Sportback fever is alive and well over at Audi. While we’re still not totally on board with SUVs touting sloped rooflines, we can at least appreciate that Audi calls these models “Sportbacks” rather than crossover-coupes. Meet the 2021 Q5 Sportback, the latest addition to Audi’s lineup.
2021 Audi Q5 Sportback: What’s Changed
Audi has kept largely true to the standard Q5’s design, with three key exceptions. The first is the roof, which slopes down to the taillights, modifying the shape of the C and D pillars. The spoiler is thus elongated, giving the crossover that coupe-SUV look for which so many buyers are (apparently) clamoring. There’s good news for rear passengers; Audi says folks in the back seats only lose between one-half and three-quarters of an inch of head room compared to the regular variant.
Next are the front, rear, and sides, which have all been modified to set the Q5 Sportback apart from its conventionally shaped stablemate. The S-Line trim is standard on the Sportback, and it sports a new front-end look featuring an egg-crate pattern within the octagonal Singleframe grille.
Finally, the rear has been altered to emphasize the Q5 Sportback’s width, and the contrast coloring has been positioned higher to give the appearance that the car is rising from front to back. Its exhaust tips are hidden—although Audi said in the press conference that the SQ5 Sportback will have visible exhaust tips because that’s what SQ5 buyers want. The rear lighting is also a notable change, with a new OLED system that has three configurable looks. For safety, the whole housing illuminates under hard braking.
2021 Audi Q5 Sportback: What’s Stayed the Same
Everything else from the Q5 carries over however, including chassis settings and powertrains. This means that the Q5 Sportback gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The SQ5 Sportback receives a hotter turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine making 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. While a mild hybrid system is standard, the plug-in hybrid system will be reserved for the regular Q5 and won’t make its way into the Q5 Sportback. Internationally, there’s a diesel variant that won’t be making it to our shores.
Power will be sent first to the front wheels and then to the rear wheels if necessary, via Audi’s Quattro Ultra AWD disengagement technology. That means there’s less drivetrain resistance more of the time. Engaging the rear axle, when power needs to be sent to all four corners, happens in a maximum of 250 milliseconds.
On the inside, it’s more of the same as the regular Q5, but Audi highlights that the Q5 Sportback has its latest MIB 3 infotainment system. Although this crossover doesn’t get the fancy new dual screens found in the Q7 and SQ7 luxury SUVs, the Q5 Sportback at least gets the app-oriented interface that aligns it with the rest of Audi’s products. The presenters demonstrated how the home screen’s layout can be configured with three primary applications that can be viewed simultaneously, while also allowing users to choose a single app to fill the whole screen.
The Q5 Sportback will have Audi’s full array of safety technologies. Sport suspension is standard, but it also gets optional air suspension with an off-road mode that will allow the car to rise more than two inches above its normal ride height.
When Can I Get One?
The world’s supply of Q5 Sportbacks will be built in San José Chiapa, Mexico. A Chinese-market exclusive long-wheelbase Q5 Sportback will be manufactured in Tianjin, China. No U.S. pricing is available just yet but the 2021 Audi Q5 Sportback and SQ5 Sportback will go on sale by the middle of next year.