Audi has already shown off the Q5 Sportback, the all-but-inevitable addition to the German car maker's fastback SUV lineup. It sits in the range between the smaller Q3 Sportback, and the (slightly) larger all-electric e-Tron Quattro Sportback and now we know a little more about what versions we'll be able to buy when sales start early next year.
Crossover utility vehicle
Actually, according to Audi, the Q5 Sportback is not an SUV at all, but a 'CUV' - a 'Crossover Utility Vehicle' in spite of what you may have been thinking. LED headlights are standard, with Matrix LED units optional, while at the back you get Audi's new OLED brake lights, which are brighter, and which can be adjusted to show different patterns depending on what setting the car is in.
The Q5 Sportback is fractionally longer (thanks to those bumpers) than its regular Q5 stablemate, and can be had in a selection of 12 paint finishes (no, they're not all silver and grey - well, not quite) with optional black finish packs and more. You can choose from S-Line or 'Design Selection' trims.
Audi says that, in spite of the sloped rear end, the Q5 Sportback remains practical, thanks to a 2.8-metre wheelbase. Boot volume under the luggage cover remains an impressive 510 litres, and when the rear seats are folded flat, that expands to a still-decent 1,480 litres. There's also an optional 'Rear Bench Seat Plus' which slides forward for more boot space (or back for more legroom) and which includes reclining backrests for rear-seat passengers. The maximum towing weight, depending on which engine you choose, is 2.4 tonnes.
Optional air suspension
Audi will offer three suspension setups for the Q5 Sportback - a sports suspension, an optional suspension with adaptive dampers, and a full air suspension setup. That air suspension can increase the Q5 Sportback's ride height by 45mm for tackling unpaved roads (or that kerb outside school...) and also lowers the body by 15mm at motorway speeds for improves aerodynamic performance. When stopped, the air springs can drop the car by 55mm to make loading and unloading a little easier. There's also an optional 'Dynamic Steering' setup which alters both the power assistance and the ratio of the steering depending on the car's speed. You'll be able to choose alloy wheel options from 18-inch to 21-inch diameter.
At launch, there will be a choice of two diesel engines and one petrol. The mainstream 204hp diesel four-cylinder is actually a mild-hybrid, with a 12-volt system that supplies extra power to the engine, and which allows for more efficient running, especially around town. It has 400Nm of torque and hits 100km/h in 7.6 seconds.
Then there's a 3.0-litre V6 '50 quattro' TDi with 286hp, 620Nm of torque, and a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds. That one gets a full 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The single petrol option is a 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder with 265hp and 370Nm of torque, and a 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds. It, too, is a 12-volt mild hybrid. All petrol engine and the four-cylinder diesel use the same seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the V6 TDI gets an eight-speed Tiptronic auto. Further variants, including a more basic diesel model and a plug-in hybrid, will be added in due course.
Inside, there's the latest MIB3 infotainment system, plus the option of the full 12.3-inch 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instrument panel. The Q5 Sportback also features a 'Hey, Audi' digital voice assistant, as well as a suite of online connectivity options.
Hot SQ5 model
Wait, did we say two diesel options? Because actually there's three - although, the SQ5 Sportback's 3.0-litre V6, with its twin turbos (one of which is an electric supercharger driven by the engine's 48-volt mild-hybrid system) - is virtually a separate model by itself. It develops 341hp and 700Nm of torque and can sprint to 100km/h in just 5.1 seconds. The mild-hybrid system allows for engine-off coasting at higher speeds, as well as adding extra torque when needed.
For those worried about driving a diesel, Audi claims that the SQ5's new win dosing technology with two SCR catalytic converters will quell all but the tiniest NOX emissions.
The suspension is by five-link setup at both ends, with standard 20-inch wheels, or optional 21s. The massive 375mm brake discs get six-pot calipers, and the sports suspension sits the SQ5 30mm lower to the road than the standard Q5 Sportback. You can also have the optional air suspension, which gets S-specific tuning. Needless to say, there's a muscular looking bodykit and extra aero package on the outside, as well as special trim and cabin fixtures inside.
When can you have one? Sales start in the first half of next year, and we'll update with Irish prices and specs when we know them.