Those who still insist that a coupe, by definition, must have two doors might want to look away. Audi is introducing yet another one of those slopey-roofed crossovers that, for some reason, likes to call itself a coupe. Say hello to the 2021 Audi Q5 Sportback, Audi's answer to the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe and BMW X4. Say what you will about the hunchback styling and compromised visibility but judging by how many of these things there are now, "coupe" crossovers are here to stay.
Naturally, the biggest and most noticeable difference between the Q5 Sportback and the regular Q5 is, well, the Sportback. You know the drill. A beltline that rises as it gets closer to the rear and a D-pillar area mimicking that of a sports car. Overall length has grown 0.3 inches while height and width go unchanged. As for tweaks that might be felt behind the wheel, the Sportback gets standard sport suspension that's said to be stiffer and sportier than the base Q5's steel springs and that curvier roofline apparently gives this luxury crossover a lower coefficient of drag, coming in at 0.30.
Also coming to the more exotic-looking Q5 is a new grille design for the S-Line trim seen here that features metallic elements in every pocket like a properly-buttered waffle. The lack of standard roof rails (they can be added back as an option) lends to the Q5 Sportback's more athletic pretenses, however slightly. The refreshed, regular-back SQ5 Prestige's fancy, digital, way-cooler-in-Europe OLED taillights can also be found on the SQ5 Sportback Prestige albeit with a different light signature.
Another styling quirk to take note of is the Q5 Sportback's lack of visible exhaust tips, something Audi says was a conscious design choice for the S-Line rear diffuser. Knowing Audi though, it's not like the would-be exhaust tips here would've been real anyway so we're not sure this is all that big of a loss. For what it's worth, the more powerful SQ5 Sportback will gain them back.
The Sportback version of the Q5 will come with the same engine as its non-Sportback sibling, namely a 261-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo helped out by a mild hybrid system. That aforementioned SQ5 Sportback is expected to rock the same mill as the regular SQ5, a 349-hp, 3.0-liter V6. While the regular Q5 will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, Audi has confirmed that the Q5 Sportback won't be available in plug-in form in the U.S.
Audi is also touting an optional air suspension system available on the SQ5 Sportback that can be raised for off-road purposes or lowered for sportier driving, boasting 2.4 inches of total movement range. This system can also lower the rear axle by an additional 2.2 inches when parked to make loading heavy cargo a little less backbreaking.
Official pricing and availability timelines have yet to be announced. We do know, however, that with 52.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, the Q5 Sportback should have a slightly better chance of accommodating a child's bike than the surprisingly tight GLC Coupe.
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