Remember how we laughed at the first-generation BMW X6?
Well, it turns out BMW was onto something with its high-riding coupe-crossover. The formula has since been applied to SUVs of all sizes, and has been borrowed by its biggest rivals at Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Although it’s one Audi’s best-selling cars in Australia, the Q5 is late to the coupe-crossover party. The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe has been given one facelift and we’re into our third BMW X4, but this is the first-ever Q5 Sportback.
We know it’s built on good bones. It’s the same width and height as the excellent Q5 wagon, although its body is 7mm longer and rear headroom is down by up to 20mm due to the sloping roofline.
It’s not an instant winner in images, with some awkward shut lines and a slightly hunched profile, but the shape gels in person – albeit without the same wow factor as the BMW X4, which is more clearly differentiated from its wagon brother. These coupe-styled SUVs are a love-or-hate proposition, so you’ll have to judge with your own eyes.
Pricing is up compared to the wagon, as is the norm when it comes to style-focused SUVs, and there’s a smaller line-up which ignores the more mundane members of the regular Q5 line-up in favour of more powerful, generously-equipped options.
On test here is the 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S line, the only petrol option in the local Sportback range.
Want to know more about the new SQ5 Sportback TDI? Check out our launch review here.
The Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI has a starting price of $86,300 before on-road costs, but our tester was optioned to $95,430 before on-roads. Clearly Audi didn’t hold back on the options, but you could get away with ignoring some of them.
Our tester packed the following options:
- Colour ambient lighting interior package ($520)
- Piano Black interior inlays ($520)
- Quantum Grey paint ($1990)
- Black exterior styling package ($1100)
- Technik Package ($5000)
- OLED tail lights
- Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system
- Privacy glass
- Head-up display
At its list price, the Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI goes head-to-head with the less powerful BMW X4 xDrive20i ($85,900) and the entry-level Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Coupe ($96,900).
See the full 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback price list below:
- 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback 40 TDI quattro S line: $77,700
- 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S line: $86,300
- 2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI: $110,900
All prices exclude on-road costs.
It’s worth noting the Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S line is just under $10,000 more expensive than the Q5 wagon with the same engine, although it also comes with extra standard equipment to justify its steeper sticker.
If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can use Audi’s stock-locator to find cars available around your area and get drive-away pricing. Alternatively, use the official Audi Q5 price and specs to get an idea of pricing and specifications.
Audi has gone all-out with the standard equipment in its latest cars, and the Q5 Sportback is no exception.
The base model isn’t exactly light-on for nice touches, but the 45 TFSI on test is undoubtedly the sweet spot in the range with high-end features like Matrix LED headlights, nappa leather upholstery, and a massive panoramic sunroof.
Standard equipment on the Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro S line includes:
- Matrix LED headlights
- Adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist
- Nappa leather upholstery
- Stainless steel pedals
- Sliding and reclining rear bench
- Panoramic sunroof
- 10-speaker sound system
- Power-adjustable front sports seats with four-way power lumbar and driver’s memory
That’s atop the standard equipment featured on the entry-level 40 TDI, which includes:
- 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Satellite navigation
- Audi connect plus
- Wireless phone charging
- DAB+ digital radio
- 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit plus’ digital instrument cluster
- Eight-speaker sound system
- LED headlights with static cornering lights
- Automatic headlights
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Hill descent control
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Semi-autonomous parking assist
- Power-adjustable front sports seats with four-way power lumbar
- Leather upholstery
- Three-zone climate control
- Illuminated door sills
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Hands-free power tailgate
- Keyless entry and start
- Ambient lighting
- Heated windscreen washer jets
Adaptive air suspension and colour-adjustable ambient lighting are optional on both Q5 Sportback models, while a power-adjustable steering column is optional only on the 45 TFSI.
The Technik Package, available on both the 40 TDI and 45 TFSI, adds:
- Matrix LED headlights (40 TDI)
- Digital OLED tail lights (45 TFSI)
- 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system
- Rear privacy glass
- Head-up display
To see a side-by-side comparison of all the standard features and options offered between each of the variants, download the specifications sheet from the official Audi Q5 website.
The Audi Q5 and SQ5 have a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and this carries over to the Sportback variants.
That’s based on an adult occupant protection score of 93 per cent, a child occupant protection score of 86 per cent, a pedestrian protection score of 73 per cent and a safety assist score of 56 per cent.
All models come standard with the following safety equipment:
- AEB with pedestrian detection
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane departure warning
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Safe exit warning
- Driver attention monitoring
- Eight airbags
- Surround-view camera
- Front and rear parking sensors
You can find further information on these safety systems in the official Audi Q5 website.
Up front, you’d be hard pressed to tell the Sportback apart from a regular Q5.
It’s a lovely place to spend time, and is brimming with standard equipment you have to pay more for on a BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Nappa leather trim, a massive panoramic sunroof, and a class-leading digital instrument binnacle are the highlights, and are reserved for range-topping versions of the Q5 Sportback’s rivals. Nice work, Audi.
The driver and passenger sit in supportive seats with a huge range of electric adjustment, and the steering wheel is a quality unit wrapped in supple leather. This being an Audi, essentially everything you poke or prod feels solid. All the switches make a nice click, and the chunky gear selector has reassuringly weighty action.
Although the Sportback is new, the Q5 itself is right in the middle of its lifecycle. That means it hasn’t made the leap to 100 per cent touchscreen controls, instead packing dials and buttons for your air-conditioning and seat heating. They don’t look as flashy as the touch controls in the new A6, but the buttons in the Q5 are much easier to use, and make for less eyes-off-road time.
The 10.1-inch touchscreen atop the dash is a step on from the non-touch MMI system that featured in the pre-update Q5 wagon, with crisp graphics and quick responses. It’s every bit as flashy to look at as BMW iDrive or MBUX, although Audi isn’t leaning as hard into voice controls as its German rivals.
Wireless Apple CarPlay worked flawlessly, and the sliding wireless phone charger means you can just dump your plus-sized iPhone or Android every time you get in the car. It’s a bit annoying the pad either covers the cupholders or the space beneath the central armrest, given needing to access storage and having a coffee aren’t mutually exclusive.
Audi’s latest Virtual Cockpit digital instruments are still the best in the business, with a huge range of layouts offering as much (or as little) information as you’d like. The satellite mapping is a highlight, and makes what both BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer look a bit cheap in comparison.
Although storage is decent, the ashtray-sized slot on the transmission tunnel where the infotainment touch controller and buttons once sat is awkward, and betrays the Q5’s age. We wouldn’t bother with the gloss black interior option – you’re better served sticking with the finish pictured here.
There’s deep door pockets, a slim slot beneath the dashboard, and a generous glovebox up front to round things out. A USB-A port at the base of the dashboard is backed by a USB-C port under the central armrest.
Coupe crossovers often suffer when it comes to rear-seat practicality, but the Q5 Sportback is surprisingly spacious in the second row. Headroom in particular is excellent (even with the panoramic sunroof) to the point where I could get reasonably comfy back there at six-foot-seven.
Legroom back there is fine for average-sized adults behind average-sized adults, but the BMW X4 is slightly better for leggy passengers. With air vents, a standalone climate control zone, and two USB ports back there, there’s nothing for the kids to complain about.
The second row also slides to prioritise boot space or legroom, and there are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether mounts for child seats. If carrying tall passengers or bulky items around is a priority, we’d still recommend you look at the wagon instead.
Boot space has taken a slight hit in the transition from Q5 to Q5 Sportback, dropping from 520L to 510L. Fold the seats and you get access to 1470L, down 50L on the wagon.
The roofline is less aggressive than you’ll see elsewhere in the coupe-crossover world, so the Sportback is actually one of the best style-focused SUVs for carrying around bikes or antiques. Its load floor is flat, and the boot opening is huge because the tail lights are integrated into the boot lid.
If you’re looking for more details on the interior design and features, you can find official pictures and commentary on the Audi Q5 website.
Power in the 45 TFSI comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 12V mild-hybrid system and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Outputs are 183kW and 370Nm, and the claimed 100km/h sprint time is 6.3 seconds. The whole Sportback range has all-wheel drive as standard.
Claimed fuel economy is 8.0L/100km on the combined cycle, and the car drinks 95 RON premium unleaded. It has a 70L fuel tank.
We saw 8.8L/100km on a mix of highway and city driving, with a sporty blast thrown in there for good measure.
You can find further technical specifications on the engine within the official Audi Q5 specifications sheet.
In keeping with the rest of the package, the Sportback drives like a Q5 45 TFSI quattro wagon with slightly worse rearward visibility.
That means it’s solid and refined, with power from one of the Volkswagen Group’s best engines. Although it wears a 45 TFSI badge, this is the same 2.0-litre engine you get in the VW Golf GTI and Skoda Octavia RS.
If you aren’t in a hurry it majors on smoothness, offering plenty of low-down torque for fuss-free progress. Bury your foot and it can get a proper move on, with a broad torque band giving way to a reasonably sprightly top end if you feel like chasing the redline.
Sure, the SQ5 will show it a clean set of heels in a straight line, but there’s more than enough punch here to have a good time. That’s what happens when you slot a hot hatch engine into an SUV.
Although it features a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Sportback feels relatively natural to drive around town. Its start/stop system is smooth, and there’s no awkwardness off the mark or on light throttle inputs. Thanks to the addition of mild-hybrid smarts, the engine can even switch off as you coast down a hill to save fuel.
The transmission can be a bit keen to shuffle into a tall gear, though. You need to give the accelerator a determined prod to make it kick down; pulling the chunky gear selector down into Sport also gives it a shot in the arm. You can also take charge with the paddles behind the wheel.
Although it’s riding on fixed dampers (rather than the optional air suspension), the 45 TFSI strikes a good balance between comfort and sportiness.
The standard suspension does a good job keeping bumps and potholes out the cabin, and smaller lumps don’t upset it. You can also sling the Q5 Sportback into a set of bends with confidence. There’s a bit of roll, but the body is kept nicely in check and there’s plenty of traction from the clever quattro all-wheel drive system.
Even in Sport mode it’s not the last word in engagement, but the steering is light and accurate, and the all-wheel drive system does a good job putting the engine’s power down when it’s wet. On slick, dirty country roads it just gets on with the job.
Would a slightly sportier drive be a better match for the car’s sportier body and Sportback name? Maybe, but that’s not what Audi crossovers have ever really been about, save for the fire-breathing RSQ8. From behind the wheel there’s not really any difference in character between the wagon and coupe, for better or worse.
With light steering, decent all-round visibility, and excellent cameras, it’s an easy car to drive in the city – albeit not quite as easy as the wagon, thanks to the larger blind-spot that’s inevitable with a more coupe-like roofline.
Audi has done a good job with its driver assists. The adaptive cruise control is smooth, and the lane-keeping gently nudges the you back into the lane when you stray towards the white lines. They make the car perfect for highway cruising, although you’ll need to crank up the (excellent, optional) Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system to drown out some road roar from the Pirelli tyres on coarse-chip highways.
Audi hasn’t followed Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Jaguar Land Rover to a five-year warranty, instead sticking with its disappointing three-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000km, and a five-year service package is priced at $3140.
You can find more details on the Audi Service Plans on the official Audi website.
The Sportback is good at the same things as its wagon brother, but has a more style-focused body. Not exactly a groundbreaking conclusion, but sometimes the obvious answer is the right one.
Despite its sportier looks, the Q5 Sportback feels like one of those cars that’d slot neatly into your life. It’s refined on the inside and has a polished feel from behind the wheel, and is more practical than you might expect of a car with a sloping tailgate.
Does it look sporty enough? That’s up to you, but it’s definitely less overt than the BMW X4 or Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe from the outside. That slightly buttoned-down character is also evident from behind the wheel.
With a sharp starting price relative to its German rivals, and a typically torquey and refined engine, the 45 TFSI quattro also looks like a sweet spot in the range.
Just be careful with the options. Tick too many boxes, and you’re getting close to SQ5 territory.
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MORE: Everything Audi Q5