Class: Premium Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 724
Fuel used: 30.4 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 23.8 mpg
|CG Report Card
|Room and Comfort
|Power and Performance
|Fit and Finish
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Driving mix: 45% city, 55% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/28/25 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gasoline
Base price (2021 model year): $47,800 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options (2021 model year): Daytona Gray pearl-effect paint ($595), Premium Plus Package ($3200), Navigation Package ($1500), Sport Package ($1400), Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound ($950)
Price as tested: $56,540
The great: Sophisticated cabin ambiance; stylish design inside and out; good ride/handling balance
The good: Generous list of standard features; classy interior materials; relatively straightforward infotainment interface
The not so good: Pricier and less practical than a regular-line Q5; our observed fuel economy didn’t quite live up to EPA estimates
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Last year, Audi got in on the swoopy-roof SUV game with the introduction of a Sportback version of its compact Q5 crossover. Several premium brands offer “coupe-esque” versions of their regular-line SUVs—in place of the standard upright roofline, these variants get a sleeker look via a rakish, fastback-style rear roof shape, and sometimes some racier front- and rear-fasciae styling to boot. You’ll pay a price for that added style, however, since the lower roofline typically compromises maximum cargo capacity, rearward visibility, and rear-seat headroom. You’ll literally pay a price too—as in a higher transaction price—since manufacturers charge a premium for these models over their standard-line kin. (The Q5 Sportback Premium Plus model costs about $2700 more than the equivalent regular Q5.)
The formula seems to being working just fine, consistently attracting enough buyers to keep the genre viable. In the premium compact SUV class alone, BMW offers an X4 version of its mainstream X3, Mercedes-Benz offers a Coupe version of its GLC-Class, and Infiniti launched a QX55 version of its QX50 as a new-for-2022 model.
The entire Audi Q5 line got a refresh for 2021, which included an exterior-styling update and a larger touchscreen display with updated infotainment software, as well as a slight horsepower boost and a mild-hybrid system for its standard turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. As before, all Q5s come standard with all-wheel drive (which Audi calls “Quattro”). For 2022, the Q5 Sportback largely stands pat, save for a minor shuffling of standard and optional features and the addition of “Black Optic” blackout exterior trim to the Sport Package. And, of course, higher prices too: The late 2021-model-year test vehicle shown here carried a bottom-line sticker price of $56,540, but to replicate this vehicle as a Black Optic Sport Package-equipped 2022 model would set you back to the tune of $60,240.
The Q5’s cabin ambiance is a strong point. The interior has an upscale feel and comfortable seats, and a generously sized panoramic sunroof is standard. The front-door apertures are a bit stingy for extra tall folks—especially for an SUV—though there’s good space for big-and-tall occupants once you’re seated. The rear-seat space isn’t as generous; legroom can be tight behind a tall front-seat occupant, and that sloping roofline limits headroom for tall passengers. The rear seatbacks recline to free up a bit of extra headroom, but not very far—only about an inch or so.
The rear cargo area is nicely finished—it features handy vertical bins with cargo nets built into the sidewalls, along with LED lights that do a nice job of illuminating the cargo area in the dark. The cargo floor is slightly inset, which helps keep cargo items from sliding or rolling out when the liftgate is opened. As expected, the sloping rear roofline cuts into maximum hauling space, but not drastically so—the Sportback’s cargo volume measures out to 24.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats (about one cubic foot less than the regular Q5) and 51.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded (about two cubic feet less than the Q5).
The front seat’s center armrest is height-adjustable (a nice touch), but small-items storage could be better overall. The center console storage bin underneath the armrest isn’t particularly generous; a wireless charging pad is cleverly integrated into a sliding cover, but it covers up the dual cupholders in its forward position. None of the three shallow, oddly shaped center-console bins work for stowing a smartphone either.
We had no major quibbles with the control layout, however. The infotainment system is logically laid out, and it gives slight haptic feedback—and a clearly audible “click” sound—in response to inputs. We appreciated this feature, since we never had to wonder if our finger press “registered” with the system. The climate controls were easy to use as well.
Choosing the Premium Plus trim delivers lots of desirable features, including a 360-degree surround-view monitor, heated steering wheel with hands-on detection, driver’s seat memory, adaptive cruise control with traffic-jam assist and Audi Active Lane Assist, power-folding exterior mirrors with auto-dimming, and Audi’s slick Virtual Cockpit configurable digital gauge cluster.
The 261-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder—dubbed “45 TFSI” in Audi’s nomenclature—sounds appropriately sporty under throttle and supplies respectable power overall, and the alert 7-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. However, the throttle response can feel flaccid from a stop, and the throttle pedal itself feels mushy. There are multiple drive modes—Offroad, Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic, along with a customizable Individual mode—but we didn’t notice a big difference between them in on-road driving. If you want more power, you’ll have to step up to the sportier SQ5 (which gets a 349-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V6) or the Q5 55 plug-in-hybrid (which pairs the turbo 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 17.9-kWh lithium-ion battery, for a total output of 362 hp). Both of those versions are significantly pricier, however, and the PHEV powertrain isn’t available with the Sportback body style.
In keeping with Audi’s sport-luxury brand image, the Q5’s ride is active over sharp bumps, but our test vehicle rode quite well considering its sport suspension and hefty 21-inch wheels on low-profile tires (all part of the optional Sport Package). Its ride height is oddly high, however, for an SUV more focused on on-road sportiness than off-roading. The aluminum suspension components visible through the large gap between the tires and the fenders look a little unrefined.
In all, though, the Q5 Sportback delivers on what it sets out to deliver: It effectively juices up the looks of the base Q5 without introducing major compromises.
2022 Audi Q5 Sportback Gallery
Click below for enlarged images
2022 Audi Q5 Sportback
2022 Audi Q5 Sportback