Variation on a Theme: Audi Q5 Sportback

variation on a theme audi q5 sportback

Like it or not, and it seems most of our readers don’t, manufacturers are pressing ahead with the coupification of luxury-grade small crossovers. The BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe generally offer a more sport and less utility, thanks in no small part to a roofline that begins to swoop dramatically to the pavement just aft of the driver’s noggin.

Audi wants in, of course. The existence of a Q5 Sportback was confirmed earlier this year. Now they’re ready to show a production version, complete with its so-called Singleframe grille aggressively tapered rear end.

It’ll not escape your notice that this car’s roofline begins its downward slope so early that the third side window tapers sharply to the rear. Specifics weren’t readily available but this styling decision must surely impact the Q5 Sportback’s cargo capacity compared to a normal Q5. Ah, the high price of fashion.

On this side of the pond, the Audi Q5 Sportback will receive the brand’s 2.0L TFSI engine and a 12v mild-hybrid electric vehicle system, a team that plays well together to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Quattro all-wheel drive is part of the deal.

As they have with other crossovers and SUVs in their lineup, Audi will add the ‘S’ prefix to this machine, creating the SQ5 Sportback. The SQFünf utilizes a 3.0L V6 engine good for 349 ponies and 369 lb-ft of German twist. The SQ5 will also come standard equipped with adaptive dampers and offers an available air suspension permitting the adjustment of ride height and suspension firmness.

Inside, look for the same well-hewn and high-quality cabin that is a hallmark of just about every new Audi currently on sale in America. The brand’s display-based virtual cockpit and 12.3-inch display are available, as is a heads-up display and all manner of infotainment options through the 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen system.

These types of vehicles are generally selected over their upright cousins for styling reasons, as the sibling rivalry of X3 and X4 in the BMW showroom demonstrate to great effect. In America, X3 generally outsells X4 by a factor of roughly 4:1. Still, there’s an excellent chance more than a few of the nearly 9,000 X4s sold in 2019 were to customers new to the brand. Audi surely hopes to turn a similar trick with their new Q5 Sportback.

The Audi Q5 Sportback will not be built in Germany. It rolls off the assembly line at the company’s San José Chiapa plant in Mexico and will launch in the U.S. in the first half of 2021.

[Images: Audi]

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  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?
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