Audi Q5 Sportback sacrifices space for style

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Audi late on Friday unveiled the new Q5 Sportback.

When attached to an SUV, the Sportback name indicates a coupe-like roofline ending in a liftback, as opposed to the more upright tailgates traditionally found on SUVs. It adds a bit of style by creating a more dynamic profile, though the cost of this is reduced storage space up back.

The first SUV Sportback from Audi was the compact Q3 Sportback which arrived last year but isn’t sold in the United States. There’s also the mid-size E-Tron Sportback which is on sale here. The Q5 Sportback is confirmed to reach local showrooms in the first half of 2021.

New Audi Q5 Sportback

The vehicle is based on the updated 2021 Q5, meaning it features the latest styling added to the Q5 including standard LED headlights and OLED taillights. Unique to the Q5 Sportback is that roof which starts its downward slope early and flows into a rear panel topped by a subtle spoiler. A second main spoiler also sits at the top of the rear windshield.

The Q5 Sportback measures 15.4 feet in length, making it 0.3 inches longer than the regular Q5. Interior space is a maximum 52.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat, and access to the rear is via an automatic tailgate. At the front of the cabin is an uncluttered dash with an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch infotainment screen. The infotainment system can be controlled via the screen, steering wheel controls or voice activation.

The Q5 Sportback also comes with many electronic driver-assist features, some for safety and others for efficiency. There’s the usual safety features like forward collision warning, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning, but there’s also a feature that helps you drive efficienctly by suggesting speeds based on predictive route data from the navigation system and camera-based traffic sign recognition.

New Audi Q5 Sportback

New Audi Q5 Sportback

Audi fits the Q5 Sportback with stiffer suspension than the regular Q5 to provide a sportier feel, as well as 18-inch wheels (up to 21 inches is available). Air suspension and suspension with adjustable dampers are offered as options, along with speed-sensitive steering. Speed-sensitive steering means fewer turns of the steering wheel are required during low-speed driving like when parking, while at higher speeds there’s increased feeling of stability.

Powertrains for the United States will be announced closer to the market launch, but planned plug-in hybrid and sporty SQ5 options will likely make the cut. The standard powertrain will likely be a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 good for 261 horsepower, just like in the regular Q5. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive are also likely to be standard in the U.S.

Production for North America will be handled at Audi’s plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico, where the regular Q5 is built.

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