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Q5 Sportback: Audi’s best-selling North American model gets a refresh for 2021

The Q5 Sportback will be available sometime during the first half of 2021. Audi / Handout
The Q5 Sportback will be available sometime during the first half of 2021. - Audi / Handout

Audi’s best-selling model in North America, the mid-sized Q5 crossover, sees not only a mid-cycle refresh for the 2021 model year but also the addition of a new Sportback variant that will square off against the likes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.

Following the same route taken by Audi’s recent introduction of its E-tron Sportback and Q3 Sportback, the Q5 Sportback – which differs visually from the regular Q5 rear of the B-pillar – is characterized by its coupe-like roof “with dynamic lines that addresses customers who appreciate not just expressive design and technical innovation, but also sporty character and high everyday utility.” Based on sales of the other Sportback models, Audi believes as many as one-third of all Q5 sales will be the Sportback.

Style-wise, the Sportback displays the new design language of the Q5, starting with the thinner and wider “Singleframe” grille, along with taller side air intakes with sporty trapezoidal inserts. In profile, a sweeping shoulder line emphasizes the wheels. The greenhouse extends low over the body and slopes downward back side window. At 4.69 metres in length, the Sportback is seven millimetres longer than the Q5. Height and width are identical, and its drag coefficient is lower, at 0.30.

All Q5s see a 13-horsepower boost to the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with a 12-volt mild-hybrid electric system. - Audi / Handout
All Q5s see a 13-horsepower boost to the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with a 12-volt mild-hybrid electric system. - Audi / Handout

Audi hasn’t released a lot of detail regarding the North American editions of the Sportback. However, from information we know about the 2021 updates to the Q5, much applies to the Sportback.

All Q5s see a 13-horsepower boost to the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, along with a 12-volt mild-hybrid electric system. Total output is now 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The available plug-in hybrid version is also equipped with the 2.0L engine coupled with an electric motor sitting between the engine and transmission, producing a total combined system output of 362 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. In both cases, the four-cylinder is hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive.

Audi also says it will build an SQ5 Sportback – the higher-performance model retaining the regular SQ5’s 3.0L turbocharged V6 that produces 349 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Inside the Q5, the luggage compartment has a volume of 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) With the rear seats folded down and loaded to the roof, this increases to 1,480 litres. - Audi / Handout
Inside the Q5, the luggage compartment has a volume of 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) With the rear seats folded down and loaded to the roof, this increases to 1,480 litres. - Audi / Handout

Although the Sportback will come standard with a conventional steel suspension, there will be an optional setup with controlled dampers, as well as the popular adaptive air suspension, which adjusts the ride height over a range of 60 millimetres. Ground clearance can be increased by as much as 45 mm when driving off-road, and at highway speeds, the body is automatically lowered 15 mm for greater efficiency and improved handling thanks to the lower centre of gravity. Another feature of the air suspension is the ability to lower the rear axle by 55 mm, making it easier to load the cargo area.

The luggage compartment has a volume of 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) With the rear seats folded down and loaded to the roof, this increases to 1,480 litres. There is an optional rear seat bench “plus,” which can be shifted laterally and has adjustable seat back angles. It can slide forward to increase cargo capacity by as much as 60 litres.

Inside, the Sportback uses the same new technology as in the updated Q5, namely Audi’s third-generation MIB3 infotainment system. When fully equipped, the display-based virtual cockpit plus with 12.3-inch display and a head-up display are also on board. The multi-function steering wheel plus enables the safe operation of most functions and displays. The MMI navigation plus infotainment system is paired with a 10.1-inch touch display with a customizable home screen; the natural language voice control can be activated by either pressing a button on the steering wheel or by saying “Hey Audi.”

The Q5 Sportback will be available sometime during the first half of 2021. Pricing has not yet been announced.

The Q5 Sportback is characterized by its coupe-like roof. - Audi / Handout
The Q5 Sportback is characterized by its coupe-like roof. - Audi / Handout

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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