Remember when the term “Sportback” was Audi’s fancy way of saying hatchback? Well, its meaning has been expanded to include SUVs, with the Q3 Sportback and E-Tron Sportback being the first high-riding vehicles to adopt the suffix. A Q4 E-Tron Sportback will follow in 2021, but in the meantime, the Four Rings are almost ready to unveil this – the Q5 Sportback.

Ingolstadt’s belated answer to the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe has been spied undergoing final testing at the Nürburgring prior to an official reveal later this year. The thin camouflage slapped onto this near-production prototype is pretty much useless since we can see most of the finer details. It’s essentially a 2021 Q5 facelift with a more rakish roofline to enable a sportier side profile, although we’re sure some will prefer the normal model.

Gallery: 2021 Audi Q5 Sportback new spy photos

As it’s the case with pretty much all SUVs featuring this swoopy shape, practicality will have to suffer as the sleeker rear end will take its toll on cargo capacity. Because of the more sloped roofline, don’t expect rear headroom to match what you’ll get in the conventionally styled Q5. There’s a third downside with going for the Sportback derivative as Audi will surely command a premium over the regular model.

While more and more Audi models have ditched the tablet-styled infotainment system, the 2021 Q5 still has the MMI affixed to the top of the center console. That’s why we’re not surprised its Sportback sibling will be going down the same road, featuring the 10.1-inch touchscreen also seen in the facelifted A4 and A5 lineups together with their spicy S and RS flavors.

Speaking of performance models, an SQ5 Sportback is probably only a matter of time, while an Audi spokesperson recently suggests an RS Q5 could happen further down the line. Meanwhile, the regular variant should debut in the months to come, quite possibly with the same intricate OLED taillights that debuted recently in the regular model.

It would seem there's no stopping to the crossover madness as automakers are not concerned these new additions to their lineups could cannibalize sales of existing models. It remains to be seen if people will ever go back to buying sedans and wagons in large amounts or these once traditional body styles will continue to be outshined by crossovers and SUVs.

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