2021 Audi SQ5 review: A little more S, please

Victoria D. Doty

2021 Audi SQ5

The whole Q5 vary will get a couple of styling updates for 2021.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Audi SQ5 certain appears sweet on paper. It has 88 a lot more horsepower than the normal Q5, complemented by an added 96 pound-toes of torque. The SQ5 will even do the -to-60-mph jaunt a whole second more rapidly than its a lot less-highly effective sibling. But truthfully, you’d in no way know.


  • Clean and comfortable journey
  • Fantastic infotainment tech
  • Quiet, comfortable cabin

Will not Like

  • Turbo engine desires a lot more soul
  • A lot less cargo area than rivals

For all the matters the SQ5 does effectively, it has a main deficiency in one particular vital location: drama. It can be a dilemma that isn’t really one of a kind to the SQ5 several of Audi’s sporty designs are only also buttoned-up for their own fantastic. But this absence of visceral excitement looks especially egregious in the SQ5. And that’s a shame, due to the fact objectively talking, this compact luxurious crossover is genuinely fantastic.

The SQ5’s three.-liter turbocharged V6 will make 349 hp and 369 lb-ft — quite big boosts in excess of the normal Q5’s two.-liter I4. Audi claims the SQ5 will hit 60 mph in 4.seven seconds, which is just as quick as its two principal rivals, the BMW X3 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC43. The problem is that the V6 offers up coming to absolutely nothing in the way of aural accompaniment. There’s no hearty engine note, no raspy exhaust. There’s no actual turbo punch, possibly, just a precise and linear application of thrust. The SQ5 is highly effective, but everything is so clean and predictable, it won’t come to feel highly effective.

Every little thing else about the SQ5’s driving experience is a comparable story. The journey quality is super clean, the human body won’t roll below really hard cornering and the brakes are surefooted and strong. The steering is quite light and totally numb, and while the SQ5 can hold its own if you acquire a corner immediately, this SUV just won’t come to feel like it cares about acquiring a fantastic time. It can be a straight-A college student held back by its own apathy.

If there’s an upside of this shrug-and-a-meh enthusiasm, it truly is that you can expect to locate it uncomplicated to meet and exceed the EPA’s gasoline economy estimates. Given that the SQ5 won’t goad you into driving with gusto, you can expect to have no hassle matching the 18 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg freeway and 20 mpg put together scores. In fact, following a 7 days of testing, I averaged 24 mpg. You would not get that in a GLC43 or X3 M40i. Then again, you would not be acquiring as a great deal fun.

The turbo V6 is highly effective, but a minor also tranquil.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Fittingly, I suppose, the SQ5 won’t seem all that sporty, while I’m not also upset about that. The normal Q5 is a handsome thing, and the SQ5-certain updo is tasteful. The reduce air intakes seem considerably a lot more aggressive, and 20-inch wheels come normal, with larger sized 21s available if you’ve got acquired extra funds to blow. The SQ5 will get all of the foundation Q5’s 2021 model yr styling enhancements, also, such as redesigned headlights with normal LED illumination and a modestly tweaked rear bumper and diffuser. There are some new colors on the options list, as effectively, such as the great District Inexperienced you see here.

The SQ5’s inside is a good deal like its exterior: Clear and handsome, with minor in the way of superfluous flair. This take a look at automobile is regrettably awash in a sea of black and grey materials, which will make the whole cabin seem quite dark and drab. (Bolder coloration strategies are available.) Also, there are five or 6 diverse shades of grey in this illustration — the dash, door playing cards, seize handles, seats, carbon fiber trim and piano black console are all at any time so marginally diverse from one particular yet another. If this monochromatic tapestry is intended to insert visual interest to the SQ5’s cabin, it definitely won’t get the job done. At the very least all the matters you can expect to basically touch are genuinely substantial quality, and the buttons and knobs on the centre console have a fulfilling click on to their action.

Up entrance, the leather-based sport seats are super comfy for extended drives. Rear travellers would not have something to complain about, possibly, unless they are ninety fifth-percentile tall. The SQ5 offers 25.8 cubic toes of cargo area with its rear seats upright, which is a lot more than the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 but a lot less than the BMW X3 M40i. Fold the seats flat and you can expect to have 54.1 cubic toes of area to get the job done with, whilst in this configuration, both equally the BMW and Mercedes give a lot more home.

As colourful as the German winter sky.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Q5’s 2021 model yr update provides up to date infotainment tech to the celebration, with Audi’s MIB three multimedia program housed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen atop the dash. I like this interface — it truly is neatly organized, colourful and brilliant, and most importantly, quick to reply to inputs. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both equally normal, as effectively, while only the former connects wirelessly.

The infotainment isn’t really the cabin’s most impressive bit of tech, by the way. That honor goes to Audi’s Digital Cockpit, which isn’t really a new bit of infotainment wizardry, but it truly is nevertheless one particular of the very best. A twelve.three-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster sits guiding the steering wheel, presenting Google Earth maps and tons of automobile and multimedia facts. You can regulate a good deal of the infotainment weighty lifting by means of this interface, without having at any time needing to acquire your arms off the steering wheel.

Speaking of tech, the SQ5 comes with lane-departure warning, blind-place monitoring, rear cross-targeted traffic warn and ahead collision warning normal. You’ve got acquired to pony up for a larger trim amount to get niceties like whole-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping help, parking help or a 360-diploma digital camera, which feels like a bummer on a luxurious SUV that starts at $fifty three,995 (such as $1,095 for vacation spot). I’ll remind all the luxurious carmakers that a good deal of all those options come normal on a lot less-high-priced Hondas, but no matter what, you do you.

2021 Audi SQ5

I’m genuinely into this new District Inexperienced paint.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Go for the gold and you can choice a 2021 SQ5 Status like my take a look at automobile up over $70,000. With matters like the S Activity pack, dynamic steering, 21-inch wheels, Black Optic pack and Nappa leather-based seats, the SQ5 pictured here comes out to $seventy one,790 delivered. Oh, and if you want all this SQ5 goodness in a a lot more interesting but a lot less practical form, Audi will sell you the whole kit and caboodle in swanky new Sportback guise for an extra $three,two hundred.

Eventually, due to the fact the SQ5 lacks so a great deal in the way of uncooked amusement, I’m not genuinely certain it offers sufficient of a attract in excess of the normal $44,395 Q5. Really, if it truly is outright electrical power you are following, the Q5 plug-in hybrid should really be your jam, with 362 hp, 369 lb-ft, 19 miles of all-electric vary and far better over-all gasoline economy. Did I point out the Q5 PHEV also charges $1,000 a lot less? The 2021 SQ5 is a champ at its core competencies, but without having any added emotion, I cannot consider of a cause to get it in excess of Audi’s now-fantastic Q5.

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