Audi SQ5 Review
The Audi SQ5 packs a punch with practicality as well as performance and for the first time comes with a petrol powertrain.
- Plenty of performance on tap
- Packed with technology and safety features
- Premium interior
- Costly options
- Passenger legroom is limiting
Audi have quite the line up, if you’re looking for something small then the A1 is the perfect model, the Q7 is the ultimate large SUV, or if you’re looking for lots of perfomance with roof down looks then the R8 Spyder offers it in abundance. But what if you’re looking for the practicality of an SUV combined with the performance of a sportscar?
Well the Audi SQ5 offers both, so we spent a week with it to see if it is worthy of the pricetag.
On the Road
If you’re looking for plenty of performance then you can’t go wrong with the SQ5, there is a 3.0 litre TSI petrol V6 under the bonnet delivering a whopping 354PS, which takes just 5.4 seconds to get from 0 - 62mph and has a top speed of 155 mph.
It uses an eight-speed tiptronic, quick-shifting transmission which is super smooth if you’re looking for power from the moment you put your foot down, of which there is 500Nm of torque to play with which is available from 1,370rpm. Could an SUV really be that fun to drive? It is in this guise but surely all that power means low fuel economy figures?
Well, with a lighter engine and a freewheeling function on the SQ5 then this helps with figures and Audi reckon it can achieve up to 34mpg, we managed around 31.6mpg on a motorway trip of 130 miles, although we had stuck into efficiency mode which is the way forward if you don’t want to buy shares in your local fuel station.
The version we tested was on 21-inch wheels so it will emit 195g/km of CO2, this will cost £1,200 for the first year in road tax.
The SQ5 we tested came on 21 inch wheels with the optional adaptive air suspension at £1,000 and quattro with sport differential adding an extra £1,200, so is it worth it to splash out on these?
Whereas the standard quattro all wheel drive system can change the ratio of the torque distributed to the front and rear wheels, the sport differential uses torque vectoring, so when you really push it through a corner more power is sent to the outside rear wheel instead, also eliminating understeer, so you can feel confident with all that power to safely stay pointing the right way.
Which is what you want when you’re putting the SQ5 through its sporty paces, the air suspension allows you to adjust the damper settings dependant on the driving situation and how dynamically you want to drive it.
It comes with electrically assisted power steering which is well weighted giving plenty of feedback as you take it on the twisty stuff and with the Audi drive select system that offers up several driving modes including Comfort, Dynamic and Allroad, it is possible to set up the car for how you want to drive it.
Audi excel at refinement, the SQ5 offers high levels of comfort, seats are supportive with 4-way electric lumbar support and they’re also electronically adjustable which isn’t a feature always available on an Audi...unless you splash out on the options.
The burble of the V6 resonates throughout the cabin, which although is well insulated, it’s a noise you want to hear as you accelerate, especially when you set it to Dynamic mode as it really does wake up with added throatiness from the engine.
In terms of looks, it can’t be denied that the SQ5 looks striking, ‘S’ additions include front and rear bumpers, diffuser, side air inlet grilles, aluminium effect door mirrors and roof rails and twin exhaust tailpipes, with privacy glass adding to the ‘look at me’ design.
In the car
We really like Audi interiors, you can’t really fault them as they have such a premium feel.
The SQ5 has the virtual cockpit as an option, which is a very informative 13.2 inch LCD display screen for the driver. Whichever way you choose to set it up, it can come loaded with plenty of car information, or if you’re navigating your way somewhere the entire screen can become a map which is visably impressive and steering wheel mounted controls can adjust how the driver wants to see it all.
There’s a 8.3 inch colour screen which is operated using the MMI Touch pad, it’s really simple to use and it recognises handwriting or gestures you would use everyday on a smartphone. Very clever and intuitive kit.
With 3-zone climate control, MMI Navigation, bluetooth and connectivity through the Audi smartphone interface using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and the optional head-up display, it comes with plenty of technology and connectivity.
Space isn’t as good as we expected in the cabin, front passengers don’t have that much legroom, we had a 6ft 5 man in the car and his knees were right up against the dash - he looked cramped.
Although there are three seats in the rear for three adults it would be a bit of a squash, a child car seat seemed to take up a lot of room too.
The boot space though is better holding 550 litres, but like the smaller Q3 because of the slanting rear it eats into the boot, so if you’re packing for a trip you need to pack bags and cases wisely. That being said we took it away for the weekend to the coast and piled in three adults, a two year old and three large suitcases, a pushchair, a Trunki...and of course a bucket and spade with no real issues.
With the split folding rear seat bench flat the boot space increases to 1,550 litres and it comes with a power tailgate, a convenient boot cover and a loading sill protector.
The Audi SQ5 costs from £51,200 be careful though as options can soon ramp up the costs, our test car was £62,405 as extras included a panoramic sun roof at £140, S adaptive air suspension at £1,000 and 21-inch diamond cut alloy wheels costing £1,500 - you wouldn’t want to hit a kerb with those...
If you’re looking for the competition then the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan have performance versions to match and although the Audi is more expensive it is hard to fault it, it has all the performance of a sportscar, but is way more practical, although the previous version did come with a 3.0 TDI diesel engine which was quicker from 0-62mph...
If you’re looking for a high quality and well thought out car, you can’t really go wrong with anything Audi produce, the SQ5 is plush with Fine Nappa leather, front seats are embossed with the ‘S’ logo, there’s Alcantara in the doors, LED interior lighting, illuminated door sills and interior inlays are in finished in matt-brushed aluminium.
There haven’t been any major issues with the Q5, Audi models can run for miles and miles, but when they anything does need repairing it can become very costly, so worth bearing in mind.
The Audi Q5 has been put through its paces this year in the EuroNCAP, scoring the maxmium five stars with 93% in adult occupant protection and 73% for a pedestrian, as it features a pop-up bonnet for pedestrian protection and also has Audi’s Pre sense city system, which can warn drivers about any cars or pedestrians ahead and if needs be apply emergency braking, and multicollision brake assist.
There are Isofix points, a six airbag system, tyre pressure warning and an anti-theft alarm, while the parking system plus and adaptive cruise control plus are options, and costly ones at that as together you’d be adding an extra £2,000 to your bill.