Audi Q5 Sportback 45

TFSI quattro

Audi Q5, front
Audi Q5, front
Audi Q5, side
Audi Q5, rear
Audi Q5, interior
Audi Q5, boot

THEY are everywhere. SUVs and crossovers are flooding the planet, it would seem.

So now, the fight is on to design a high-rider that has all the practical qualities of its ubiquitous brethren, but looks that little bit racy.

Audi's answer is the Q5 Sportback, the final part of its name being borrowed from other successful models in the line-up and is shorthand for a sportier stance and a more sloping rear.

Based on the established five door Q5, itself a competitor to the Merc GLC, BMW X4 and Jaguar F-Pace, expect to pay a premium of more than £2,000 over the boxier-shaped original.

Driven here in petrol 45 TFSI quattro form. It is likely to become one of the most popular variants, as diesel continues to decline in the popularity stakes.

It's a refined and a pleasant 2.0-litre engine, offering ample accessible power which endows it with a gutsy, if not exhilarating performance. With 261bhp to call on, it hits 62mph in around six seconds - fast enough for most and the equal of many rivals.

Four wheel dive ensures a firm presence on the road and also allows for a few adventures off it when the occasion demands.

Despite the new rakish lines and scalloped hind-quarters, there's little penalty to be paid in terms of luggage space or even rear headroom. Cargo capacity is actually 40litres down, but with more 500litres of available space this is unlikely to trouble many potential buyers.

The cabin comes as little surprise. High grade plastics, great build quality and a profusion of grey and black, sombre hews. Rivals are nibbling away at Audi's enviable position at the head of the styling pack.

Yes, it's still a class act with precision switchgear and clear-to-read instruments, but it no longer blows you away as Audi interiors did a decade ago.

It has to be said, though, it remains a class act with an excellent infotainment system, and 12.3inch virtual cockpit complete with Google Earth mapping. It's easy to operate, too, via steering wheel mounted scrolling wheels.

Don't expect a massive driver feedback from the Q5. Audi is a skilled master at producing fine handling cars that are undemanding of their drivers. For many buyers this is a definite positive but others thrive in the subtlety of communication from the helm. You just have to understand which type of driver you are.

The seven -speed S Tronic automatic gearbox, complete with steering wheel paddles, helps squeeze out every inch of power in a refined and civilised fashion. It's surprising how unflustered and quiet the mild hybrid four-cylinder engine actually is.

There is a range of on-road driving settings that sharpen throttle response, stiffen the ride and marginally tighten the steering rack. By and large, we found ‘comfort' to be the best all round option.

Sadly, even the petrol version - even with hybrid help - can't match the diesel's economy. We were pleased, nevertheless, with an average of 32mpg, despite some enthusiastic, rapid journeys.

FAST FACTS

Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro

Price: £47,930

Mechanical: 2.0litre, 4 cyl, 261bhp, petrol engine driving 4 wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 149mph

0-62mph: 6.1sec

Combined MPG: 32.8

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 197g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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