The Audi Q5 Sportback range made its debut locally towards the end of 2021. We finally got our hands on a test unit in Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI guise, which we recently drove for a few days.

Audi was a bit late to the swoopy SUV party. BMW’s X4 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLC have been available for some time before the Four Rings offered any form of rival in the segment. That, however, did not stop the Q5 from being one of the best-selling SUVs in Audi’s portfolio.

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Building on

The Audi Q5 Sportback builds on the handsome appearance of the ‘regular’ Q5. They are virtually indistinguishable when viewed head on. The two body styles are even the exact same height. The major differentiator is seen in their respective profiles. The Sportback’s roofline is bowed raked as it plunges towards the rear of the car. This gives it a swoopy, more sporty appearance.

Overall, the Q5 Sportback is fractionally longer, but the smoother finish to its tail helps to reduce its drag coefficient. In turn this provides benefits to the fuel consumption, performance and overall wind noise experienced in the cabin. Speaking of..

Read our review of the recently facelifted Audi Q5 at this link.

True to form

Audi has long been regarded as a company that builds some of the best cabins in the industry. We’re glad to say this still holds true. The interior of the Audi Q5 Sportback is high-tech, neat and stylish. In front of the driver is a digital instrument cluster, which can be configured as desired.

Atop the facia is a new version of the company’s touchscreen interface. Audi has done away with the rotary controller to access the system. While the touchscreen is quick to respond and generally easy to navigate, it does require a glance over to access the right menu. Thankfully Audi has kept a few buttons to access the HVAC system and seat heaters. Audi SA also specified this press unit with the excellent (optional) Bang & Olufsen premium audio system.

Click here to read our review of the ridiculously quick Audi RS6 Avant.

The front seats are properly comfortable and, in this case, electrically adjustable. If you are slightly taller you will have to tiling you head to access the rear of the cabin, thanks to the sloping roofline. The cabin of our loan unit felt light and airy thanks to the optional panoramic roof with retractable cover.

Audi also claims a slightly smaller boot volume, of 510 litres, than the more square Q5. However, the luggage area is deep and easily accessed thanks to a standard electrical tailgate. This test unit also had the optional ‘comfort’ key that allowed for remote release and gesture opening of the rear door.

Line-up

The Audi Q5 Sportback is available locally with three engine options. There is a 140 kW/400 N.m 40 TDI and a range leader SQ5 that has 260 kW/500 N.m from a force-fed 3,0-litre V6. The Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI lies in between these two, which is the version we had in our care. All versions are mated with automatic transmissions that drive all four wheels.

The 45 TFSI is powered by a turbocharged inline four. This unit produces a healthy 183 kW and 370 N.m of torque. Power is sent to the quattro AWD system through a seven-speed automatic transmission. Although there are paddle shifters on the steering wheel for driver controlled shifts, the transmission seems perfectly in tune with the power delivery not to require any driver input.

Audi claims the Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI can sprint from rest to 100 km/h in 6,3 seconds. Subjectively it feels punchy enough to deliver on that number. However, its in-gear oomph is what really impressed. The mid-range shove is impressive for a 2,0-litre motor. As the peak torque figure is quite close to the turbodiesel version, this engine would be the pick of the bunch.

Smooth sailing

Our test unit rode on 20-inch alloys. These were shod with 45-profile rubber. They looked the part and still managed to provide excellent ride quality. In fact, we were quite surprised when we took a close look at the wheel sizes. This Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI was also kitted out with optional adaptive air suspension. As a result the ride quality was supple when set in ‘comfort’ mode, but there was an added level of body control when the sportier settings were selected.

Summary

We had an idea of what to expect when the Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI was delivered for us to review. The Q5 is a known quantity and the Sportback is a variation on that dish, not a new meal altogether. The fundamentals of the Q5 are carried over, albeit in a slightly more stylish package. It may have taken Audi some time to join its main rivals in this sub-segment but they have nailed the brief. Consumers are faced with enough options in this segment, particularly if you throw the Porsche Macan and Land Rover Evoque into the mix. The Q5 Sportback is right up there with the best in the class.

Model: Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI 

Price: R1 050 000

Engine: 2,0-litre inline four, turbopetrol

Transmission: seven-speed automatic, AWD

Max power: 183 kW

Max torque: 370 N.m

0-100 km/h: 6,3 sec

Top speed: 237 km/h

Fuel consumption: 8,0 L/100 km