Svelte curves and a roomy interior. Gutsy performance coupled with miserly fuel consumption. Loads of technology laid out with the minimalist restraint of a stylish Scandi apartment. Yes, when it comes to the modern SUV it seems we really do want it all.
And, why not? With the high-tech manufacturing processes and intelligent computer-aided design programs available these days, car-makers are no longer architects constrained by the practical, but couturiers of appealing, attractive, and still-useful machines that reflect our individual styles and personalities.
Of course, not everyone wants a coupe-SUV. There are some who find the notion ridiculous, and frankly that’s OK. But it seems an increasing number of people do, prompting a surge in swoopy (sometimes droopy) designs from a growing number of manufacturers seizing the opportunity to squeeze a little more from those cautiously invested development dollars tipped into their mainstream models.
Indeed, the proliferation of coupe-SUVs has shown how one size need not fit all. Large, small, and medium SUVs from all manner of manufacturers have been sliced and sculpted to give us what is essentially a segment within a segment; and it’s European manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen that are leading the charge.
The latest edition to the coupe-SUV clan to hit these shores is the Audi Q5 Sportback. A medium-sized competitor to the likes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, this shapely five-seater aims to emulate the sales success of Audi’s smaller Q3 Sportback – and form a solid chunk of overall Q5 sales.
It’s priced from $77,700 – undercutting its nearest rivals by $5771 and $19,200 respectively in base form – and is available with a choice of engines, all with mild hybrid technology, grippy quattro all-wheel drive, and an equipment list so long it would take us a week to type it out.
Standard inclusions are generous across the Q5 Sportback line-up and feature Audi’s S line enhancements as standard over all three variants. A 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment array with smartphone mirroring, wireless charging, proprietary satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay (wireless), Android Auto, and dual Bluetooth connectivity are also fitted.
Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is standard, as are leather-appointed upholstery, tri-zone climate control, LED headlights, powered tailgate, and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Additionally, the Q5 Sportback range is available with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, matrix LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, heated front seats with Nappa leather upholstery, and 20-inch alloy wheels (21-inches on SQ5).
Standalone and option bundles are also offered, including the Comfort package (40 TDI) and Technik package (40 TDI and 45 TFSI). Audi will also offer the Q5 and SQ5 Sportback with nine exterior finishes and a variety of upholstery choices.
Safety and driver assistance technology includes a 360-degree camera system, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high-beam, an exit warning system, and ‘hands-on’ detection that recognises if the driver has let go of the steering wheel.
Four-cylinder engine offerings include a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel making 150kW/400Nm and capable of hitting 100km/h in a claimed 7.6 seconds (40 TDI); a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol developing 183kW/370Nm Audi says it good for a 0-100km/h time of 6.3 seconds (45 TFSI); and the heavy hitter of the range, the SQ5 Sportback TDI with its brawny 251kW/700Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 and 5.1 second triple-digit dash.
On test, we managed a fuel consumption number of 6.8 litres per 100km for the 40 TDI and 8.1L/100km for the SQ5 TDI.