Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023

Written by Phil Hall

heycar ratingStylish SUV loses boot space
  • 2021
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, PHEV

Quick overview


  • Feels just as classy as the standard Audi Q5
  • Strong engine line-up
  • More practical than you might expect


  • Smaller boot than the regular car
  • Infotainment is now touchscreen-only
  • Rivals are more fun to drive

Overall review on the Audi Q5 Sportback

"The Audi Q5 Sportback is a sexier alternative to one of the brand's most popular SUVs. There's very little to dislike – provided you can cope with the slight drop in practicality."

Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023: front

If anything, it's a surprise that Audi's took so long to introduce a Sportback version of the Q5. Launched in 2021 and some four years after the latest Q5 was announced, the Q5 Sportback arrived a bit late to the premium coupe SUV party, with the likes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe already establishing themselves. Our Audi Q5 Sportback review will find out if it's too little, too late.

Why consider an Audi Q5 Sportback over a standard Q5? It all comes down to looks versus practicality (and price). While the Q5 has a large 550-litre boot, the Q5 Sportback sacrifices this for a more rakish and stylish design (some would say) that sees the boot space shrink by 40 litres. Oh, and you've got to pay around a £3000 premium for one over the standard car. 

Otherwise, the Q5 Sportback is pretty much identical to the Q5. There's a decent range of engines available, including plug-in hybrid option for company car drivers (or those who really want to be able to pop to the shops under electric power). 

In typical Audi form, the Q5 Sportback's cabin is a slick, high quality environment. There's an updated infotainment system which looks pretty sharp, but the old rotary controller has disappeared. It's no longer available in the standard Q5 either, which is a shame as we found it less distracting than using the touchscreen on the move.

Overall, the Audi Q5 Sportback doesn't really surprise in any particular way. It's just like a standard Q5, albeit marginally less practical and (arguably) a bit better looking. But that means it’s got a superb interior, powerful engines and will no doubt sell like hot cakes.

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The Audi Q5 Sportback is your standard Q5 in a slightly sharper tailored suit. For those who regularly have a boot full of stuff, then you're better off going for the more affordable standard car and its greater luggage space. 

However, if you're prepared to sacrifice a bit of practicality though for the sake of a more appealing profile, you'll be rewarded with a very capable premium family SUV. The quality of the cabin is excellent, with plenty of space for a family of four (or five at a push), while it's a car that'll be just as happy eating up those motorway miles as it would be bimbling round town. 

Unless you're going to be regularly charging the plug-in hybrid version of the Q5 Sportback, save some money (as there's around an £8000 premium for the PHEV) or go up a trim level or two and take a look at either the petrol or diesel versions. 

The petrol engine (badged the 45 TFSI) has plenty of poke and will accelerate to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. Work it hard, though, and you'll soon see the fuel gauge drop, so for a lot of buyers the 40 TDI diesel makes the most sense. It delivers plenty of grunt and decent refinement, but also noticeably better fuel economy. 

There's no manual gearbox, with all variants of the Q5 Sportback coming with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There's a growing number of coupe SUVs to suit a range of budgets, but the Audi Q5 Sportback takes on premium rivals like the BMW X4 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

While not strictly a coupe SUV, you might be tempted by something like a Porsche Macan, and you should also consider the likes of the Range Rover Velar or Jaguar F-Pace.

What about something electric? There's not an electric version of the Q5 Sportback, but there is the slightly smaller Q4 Sportback e-tron all-electric coupe SUV. 

Comfort and design: Audi Q5 Sportback interior

"The Audi Q5 Sportback's interior is just as plush as the standard car. You won't find a budget finish or loose bit of trim, no matter how hard you search."

Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023: cabin

Unlike the standard car, all AyduQ5 Sportback trim levels come with sports seats that provide a good level of padding and supportive side bolsters. Heated seats are standard, though weirdly you can't spec a heated steering wheel currently - that seems a big omission in a premium SUV in 2023.

Both Edition 1 and Vorsprung trim levels offer electric seat adjustment (something that's standard on many rivals), but whether you're adjusting the seat manually or electrically, you'll be able to tailor the driving position to really suit your posture. There's also electric lumbar support that's standard on all trim levels to assist with comfort on those longer drives.   

There’s plenty of headroom and the Q5 Sportback doesn’t feel particularly claustrophobic (sometimes a concern in coupe-SUVs, like this).

While we miss a rotary controller to navigate the Q5 Sportback's infotainment system, the interior is nicely laid out and easy to navigate. It's also refreshing to see dedicated controls from the Q5 Sportback's 3-zone climate control - a little thing maybe, but we don't think we've ever heard anyone say that it's easier to adjust the temperature via a touchscreen. Especially when you're on the move. 

Truly sumptuous. You just won’t find a flimsy finish or a badly designed feature anywhere. All the buttons are satisfying to touch, and it’s clear where your money goes compared to more affordable alternatives. And compared to rivals like the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe, we reckon the Q5 Sportback can take the bragging rights for interior quality. It really does set the benchmark in this class. 

As with the latest Q5, the Audi Q5 Sportback gets a 10.1-inch infotainment system. It does without the old rotary controller, meaning it’s operated entirely via touchscreen. This seems like a backwards step in our view, as it can be pretty distracting to operate when driving, requiring you to glance away from the road ahead as you try and navigate the interface with jabs of your finger.

On the plus side, the display is positioned nice and high on the dashboard, while there's also what's termed Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus, a digital instrument display. It looks really smart and can mirror the sat nav and display turn-by-turn instructions as well. 

As you'd expect, there's DAB radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard, though there's currently not the option to spec the Audi Q5 Sportback with wireless charging due to the semiconductor shortage, so you'll have to rely on USB lead to keep your smartphone charger. 

The Audi Q5 Sportback's stereo is based around an 8-speaker system, but audiophiles are able to spec a Bang & Olufsen Sound System as part of the £1395 Comfort & Sound Pack (and standard on the top-end Vorsprung trim). 

If you're looking at a coupe version of the Q5, boot space is probably not your prime concern. That said, boot capacity is still good, with the Audi Q5 Sportback able to accommodate 510 litres of luggage. A bit down on the 550 litres available in the standard car, but it compares well with rivals and offers 10 litres more than the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. The powered tailgate (standard across the range) makes access nice and easy as well.

It's worth noting though that the plug-in hybrid version of the Q5 Sportback takes a bit of a hit when it comes to boot space, dropping down to 455 litres due the extra space needed for the batteries under the boot floor. 

Boot space is the only real compromise Q5 Sportback buyers have to make over the standard Q5, though, with everything in front of the boot a match for more established car. The Audi Q5 Sportback even shares the same dimensions as the Q5 at 4689mm long and 1893mm wide. 

The rear seats can be split three ways (40/20/40) and there should be a good amount of room in the back for a couple of adults if need. Choose the Edition 1 or Vorsprung trim levels and the seats can individually slide and recline - perfect for prioritising passenger comfort or boot space depending on need. It can also be specified as an extra on the Sport and S Line trims. 

Up front and the driver and passenger in the Audi Q5 Sportback won't be short on space either. There's plenty of head, leg and shoulder room which should mean you'll be nice and comfy on a long drive. There's also a good amount of storage space dotted around as well. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Audi Q5 Sportback like to drive?

"Don’t be fooled by the Sportback badging, the Audi Q5 coupe isn’t particularly fun to drive. You’d be better looking at a BMW X4 or Jaguar F-Pace if that’s what you’re after, but the Q5 Sportback is a refined and comfortable choice."

Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023: driving

Both the PHEV and petrol engines are surprisingly sprightly, with both doing a very decent job of getting a shift on in a bulky SUV. While it's not the most fun to drive SUV out there (is there such a thing?), the Audi Q5 Sportback feels nice and assured on the road, with a good level of grip. 

Unlike a lot of SUVs, the Audi Q5 Sportback backs up its sports utility vehicle credentials with the company's Quattro four-wheel drive system fitted on all trim levels. Not active all the time, this on-demand system on the Q5 Sportback kicks in when it senses that extra traction is needed.

You also sit high up in the Audi Q5 Sportback, giving you a sense of superior safety and a good view of the road ahead. The steering is light around town, while the standard-fit parking sensors and reversing camera help with tight parking spaces. 

Adaptive air suspension is standard on high-spec Vorsprung models, but our plug-in Edition 1 test car was fitted with Sport suspension and combined with the optional 20-inch alloy wheels, there’s no denying that it rides the road a little firmer than we’d like – yet another compromise you’ll have to be prepared to make for a car that looks good, unfortunately. It's probably not helped by the extra weight of the batteries, but when we drove a 45 TFSI petrol engine car at launch with the same suspension and wheel size we experienced a similar feel. 

Things are kept relatively simple with one petrol, one diesel and one plug-in hybrid to choose between. 

The 45 TFSI four cylinder petrol engine is a 2.0-litre unit with 265PS that'll push the Q5 Sportback to 62mph in a not too shabby 6.1 seconds. Fuel economy is quoted at 36mpg, but push the engine hard and expect that to fall below 30mpg pretty rapidly. 

It might be a dirty word, but the diesel might be the more versatile option. Badged the 40 TDI, this four cylinder unit pushes out 204PS and has a combined fuel economy of up to 44.8mpg, while only being a little bit slower at getting to 62mph, taking 7.6 seconds. If you do a lot of motorway driving, this is definitely the one to go for. 

That just leaves the plug-in hybrid (or PHEV for short). Initially there were two variants offered at launch - a 50 TFSI e and a 55 TFSI e. The more powerful 55 TFSI e has been dropped from the range, leaving the 299PS 50 TFSI e. It combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver an electric-only range of 38 miles and combined fuel economy of 166.2mpg. Though to see anywhere near that kind of figure with daily driving you'll need to keep the battery topped up as often as possible. Despite the extra power from the electric motor, the 50 TFSI e is no quicker from 0-62mph than the petrol car. 

Whichever engine you end up choosing, all cars come with Audi's four-wheel drive Quattro system and are paired with a 7-speed S tronic gearbox. This dual-clutch automatic transmission is responsive enough, but you might want to take control via the paddles if you’re planning an overtake.

If you want the most compliant ride quality, then you'll want to opt for the Q5 Sportback in entry-level trim. A combination of Dynamic suspension and the relatively small 18-inch alloy wheels with a decent tyre sidewall provide the most compliant ride. Moving up to the S Line and beyond with larger alloys and Sport suspension delivers a firmer ride. Vorsprung cars come with adaptive air suspension to deliver a really smooth ride, even if you're tackling some pretty unpleasant road surfaces. 

With side and rear windows benefiting from heat and noise-insulating glass, the Audi Q5 Sportback is a quiet and relaxing drive overall. You're nicely shielded from the outside world and at higher speeds, there's minimal road rumble. As we've found with the standard car, all engines are smooth and refined. As you'd expect with the plug-in hybrid Q5 Sportback TFSI e provides an almost whisper-quiet power delivery under electric power, while the transition to petrol power is almost unnoticeable. 

The Audi Q5 Sportback hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but the standard car has and was awarded 5 stars for safety back in 2017 when it was tested. Drilling down the data and the Q5 achieved 93% for adult protection and 86% for safeguarding children, while pedestrian safety was at 73%. Where the Q5 (and the Q5 Sportback) comes up short is the amount of standard safety assistance provided, scoring a pretty low 58%. 

It's no surprise really to find it falls a bit short in the last category as it comes equipped with a limited suite of safety tech as standard. There's Electronic Stabilisation Control (or ESC for short), multi-collision brake assist and what Audi calls Pre sense city, but that's about it. And if you're wondering what Pre sense city is, it's a safety system the uses a camera positioned in the rear-view mirror that detects vehicles and pedestrians in front. If it thinks you're going to have a potential oncoming accident, the system warns the driver and works at speeds of up to 52mph. In some instances the system will even apply the brakes to avoid a collision. 

For additional safety options, you'll need to top up the options list. This includes the £1250 Tour Pack that includes adaptive cruise control, pre-sense front, collision avoidance assistant, turn assist and active lane assist. There's also the City Assist Pack at £500, which includes Audi side assist, exit warning, cross-traffic assist rear, Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense rear. 

Whether you opt for the additional packs or not, the Q5 Sportback is going to be a safe place for you and your family, with all trims getting six airbags, front and rear parking sensors (with acoustic warning) and a reversing camera.

MPG and fuel costs: What does an Audi Q5 Sportback cost to run?

"If you're seeking low running costs, look for one of the plug-in hybrid models. The Audi Q5 Sportback 50 TFSI e has an electric range of up to 37 miles before the petrol engine kicks in."

Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023: rear

Audi also boasts a combined fuel economy of 166.2mpg (according to WLTP figures), but you achieve that impressive number you'll have to keep the Q5 Sportback PHEV almost constantly charged up. Drain the battery and the petrol engine will be working on its own and harder than a car without a load of heavy batteries to lug around. 

For those doing regular motorway and long distance drives without the option to charge, then the 40 TDI diesel officially returns up to 44.8mpg. If you want a petrol, expect to pay more visits to the pump, with the 45 TFSI officially capable of 33.6mpg.

First off, the Q5 Sportback comes with a 3-year warranty (with a mileage limit of 60,000 miles). For those buying a PHEV variant of the Q5 Sportback, Audi provides a separate 8-year / 100,000 mile warranty for the battery. 

As a brand, Audi performs pretty well for reliability, with the brand placing 16th in the latest Satisfaction Index ratings, while there are no know common issues, with the Audi Q5 Sportback so far proving to be a reliable SUV. 

Not the cheapest Audis to insure, the Audi Q5 Sportback will also cost more to insure than the standard car. A Q5 40 TDI Sport is in Group 31, while the Sportback version with the same engine and trim is a few groups higher at Group 35. 

The base petrol engine pushes this up to insurance group 38, while the plug-in hybrid is even pricier, falling into insurance group 41. 

Trim levels also have an impact, with the top of the range Vorsprung trim pushing things up to Group 40, compared to 35 for the Sport version with the same trim. 

With even the entry-level Q5 Sportback in Sport trim costing over £40,000, you'll be hit with the 'premium car' tax. This means you'll have to pay an additional £355 for the next five years (from the second time the vehicle is taxed). That's on top of the regular road tax (VED) you'll be paying, so you can expect to pay £520 (£165+£355) for the next five years. 

If you opt for the plug-in hybrid variant of the Q5 Sportback, you can save a bit of money here as it qualifies for a £10 alternative fuels discount on the standard rate of tax.

How much should you be paying for an used Audi Q5 Sportback?

"While the standard car was launched back in 2017, the Q5 Sportback was only launched in 2021, so you'll find less to choose from."

Audi Q5 Sportback Review 2023: side

You'll find that a standard Q5 can be picked up for under £20,000 for a last generation car, used prices for a Audi Q5 Sportback start at around £37,000. This will get you a 2021 car in Sport trim with around 10,000 miles on the clock. 

If you're set on an SQ5 Sportback, then you can be paying upwards for £65,000 for an almost-new car with around 5000 miles covered. 

Audi currently offers four trim levels with the Q5 Sportback - Sport, S Line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung. Sport is the base spec and you a pretty decent amount of standard equipment. Something you'd expect with a premium SUV. 

This sees the Audi Q5 Sportback Sport trim come with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED head lights, ambient lighting, 3-zone climate control, part leather upholstery, front heated sports seats, parking sensors and sat-nav all as standard. On top of this there's a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, digital instrument display (which Audi calls Audi virtual cockpit Plus), Bluetooth, DAB, cruise control, reversing camera and a powered tailgate.

The Audi Q5 Sportback S Line builds on this with 19-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights, rear privacy glass, matt brushed aluminium inlays and microfibre/leather combination upholstery all as standard. There's also a few exterior tweaks, with a chrome finish round the front (fake) air intakes and a snazzier looking grille. Is it worth the extra over the Sport? Possibly, if only for the excellent Matrix LED headlights. 

Move up to the Audi Q5 Sportback Edition 1 and you get red brake calipers, 20-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable front seats, rear bench seat plus (that can be slide forward or back depending on boot space needs) and fine Nappa leather seats. There's also a black styling package, as well as black door mirrors and roof rails. 

Finally, there's the Audi Q5 Sportback Vorsprung. This benefits from a Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System (compared to the 8 speaker system on other trim levels), a 360-degree camera, head-up display,   adaptive cruise control, adaptive air suspension, 21-inch alloy-wheels, panoramic glass sunroof and heated front and rear seats. There's also the Tour pack and Parking assist pack as standard. 

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Prices start from £47,875 for an Audi Q5 Sportback in entry-level Sport trim with the 40 TDI diesel engine. The range tops out with the SQ5 TDI in Vorsprung trim, which retails at around £75,000.
You can buy a plug-in hybrid version of the Q5 Sportback, but if you're looking for an Audi EV SUV then take a look at the Q4 Sportback e-tron or Q8 e-tron (formally known as simply the Audi e-tron).
The best engine depends on your personal requirements. The diesel 40 TDI suits the Q5 well and will be very economical but, if you mainly cover short journeys, look at one of the petrol models or the plug-in hybrid TFSI e.

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