Under the Hood
With 252 horsepower, the standard Q5's 2.0-liter turbo four isn't exactly down on power. The SQ5 turns the dial up a notch with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that delivers 354 horsepower from 5,400 to 6,400 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque between 1,370 and 4,500 rpm. The extra grunt lowers its zero-to-60-mph time to 5.1 seconds.
The six-cylinder spins the SQ5's four wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission linked to Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system. It's a performance car above all, but it can put its power to other uses when needed. Notably, it can tow 4,400 pounds when it's properly equipped.
Steering, suspension, and braking modifications help the SQ5 deliver buttoned-down handling. The performance comes at the expense of fuel mileage, which checks in at 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg in a combined cycle. Note the six-cylinder demands premium fuel.
The SQ5 looks a lot like the Q5, and that's intentional. Audi's designs are notoriously discreet. Eagle-eyed car spotters will tell the S model apart thanks to a specific front bumper that's slightly deeper and gains more air vents, bigger alloy wheels, a sprinkling of emblems, and a new rear bumper that integrates a small air diffuser and fake exhaust tips.
The story is the same inside, where the differences between the Q5 and the SQ5 are minor at best. The cabin is built with high-quality materials, including leather and real wood trim, and the infotainment system is displayed on a screen positioned right on top of the dashboard.
Audi's software is straight-forward to use. We were impressed with the high resolution it offers and the quickness with which it responds to input. If you don't like it, or if you yearn for the familiar comfort of your smartphone, rest assured the software is also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The SQ5 offers space for five passengers and 26.8 cubic feet of trunk space. Folding down the rear seats yields 60.4 cubes.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Audi breaks the SQ5 line-up into two models named Premium Plus and Premium, respectively.
The list of standard features includes 20-inch alloy wheels, LED lights on both ends, automatic headlights, auto-dimming and heated side mirrors, aluminum roof rails, a power tailgate, a body-colored roof spoiler, heated windshield washer nozzles, tinted rear windows, three-zone automatic A/C, shift paddles, brushed aluminum trim on the dashboard, a panoramic sunroof, a black cloth headliner, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, stainless steel pedal caps, mixed leather/Alcantara upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, a Homelink transceiver, keyless entry and start, parking sensors on both ends, Audi's pre-sense basic and pre-sense city technology, side assist with rear cross traffic alert, automatic windshield wipers, and a 90-day subscription to SiriusXM.
The Prestige model adds Audi's virtual cockpit, a head-up display, navigation, an 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, handwriting-recognition technology, and a top-view camera.
The list of standalone options includes rear side airbags, dynamic steering, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, all-season tires (offered at no extra cost), 21-inch alloy wheels, and a sunroof delete. Buyers also have several option packages to choose from, including the Cold Weather package which bundles heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
Every SQ5 comes with front, side, and curtain airbags in addition to a tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, traction control, and hill descent control.
The numerous electronic driving aids the SQ5 is available with are detailed in the previous sections.
The SQ5's most direct rival is the Mercedes-AMG GLC43, which is another so-called tweener model positioned between sanity and balls-to-the-wall insanity. Buyers can also look at the BMW X3 M40i, while those willing to spend more should check out the Porsche Macan GTS.