Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
As we mentioned, the Q5 Sportback has the same engine line-up as the standard Audi Q5, offering petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrids. We’ve been behind the wheel of the 261bhp 45 TFSI petrol so far and it's very quick if you rev it (0-62mph takes 6.1sec) and has enough mid-range punch for all but the hilliest roads.
That said, we'd suggest that the 201bhp 40 TDI could be an even better fit based on our experience of that engine in the regular Q5. It’s capable of 0-62mph in 7.6sec but it's so much gruntier from low revs. That's ideal if you do any towing or just want something that feels effortlessly quick.
Sport trim comes with Dynamic suspension and the smallest 18in wheels, which is the best combination for a supple ride. S line and Edition 1 trim add a stiffer, Sport suspension set-up and also 19in and 20in wheels respectively. Bigger wheels and stiffer springs cause some fidget at motorways speeds and abruptness over potholes but it's not uncomfortable.
Vorsprung and Competition Vorsprung trims adds air suspension, which helps to mask the degrading effect that their massive 21in alloy wheels would have on ride quality. For the most part, the ride is exemplary, shielding you from potholes and speed bumps at town speeds, while avoiding any car sickness-inducing float at higher motorway speeds.
Whichever suspension choice you make, you won’t be carving up corners as adroitly as you might in the BMW X4 or the Porsche Macan if that's also on your shopping list. Still, the Q5 Sportback feels more agile than most SUVs of this size, with plenty of grip, tight control and only a small degree of lean in the bends.
A slight criticism is the light steering, which, while perfectly precise, doesn’t inspire the same confidence as the X4's does. It's a lot better than the inconsistently weighted helm in the Mercedes GLC Coupé though.
We've mentioned the Q5 Sportback's quiet engines, and quietness is, in general, a key ingredient. There's very little wind noise at 70mph and road noise is low too, especially when the car if fitted with air suspension, which is more isolating than the standard set-up.