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Sportback variant to accelerate already-strong Q5 sales

Audi joins popular medium coupe-SUV segment with stylish X4 and GLC Coupe fighter

5 Nov 2021

AUDI Australia says newly launched Sportback variants of its stylish Q5 will further increase sales of its already popular mid-sized SUV and possibly topple the BMW X3 from the segment’s number-one spot.


The Q5, which has found more than 40,000 Australian buyers since its initial release in 2009, was updated earlier this year and the fourth-generation range joined in August by a trio of coupe-SUV models in Audi’s swoopy Sportback body style that has now been officially released to local media.


Competing directly with the BMW X4 (from $83,471 before on-road costs) and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (from $96,900 + ORC) in the thriving medium SUV over $60,000 segment, the Q5 Sportback range is priced from $77,700 (plus on-roads) and comprises mild hybrid four-cylinder petrol and diesel variants plus a performance V6 turbo-diesel, expanding the Q5 line-up to a total of 11 choices.


Speaking to GoAuto via a live video stream, Audi Australia product planning manager Peter Strudwicke said the Q5 Sportback has the potential to join the Q3 Sportback in forming a strong portion of overall model sales. 


For example, Sportback variants of the Q3 account for half of all model sales locally, which Mr Strudwicke attributed to the model’s combination of form and function as a drawcard that style-conscious Audi customers appreciate, and one that is certain to apply to the larger Q5 range.


“We’re hoping for the Q5 and SQ5 Sportback to form around 25 per cent of the overall sales mix for Q5. Our competitors’ (coupe-SUV) models form around 20 per cent of their respective ranges, so we’re aiming to exceed that. Overall, we see an increase in sales for the Q5 range,” said Mr Strudwicke.


“Our customers tell us that the combination of design and practicality is what sets Sportback variants apart. In the Q3 range, the blend of design and the versatility has seen approximately the same number of Sportback variants sold as regular variants, and we think that balance will be reflected in the all-new Q5 and Q5 Sportback range as well.


In keeping with tradition, the performance SQ5 Sportback TDI ($110,900 + ORC) variant is dominating early sales.


Mr Strudwicke said the original SQ5 – launched locally in 2014 – went on to form 30 per cent of Q5 range sales in Australia during its time in the market and that the latest SQ5 Sportback shows signs of emulate that trend, the model already accounting for 35 per cent of orders placed by eager customers.


It is expected the balance of Q5 Sportback sales will favour petrol-powered models with Audi predicting a sales split of 50 per cent in favour of the 45 TFSI variant and 15 per cent for the 40 TDI respectively.


“The Q5 has been our most successful SUV over the time that it has been on sale, with over 40,000 examples sold in Australia it quickly became the biggest seller in its segment,” said Mr Strudwicke.


“It’s only in the past couple of years that the Q3 has really started challenging the Q5, and in part that’s because it has that additional body style of the Sportback variant.”


Locally, Audi’s SUV models account for 80 per cent of the German brand’s sales, the Q5 ranking as the second-biggest seller (2849 units year-to-date) behind the Q3 (4358 sales).


Regular Q5 SUV variants (including SQ5 models) rank second on the overall category sales ladder, with 2849 examples sold to September 30 this year.


BMW leads the medium SUV over $60,000 segment with its X3 (3138 units), with third place falling to the Volvo XC60 (2827 sold).


Audi says it expects to further grow its local market share next year when several key new models arrive. The new A3 and S3 range is due in showrooms early in 2022 alongside the e-tron S performance EV in both SUV+ Sportback formats, with the RS3 hot hatch and sedan here before mid-year.


They will be joined in the latter half of 2022 by the new SQ7 and SQ8 TFSI performance large SUVs, as well as the e-tron GT and RS e-tron electric sportscar range.


Until then, it is the inaugural Q5 and SQ5 Sportback range that is expected to form the bulk of Audi’s local sales. 


Pricing and specification highlights of the model show a well-specified and efficient line-up differentiated from equivalent Q5 wagon variants by not only an elegant body shape but also added equipment. 


Standard inclusions are generous across the Q5 Sportback line-up and include Audi’s S line enhancements as standard over all three variants. A 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment array with smartphone mirroring, wireless charging, proprietary satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay (wireless), Andriod Auto, and dual Bluetooth connectivity are also fitted.


Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is featured as standard, as are leather-appointed upholstery, tri-zone climate control, LED headlights, powered tailgate, and 20-inch alloy wheels.


Additionally, the Q5 Sportback range is available with adaptive cruise control featuring stop-and-go functionality, matrix LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, heated front seats with Nappa leather upholstery, and 20-inch alloy wheels (21-inch on SQ5).


Standalone and option bundles are also available, including the Comfort package (40 TDI) and Technik package (40 TDI and 45 TFSI). Audi will also offer the Q5 and SQ5 Sportback with nine exterior finishes and a variety of upholstery choices.


Safety and driver assistance technology includes a 360-degree camera system, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high-beam, exit warning system and ‘hands-on’ detection that recognises if the driver has let go of the steering wheel. 


The regular Q5 SUV was last awarded a five-star EuroNCAP rating in 2017.


Despite the swoopy roofline, Audi quotes cargo capacity of 510-1470 litres for the Q5 Sportback range – just 10 litres less than the regular Q5 SUV – and says rear-seat headroom is “substantial” at 16mm less than the wagon. 


Under the bonnet, the Q5 Sportback range begins with the diesel-powered 40 TDI quattro S line with 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine sending 150kW/400Nm to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro ultra technology all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 


Audi quotes a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 7.6 seconds for the 40 TDI and a top speed of 222km/h. A 12-volt mild-hybrid system reduces fuel consumption to a claimed 5.4 litres per 100km while extending theoretical driving range up to 1250km from its 70-litre fuel tank.


Next is the only petrol-powered Q5 Sportback in the Australian range, the 45 TFSI quattro S line. Priced from $86,300 + ORC it also features all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with outputs of 183kW/370Nm.


Audi claims the 45 TFSI will accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 237km/h. Fuel consumption for the mid-tier model is listed at 8.0L/100km.


Citing slow sales in the Q5 SUV format, Audi said it would not offer a 50 TDI variant in the Q5 Sportback range, instead jumping directly to the flagship SQ5 TDI Sportback. 


“We’re always looking at the engine mixes we offer, and there’s always scope to add and subtract engines if the need is there – and I will say there is definitely still an appetite for diesel in this area of the market,” Mr Strudwicke said.


“But the 50 TDI is the lowest part of the model mix in the regular Q5. We’re finding most buyers step up to the SQ5, so we made the decision to offer the 40TDI, 45 TFSI, and SQ5 TDI in the Sportback for now.” 


Priced from $110,900 before on-roads – $6000 more than the regular SQ5 – the V6-powered performance model is powered by a single-turbo 3.0-litre engine with 48-volt mild hybrid system and electric compressor assistance. Total system output of 251kW/700Nm is delivered to the road via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.


Audi says the SQ5 TDI Sportback will accelerate to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. Combined cycle fuel consumption is listed at 7.1L/100km.


The SQ5 TDI Sportback rides 30mm lower than the standard Q5 Sportback, the suspension arrangement further enhanced by Audi’s adaptive S sport suspension and variable all-wheel drive system. 


Its self-locking centre differential can direct up to 85 per cent of drive to the rear wheels while the optional Sport differential can direct almost 100 per cent of torque to either rear wheel.


Audi also equips the SQ5 TDI Sportback with a sports exhaust for a “distinctive and sonorous sound” and six-piston calipers over 375mm front disc rotors – the same brake package found on the hard-charging RS5 sportscar.


Both diesel engines are fitted with dual SCR catalytic converters – one behind the exhaust manifold and the other beneath the floor – to reduce emissions below the latest Euro 6d standards. The units are fed by a twin dosing AdBlue system, the tank of which should only require filling during scheduled servicing, Audi says.


Audi’s Q5 and SQ5 Sportback are available with a comprehensive five-year service plan priced at $3140 for the two Q5 variants and $3170 for the SQ5. The trio are manufactured at Audi’s state-of-the-art San Jose Chiapa facility in Mexico, which derives 100 per cent of its electricity from a solar farm in nearby Chihuahua.


The Audi Q5 and SQ5 Sportback is available for purchase in showrooms and via the Audi online purchase platform now.


2022 Audi Q5 and SQ5 Sportback pricing*

Q5 Sportback 40 TDI (a) $77,700
Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI (a) $86,300
SQ5 Sportback TDI (a) $110,900

*Pricing excludes on-road costs.

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