2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback Vorsprung TDI quattro Automatic
Not content with offering SUVs of all sizes, Audi is now launching different silhouettes, BMW and Mercedes-Benz-style, with a goal of offering both regular SUV and more dynamic looking Coupé variants, too. So, following the launch of Q3 Sportback models in 2019, and the Q8 as a sportier edition of the Q7 a year earlier, it’s now the turn of the Q5 to gain a more slippery bodystyle with the launch of a Sportback edition. Here we test the fastest edition of the newly expanded range, in 3.0-litre V6 TDI SQ5 guise.
FIRST UK TEST AUDI Q5 SPORTBACK
The cabin quality of the SQ5 is quite simply beautiful, especially with the red leather of our test car. But with a price tag of almost £77k as tested, you would expect it to be. The reason for this lofty price tag is that this is one of the rather special Vorsprung editions, which includes virtually every extra as standard. There’s very few boxes to be ticked on the options list, and quite justifiably, this car can be described as fully loaded. It feels solid, the materials are beautifully chosen and there’s soft-touch surfaces everywhere you look and feel. We love Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, the digital dials, that turns the instrument cluster into another screen, alongside the floating central touchscreen. The carbon fibre simulating dashboard appliqués are tasteful, and all of the buttons are lined up in a series of rows for ease of use. The seats hug you nicely as your corner, though over longer distances can become a little hard, leaving you with a numb bum.
The driving position is command-like, but also lower than most other full-on SUVs. The Coupé styling of this SQ5 hasn’t reduced versatility by much, with excellent head and legroom in the back and plenty of space up front, even with a panoramic roof fitted. The boot is smaller by 10 litres with the seats in the upright position, reducing to 500 litres, while folding the rear seats down flat results in a space of 1,470 litres – 40 litres less than in its SUV sister car. Oddment space is decent, with good-sized door pockets, a compact cubby underneath the armrest, a pair of cupholders covered by a QI-enabled wireless smartphone charger, a small tray in front and to the side of the gear lever, as well as a lidded compartment where you can stand a smartphone up in. We love the short, stubby gear lever, though the engine start button is a bit of a reach.
The sound from the 3.0-litre V6 engine is glorious, and squeezing the throttle results in thunderous performance away from the lights. There’s 516lb ft of torque, and this gives you considerable wallop when you need to overtake another vehicle. Mild hybrid technology gives you an 11bhp power boost, and harnesses energy when braking for use later on. A choice of driving modes allows you to more specifically tailor the driving experience to your individual preference, though we mostly just kept it in ‘auto’ during our tests. The eight-speed Tiptronic transmission delivers silky changes and is a good companion with the muscular V6 engine. There’s piped sound into the cabin that emphasises the sporting prowess of the SQ5, but that might be a little too intrusive for some. At a motorway gallop there’s some road and tyre noise to be heard, but wind flutter is impressively dialled out. Weighty, positive steering delivers a planted feel to the SQ5, yet it feels fun and agile if you’re in a press-on mood. Taut, tidy handling through the bends is combined with very little lean when cornering.
Excellent grip is afforded by the standardfit quattro four-wheel-drive system and the overall ambience is one of dynamism, emphasised by the firm, but relatively pliant suspension settings.
At its launch, the Q5 Sportback is offered with just two diesel engines, the entry-level 40 TDI quattro with 201bhp and the fire breathing SQ5 TDI quattro with 337bhp and 11bhp mild hybrid boost. For those that are looking to move to plug-in hybrids, there’s a pair of 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e Competition PHEVs, too, with a combined 295 and 362bhp, respectively, but these add around £7k to the price of the basic diesel engine, with the more powerful 55 TFSI e editions another £3k on top. Four trim levels – Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung – make up the bulk of the range, with the SQ5 and SQ5 Vorsprung crowning the line-up.
“…squeezing the throttle results in thunderous performance away from the lights.”
FACT & FIGURES
- On sale Now
- In showrooms Now
- List prices £47,160 to £75,785
- Bodystyles 5-door SUV
- Powerplants 2.0 Diesel automatic (201bhp), 3.0 Diesel automatic (337bhp)
- Trim levels Sport, S line, Edition 1, Vorsprung, SQ5, SQ5 Vorsprung
- Also consider BMW X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
- Version tested 2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback Vorsprung TDI quattro Automatic
- List price £75,795
- Built in San José Chiapa, Mexico
- Codename FY Platform MLB Evo
- Bodystyle 5-door SUV, 5-seats
- Layout Four-wheel-drive
- Powerplant 2,967cc, V6, 24-valve, turbo diesel with mild hybrid technology
- Gearbox 8-speed automatic
- Stop-start Yes
- SCR Yes
- Max power (engine) 337bhp @ 3,800-3,950rpm
- Max power (hybridisation) 11bhp
- Max torque 516lb ft @ 1,750-3,250rpm
- Top speed 155mph
- 0-62mph 5.1secs
- CO2 emissions 218g/km (Euro-6d RDE2)
- Economy (combined) 33.2-34.0mpg
- Fuel tank 70 litres Range 524 miles
- Insurance group 47
- BIK rate (2021/2022 tax year) 37%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,689/2,140mm
- Boot space (min/max) 500/1,470 litres
- Kerbweight/max towing 2,010/2,400kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating (pre-facelift SUV tested)
- Warranty 3 years/60,000 miles
- Wheels (Full-size/spacespaver/run-flats/self-sealing/repair kit) No/£200/no/no/yes
- Verdict The launch of the Q5 Sportback fills another niche in the Audi line-up. But far from being impractical, it’s roomy, and in SQ5 guise, it’s stonkingly fast.
- DrivesToday rating 5/5