New Car Review: Audi Q5 Sportback 35 TDI S Line

Q5 Sportback Starting Price: €60,220

Price as tested: €69,363

GOOD STUFF

  • Beautiful styling, amazing quality finish inside and out, frugal diesel engine

BAD STUFF

  • €3,000 more for pretty much the same car – €10,000 more than an A4 Avant.
Photos: Paddy McGrath

WHAT IS IT?

The Q5 Sportback is what Audi call a CUV – or Crossover Utility Vehicle – just how that differs from an SUV we are not sure but since they call their Q3 and e-tron Sportbacks CUVs, it must mean their SUV/coupé models which are now springing up more than ever. They offer a more stylised alternative to the more utilitarian looks of an SUV – swapping out wellies for dress shoes, but leaving on your fishing waders if you like. Audi’s styling department has been working overtime producing new models lately and this represents yet another iteration of the company’s now massive model range. The only real reason you would choose it over the standard Q5 is for the styling. At S-Line spec the Q5 Sportback is €2,975 more expensive than the standard Q5 S-Line and the cars are pretty much identical, but the Sportback has a 10-litre smaller boot, weighs 35kg more, has a slightly smaller wheelbase, but is a fraction longer. 

Photos: Paddy McGrath

HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?

Pretty gorgeous isn’t it? The Q5 is already a good-looking car and this steps things up another notch. The Q5 is already a more handsome car than the generation before and adding the sloping roofline of a coupé has the desired effect of making this car look a little more upmarket. A host of new colours (including our test car’s Ultra Blue) and a wide breath of wheel styles mean you can exhaust all of your creative flair on the website’s configurator. This was a car that received a variety of thumbs-up from passing motorist and the odd mouthed “nice car” – so it certainly looks the part. The fact that these cars are getting steadily larger over the years gives a distinctly more luxury SUV (sorry Audi, CUV) look too. The S line model we were in, by default, gains S Line emblems, front and rear S line bumpers, privacy glazing, black headlining, door sills in front, illuminated with the S line logo and accent surfaces with black glass effect. Our car was fitted with 19” 5-spoke V-design alloy wheels for €1,785. 

Photos: Paddy McGrath

WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?

Audi still makes, for this author anyway, the best interiors of any car brand. The quality is first class and the fit and finish is to a degree other brands could only dream about – that is as true of an Audi A3 and an Audi A8. Inside you get the modular infotainment system or MIB 3. Tick the right box and you can have the Audi virtual cockpit plus with a 12.3-inch display and head-up display on board. The multifunction steering wheel plus enables the safe and simple operation of the most important functions and displays. The MMI navigation plus infotainment system is paired with a 10.1-inch touch screen. It has a natural language voice control which can be activated by saying, “Hey Audi”. There is no rotary control here, like in the Q2, so this system is much more modern and intuitive. There is plenty of space for front and rear passengers, and you don’t miss out on much luggage space (just 10 litres with the Sportback) and only taller adults will suffer in the rear. Our test car also gains the Ambient Lighting package for €200, heated cup holders for €224, Virtual Cockpit Plus for €520 and a Sports Flat bottom steering wheel with multifunction plus for €170.

Photos: Paddy McGrath

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

With everything at the moment seemingly electrified or coming with some sort of plug, it is quite refreshing to get into a diesel mated to an S Tronic gearbox, which while in the autumn of its career is a great engine and when paired with a full tank of diesel indicated 1,100km of range. For some this remains an attraction. The torque and power don’t feel urgent when you get out of EV (our family car is a Škoda ENYAQ) but this is a smooth and very refined vehicle. The handling is decent for a not insubstantial vehicle, but still doesn’t feel like something you’d want to throw around too much (nor we suspect will anyone else – if you want to do that Audi well sell you a very nice A4 Avant with the same engine (incidentally for around €10k less). 

Photos: Paddy McGrath

WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?

Taking it as a given that you are ok with spending €3,000 more on this Sportback than what a standard Q5 will cost you, and €10,000 more than a nice A4 Avant S Line will cost you then we would be saying that this configuration we were driving will be just about right for most buyers. The other diesel option is the 40 TDI which has 204hp which is a €4,000 price walk in the S line model. What we would buy would be the PHEV model, the S Line TFSI e which will cost you €65,540 in S Line which will be cheaper to run (including lower motor tax) and will be future proof any potential diesel penalties for some time to come. 

Photos: Paddy McGrath

IS IT SAFE? 

The Q5 Sportback is equipped with numerous driver assistance systems. The adaptive cruise control assist (where fitted) can take over accelerating, decelerating and keeping in the lane for the driver in many situations. A second high-tech system is the predictive efficiency assist, which supports a predictive driving style. The turn assists, the swerve assist, the cross-traffic assist and exit warning systems also enhance safety. The standard Audi pre sense city system helps to avoid or mitigate the consequences of collisions with road users in front of the car. 

Photos: Paddy McGrath

VERDICT: 

The Q5 Sportback is a very appealing car. The looks are great, the space is great, the interior quality is first class. We’d probably buy the standard Q5, but there is no doubt this styling will appeal to many. While the diesel is undoubtedly good the PHEV probably makes the more sensible buy in 2022. 

Spec Check:

Audi Q5 Sportback 35 TDI

Engine: 2.0-litre 163hp Diesel engine, 

Power: 163hp @3,250 – 4,200 rpm

Torque: 370Nm @1,500 – 3,000 rpm

0-100km/h: 9.0 seconds

Fuel Economy: 4.7 l/100km

Top Speed: 213 km/h

Transmission: 7-speed S-Tronic

Co2: 136g/km

Annual Motor Tax: B2 €210

Luggage Capacity: 578-litres with the seats up, which can extend out to 1,4560-litres with the rear seats folded. 

Price as tested: €69,363

For more information log-on to www.audi.ie

Video Review: Audi Q5 35 TDI Sportback

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