is expanding the growing coupe-inspired crossover segment, what we at Roadshow call the coupeover. Late Friday, Audi unveiled its new Q5 Sportback, a versatile utility vehicle with an extra dose of style.
The biggest change between this model and the standard Q5 is, quite obviously, that roofline. The Sportback variant’s top gently slopes toward the back, with the aftmost side windows tapering sharply at the rear. This modification gives the vehicle a dramatic profile. Likewise, the backlight is steeply raked to match the lid’s downward angle.
Up front, this new variant of thefeatures a familiar octagonal single-frame grille, one filled with a unique rhomboid texture. Naturally, expect minor exterior changes to the front air inlets and bumpers based on trim level and options packages. Giving drivers plenty of choice, Audi will offer 12 different paint colors on the Sportback, plus a whole bunch of different wheel designs, spanning 18 to 21 inches. At the vehicle’s rear, digital and should provide some interesting functionality. Each lamp contains three OLED panels consisting of six illuminable segments that can be controlled individually. This enables the driver to change the lighting signature or even let the vehicle warn other motorists of danger. For instance, if another driver gets within 6.5 feet of its rear bumper, the vehicle can flash its taillights, a more proactive notice than a pair of Yosemite Sam mud flaps.
The Q5 Sportback is 7 millimeters longer than its sibling, though the machine’s overall height and width are the same. As for aerodynamic efficiency, themodel will be slightly slipperier, with a drag coefficient of 0.30.
But what about luggage capacity? Well, the Q5 Sportback looks to be quite versatile despite that fashionable roofline. It offers 18 cubic feet of luggage space behind the second row seat, however, the optional Rear Bench Plus, which slides and offers an adjustable backrest, can be moved forward to increase luggage space by an additional 2.1 cubes for a total of 20.1. Fold that backrest down and the Q5 Sportback gives you 52.3 cubic feet of junk-hauling room. Optional roof rails allow you to carry even more stuff. Making it just a little easier to load cargo, this Audi comes standard with a power tailgate, though for extra money you can also open it with a wave of your foot.
Q5 Sportbacks will come standard with a more taut sport suspension, which should make them crisper and more engaging to drive than the regular Q5. Adjustable dampers are also available, as is an air suspension system, which offers 2.4 inches of total adjustment range. This allows theto increase its ground clearance by up to 1.8 inches for better off-road capability, though it’s still probably inadvisable to attempt the Rubicon Trail in one of these. Like other air suspension-equipped crossovers, this Audi can lower its body at speed for enhanced aerodynamics and you can drop the rear of the vehicle by pushing a button in the cargo hold so it’s easier to load or unload cumbersome cargo.
A dynamic steering system will also be offered. This adjusts the Q5 Sportback’s steering ratio and power assist based on driving conditions. Basically, it makes the tiller quicker and lighter at low speeds for enhanced maneuverability and slower and heavier on the highway for better stability.
American drivers will have two powertrain options: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque in the standard model, and a 3.0-liter V6 that’s good for 349 hp and 369 lb-ft in the high-performance SQ5. If these engines sound familiar, they should. The automaker is offering the same ones in the 2021 Q5.
Elsewhere, the Q5 Sportback will launch in Europe with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine delivering 201 hp and 295 lb-ft. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive are also part of its powertrain equation, as is a mild-hybrid system with a small lithium-ion battery, which can recuperate energy while braking to improve vehicle efficiency. With a twin-dosing selective catalyst reduction system, this diesel engine should meet the latest European emissions standards. After launch, a range of other engines, including gasoline, diesel and even a plug-in hybrid will be offered in this Sportback.
Not surprisingly, there’s nothing shocking to report about the vehicle’s interior. Proudly on display is the automaker’s MIB 3 infotainment system. Audi’s ever-useful Virtual Cockpit is available, while the MMI infotainment system with navigation is displayed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Like its luxury German rivals, the Q5 Sportback’s multimedia array responds to voice commands, in this case, “Hey, Audi.” For extra cash, you can also opt for a Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system. As for driver-assistance tech, this coupeover comes standard with Audi Pre Sense City, which can help avoid or lessen the severity of low-speed collisions. Features like turn assist, swerve assist, cross-traffic assist and exit warning systems are all offered.
The 2021 Audi Q5 Sportback is scheduled to go on sale in various international markets in the first half of next year. The vehicle will be built in Mexico, though examples sold in China will be assembled from complete knock-down kits in Audi’s Changchun factory. What about pricing? Well, you guessed it. That’s not available just yet, so stay tuned.