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TESTED: Audi Q5 Sportback 40 TDI is appealing in many ways, but pricey

Published Mar 18, 2022


REVIEW: Audi Q5 Sportback 40 TDI quattro

Pretoria: When the first Audi Q5 was launched in South Africa a good few years ago my sister-in-law insisted she wanted one. I couldn’t understand why, as a single mother, she would want one, especially as it was before the world went gaga over SUVs.

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But she put down her money and, one weekend over a braai, offered me the keys to take it for a spin. After 20 minutes in the car, I understood her reasoning as it cruised along quietly and efficiently with the added benefit, she said, that it had space for her daughter’s friends and their hockey and netball kits.

With her daughter now doing her own thing, she’s still an Audi woman, having recently purchased the Q3.

It was a memory that popped up when I slipped behind the wheel of Audi’s latest Q5 edition, this time the 40 TDI quattro S line Sportback.

The change over 10 or so years is remarkable. It has always been a premium car but, cocooned inside, there’s a feeling that all is good in the world.

The interior feels like you’re in a modern executive apartment with top-of-the-range materials, finishings and nary a hard surface anywhere.

It’s also completely digital, which I’m not completely convinced about but, to Audi’s credit, there is the odd switch including, thank goodness, a volume control.

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The high-resolution centre touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use once you get used to it and, even in direct sunlight, should you have the optional panoramic sunroof open, there’s a decent view. It does, however, attract dust and grubby fingerprints so, if you’re slightly OCD, those wet wipes and sanitisers, which are prevalent with Covid-19, will come in handy.

The Q5 is fitted with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster that allows you several viewing modes to suit your mood or driving style, including the navigation map between the “dials” which I found handy while trying to find a company in a rabbit’s warren of an industrial area.

Our test car was fitted with the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time driving and enjoy quality sound, then it should certainly be on your list.

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Externally, the Audi Q5 Sportback differs from its standard sibling as a more visually appealing alternative with a tapered roofline and slanted tailgate making it 7mm longer, but with the same height and width.

It’s a spacious cabin with lots of rear legroom for adults, even with the driver’s seat positioned optimally for my tall frame.

I found the 2.0-litre four cylinder turbo diesel to be the standout of the package. With 140kW and 400Nm of torque, it combines perfectly with the seven-speed dual clutch powering all four wheels. The optional adaptive air suspension providing an almost glass-like drive over most surfaces.

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There’s a slight clatter on start up but it quickly dies down and settles into a comfortable rhythm.

The Audi 40 TDI quattro S line Sportback is also one of the few cars where there’s a noticeable difference in the various drive modes. You can select between Auto, Comfort, Eco, Dynamic and Individual that allows you to set up the car in your preferred modes, the default being Auto which most owners will be fine with as the electronics adapt to your driving style.

Audi claims a 0-100km/h time of 8.1 seconds, so it’s no slouch but that’s not where its strength lies – its biggest asset is passing slower traffic.

You don’t have to floor it. With the combination of the engine’s torque and perfectly calibrated gearbox, it hussles quickly to allow you to pass safely and then settles down again happily at the speed limit.

With fuel prices as they are, the Q5 Sportback returned 7.0l/100km in a variety of driving scenarios, mostly in the Auto and Comfort setting, which is not bad at all considering its size and weight.

For an SUV, the Q5 Sportback handles well thanks to the 20-inch alloys and adaptive air suspension that offers various height settings including off-road that raises it by 45mm which, combined with the Quattro all-wheel drive, comes in handy when you’re visiting friends on a farm after heavy rains.

It has a lovely driving sensation and although there’s not much feedback from the steering wheel, the overall impression is one of extreme comfort even with some sharp manoeuvres that showed very little body roll.


To be frank, there is no obvious fault to be found in the Audi Q5 Sportback 40 TDI Quattro S Line Sportback except maybe that once you want some nice-to-haves, it adds the price of a small car to the bottom line.

The standard price is R1 006 000 and, as tested with options worth R193 600 that included the Technology Package (R33 000) and Comfort Package (R27 000), you’ll be paying R1 199 600.

FACTS: Audi Q5 Sportback 40 TDI S Line

Price: R1 045 000 (March 2022)

Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel

Transmission: 7-speed automated dual-clutch

Drive: All-wheel drive

Power: 140kW @ 3800rpm

Torque: 400Nm @ 1750-3000rpm

0-100km/h: 8.1 seconds (claimed)

Top speed: 220km/h (claimed)

Fuel use (claimed): 6.2 litres per 100km

Fuel use (tested): 7.0 litres per 100km

Boot capacity: 510-1480 litres

Kerb weight: 1845kg

Towing capacity: 2400kg (braked)

Fuel tank capacity : 65 litres

Warranty: 1-year/unlimited km

Service plan: 5-year/100 000km

IOL Motoring

Related Topics:

Car ReviewsAudiSUV