regularly use your car as a removal van. Then you might be better off going for the regular Q5. Fortunately, the roofline extends far enough to the rear, so that you as a passenger in the back do not quickly hit the roof with your head. At least, not if you are 1.85 meters in any case. Thanks to a wheelbase of 2.82 meters there is plenty of legroom in the second row of seats.
The rear lights are also slightly different than on a regular Q5 and are equipped with OLED technology. We’ve never seen that on a car before. Nice gimmick, you think, but the OLED taillights really impress. You can clearly see the difference with normal rear lights.
The light surface is razor sharp. It’s like watching a 4k OLED TV, where the image is red. You can even ‘change channels’, because as an owner you can even choose which light signature your Q5 Sportback has. There is a choice of three different light designs and signatures. If you put the car in the ‘Dynamic’ driving mode, the rear lights look even more sporty. Taillights have never been so interesting.
The interior in the Q5 is typical Audi: sleek, businesslike and modern. It exudes class and is full of high-quality materials. In the Q5, the MMI infotainment system is nice and smooth to operate via a 10.1-inch touchscreen. If you shout ‘Hey Audi’ out loud, you can put the system to work via voice commands. The digital instruments – the Virtual Cockpit – steal the show in the interior. The screen is almost as sharp as the OLED taillights and is nice and large: 12.3-inch. As a result, you no longer need the infotainment screen for your navigation, because you can see the map of almost half of the Netherlands right in front of you.
The price list of the Q5 Sportback includes three powertrains: the 40 TFSI (mild hybrid) and 50 and 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid powertrains. The 204 hp 40 TFSI starts from 67,194 euros. For a small three grand more Audi gives you the keys to the 299 hp 50 TFSI e. That is the most logical choice in our opinion. 100 hp more for 3,000 euros is not crazy. Moreover, you earn that amount back within a few months, if you regularly connect it to the plug. Actually, the 50 TFSI e is the entry-level, if you look at it that way. If you want even more horsepower, you can get the 367 hp and thickly dressed 55 TFSI e for 82,861 euros. Not a bad choice either, if you were planning on checking half the options list anyway.
But as you have already seen in the pictures, we do not drive in any of these three variants. Our Q5 Sportback’s wicked dark single-frame grille bears the letters SQ5. Yes, we drive the absolute top version, the SQ5 Sportback TDI.
TDI, you say? Yes, the SQ5 has a self-debander again. A very thick one, with six cylinders and no less than 341 hp. Such a thick German diesel, that is not possible anymore, is it? No that is right. Audi will therefore no longer sell diesels in the Netherlands from April 1, 2022. Not because of the environment, but because there is simply no longer a demand for TDI blocks. Only 1% of all cars sold in the premium segment last year had a diesel engine. So we have the honor to wave goodbye to the SQ5.
Diesels are expensive
Diesels sell poorly due to the Dutch fiscal climate. Not because the Dutch have suddenly become so environmentally aware. The SQ5 was available (until April 1, so) from 122,000 euros. The car we drive has a few nice options and is even over 140,000 euros. While it has 26 hp less than the plug-in hybrid 55 TFSI e. Then you must be very fond of diesel, if you want more than 40 grand extra for it.
King of the couple
Although we understand best if you want to pay a little extra for a diesel. We hardly test diesels yet, but in the SQ5 we find out again why they drive so well. Especially if they have six cylinders with a displacement of 3 liters. The power build-up is impressive. In the SQ5 you sometimes think that you are in an electric car, thanks to the almost immediately available torque. At the bottom, all 700 Newton meters are available from 1,750 revolutions per minute.
The sound of the 3.0-litre V6 isn’t bad either. It is and remains a diesel, but to be honest: it sounds great. Nice and deep, heavy and dark brown, with a nice roll. That sound comes from two exhaust pipes, which are hidden behind the bumper. The exhausts you do see – four shiny chrome pipes – are painfully fake. Anyone who has made that choice in Ingolstadt can, as far as we’re concerned, immediately empty their desk. Four plastic pipes (the chrome is plastic) with four clearly visible sealing caps, on a performance version, don’t do it Audi. Another reason to go for the PHEV, which fortunately does not have.
Fortunately, behind the wheel you will soon forget about the fake exhausts. Especially if you press the gas deeply and you are firmly pressed into your seat. The counter reaches 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds. Only at 250 km/h does the large SUV stop accelerating.
During our test week we did not enter any (okay, few) traffic light sprints, but we especially enjoyed the comfort that a powerful diesel can provide. Everything goes smoothly, effortlessly, with two fingers in the nose. And we haven’t even talked about the range yet. On a full tank, the screen in front of us shows 1,000 kilometers. So we can easily drive on one tank from our house to the Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, personally escort that engineer who has been working on the fake exhausts.