2017 Audi SQ5
- Quicker acceleration and better handling than is typical for a small luxury crossover SUV
- Well-made interior with sporty flourishes
- Sliding rear seat provides extra versatility
- Technology controls aren't as advanced as those in rivals or even more recently redesigned Audis
- Bluetooth audio and a rearview camera aren't standard
- No USB connectivity
- No available accident avoidance technologies
Edmunds' Expert Review
Somebody has to be first, and when it comes to high-performance compact luxury crossover SUVs, that distinction belongs to the Audi SQ5. It arrived in the United States back in 2014, bringing elevated performance and handling to the already commendable Q5. If you wanted to go really fast in this segment, it was an easy pick. For 2017, though, there are new rivals from BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz to also consider. Does the old kid on the block still have a chance?
Well, the 2017 Audi SQ5 isn't bringing much in the way of new dance moves to the party. Sure, the range-topping Prestige model includes a few extra standard features this year, but otherwise it's business as usual. In certain respects, that puts it at a distinct disadvantage compared to those new competitors. This is especially true in regards to the SQ5's in-car technology features and controls, which are one or two generations behind Audi's other models.
The bigger wheels, silver mirrors and special badging are key differentiators between the SQ5 and regular Q5.
Then again, the SQ5 looks just as classy and generally excellent as it always has, while its supercharged V6 provides the sort of solid thwack to the backside that'll leave many a sport sedan behind in its dust. Indeed, there's a good chance those new competitors -- the BMW X4 M40i, Jaguar F-Pace 35t R-Sport and Mercedes-Benz GLC43 AMG -- will only be able to match the SQ5's straight-line thrust. The Porsche Macan S is slower, and it's only the substantially more expensive Macan Turbo that we expect to remain king of the hill in terms of go-fast bragging rights.
So, yes, the SQ5 is getting a little long in the tooth, but there's still plenty to like about this pioneer. If you're in the hunt for a compact crossover SUV with the performance of a sport sedan, we still think it's worth a shot.
Standard safety equipment for the Audi SQ5 includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional on both trim levels. The Technology package (optional on Premium Plus, standard on Prestige) adds a blind-spot monitor, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. There are no active accident avoidance technologies available.
In Edmunds brake testing, an SQ5 with summer tires stopped from 60 mph in a superb 103 feet, putting it on par with some very capable performance cars.
In government crash tests, the SQ5 earned four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the standard Q5 its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Q5's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
2017 Audi SQ5 configurations
The 2017 Audi SQ5 is a compact luxury SUV offered in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.
Standard equipment on the Premium Plus includes 20-inch alloy wheels, summer tires, high-performance brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights, aluminum roof rails, heated/auto-dimming/power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate.
There's also keyless ignition and entry, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), a flat-bottom tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather and simulated suede upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, adjustable drive settings (covering gas pedal responsiveness, transmission programming and steering assist), a 40/20/40-split rear seat (sliding, reclining and folding), Bluetooth phone connectivity, the base Multi Media Interface (MMI) infotainment system with a dash-mounted controller and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a CD player, an SD card slot, an auxiliary audio jack and Audi's proprietary digital music interface. There is no USB port.
The optional Technology package adds front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot monitor, a color driver information display, voice controls, Bluetooth audio connectivity, HD radio, Audi Connect online services, mobile WiFi capability, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and an upgraded version of MMI with a navigation system, integrated Google services and an MMI controller mounted more conveniently on the center console.
The Prestige gets the Technology package as standard, and it also boasts adaptive cruise control, variable-ratio "dynamic steering," adaptive headlights, heated and cooled cupholders, and rear door sunshades.
Optional on both models is the Luxury package, which adds ventilated front seats and premium leather to the seats and various other interior surfaces. Also available on both is the Black Optic package, which gets you gloss-black exterior trim, body-color mirrors and matte-black roof rails. Unique to the Prestige is the Black Optic Plus package, which has a matte black rear diffuser and high-gloss black rear spoiler, door handles and exterior mirror housings. Other options include 21-inch wheels, red brake calipers, diamond-stitched leather upholstery, rear side airbags and the "Audi Exclusive" range of customized paint choices.
Quad tailpipes are special to the SQ5, but are tastefully applied, maintaining the Q5's handsome look.
The 2017 Audi SQ5 is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine rated at 354 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the SQ5 hustled from zero to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. For context, the Q5 3.0T took 5.8 seconds with its less powerful version of the same engine. It's also quicker than a Porsche Macan S.
EPA fuel economy estimates were not available at the time of this writing, but we expect them to be similar to last year's numbers of 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway). On the 116-mile Edmunds evaluation route, we averaged about 21 mpg.
The 2017 Audi SQ5's supercharged V6 engine is just a pumped-up variant of the regular Q5 3.0T's V6, but it's hard to dismiss the results. By the numbers, it cranks out an extra 82 hp and 51 lb-ft of torque, and that's a difference you'll feel every time you plant your right foot. The SQ5 moves out with a unique sense of urgency, lunging ahead like a finely tuned sports car. The substantially cheaper Q5 3.0T is a quick crossover in its own right, but its acceleration just isn't in the same league.
Not many crossovers inspire you to take the long and twisty route, but the SQ5 constantly entices with its sport-tuned suspension and performance tires. There's ample grip and stability, with little of the body roll that crossovers generally exhibit. The SQ5's main dynamic drawback is its steering, which feels artificial and provides little feedback or communication to the driver; it's the kind of thing you can forgive on the regular Q5, but on the high-performance version, it's a little disappointing. The Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace and BMW X3/X4 are more involving to drive. As for ride quality, typical Q5 customers will probably find it overly firm, but if you're drawn to the elevated performance of Audi's S lineup, the slight drop in comfort is well within the realm of acceptability.
The SQ5 has all the classy cabin elements you expect from Audi, along with sport-themed additions like a flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles, simulated suede trim and an exquisite leather/aluminum shift knob. You'll also find aluminum pedals, plenty of "SQ5" badges and the S lineup's trademark gray instrument faces, plus exclusive options like diamond-stitched premium leather upholstery and trim. It's a well-executed makeover of what is already a very nice interior in the regular Audi Q5.
Less impressive is the SQ5's MMI system. The screen is small compared to those in rival SUVs, and both of the available control interfaces are two generations behind those found in the most recently redesigned Audi models (A4, Q7, TT). The SQ5's standard MMI controller is on the dash, which might make sense for those who like their radio controls in the normal place, but it requires an awkward reach from the driver seat. The upgraded controller, included with the Technology package, is located more ergonomically on the center console. As such, it's just one more reason to opt for that package that also includes a rearview camera and Bluetooth audio -- two features that should be standard. Sadly, there's no way to get a USB port, a feature found in even the lowliest subcompact cars. Instead, the SQ5 utilizes a proprietary cable for its media player interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
Although the SQ5 is considered a compact crossover, it has plenty of room for four adults. The front sport seats provide excellent support and adjustability, while the rear seats offer respectable legroom as well as slide-and-recline functionality. Cargo space suffers, however, topping out at 57.3 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded, a low number compared to many other compact crossovers (though the Porsche Macan is even worse off).
Want to go fast in a compact SUV? The SQ5 remains one of the best ways to do it.
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Features & Specs
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The Audi SQ5 — an amped-up version of the Q5 compact SUV — zooms into 2017 with plenty of speed and stylish good looks. But as this model nears the end of its cycle before being replaced by a updated version, it comes up a little light on modern technology.
On its debut in 2014, the SQ5 was the first high-performance compact luxury crossover SUV, and it's still as fast and handsome now as then. A new Black Optic Plus package with blacked-out trim pieces makes this year's SQ5 look even better.
The SQ5 uses an uprated version of the regular Q5's supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, producing 354 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard equipment. In Edmunds performance testing, the SQ5 roared to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds, compared to 5.8 seconds for the lesser Q5.
Although the engine and transmission are among the best in class, we've found the SQ5's steering feels slightly artificial and creates a disconnect from the car's actions. That's disappointing in a car meant for high-performance handling, especially since a sport-tuned suspension and sport tires provide ample grip and stability, with little of the body roll typical of crossovers.
That sticky tire rubber and controlled suspension movement aid the SQ5's braking ability, however, which can bring the car to a stop from 60 mph in just 103 feet, a result on par with serious performance cars. Be aware, though, that this taut suspension delivers a correspondingly stiff ride. If you're looking for comfort in your crossover, you may prefer the regular Q5.
The entry-level Premium Plus trim level is lavishly equipped with most of the expected amenities in the luxury car segment, while the Prestige level adds a few extras.
Inside, the SQ5's cabin is as opulent as ever, and the rear seat has plenty of space to carry two passengers in comfort thanks to ample legroom and reclining seats that slide fore and aft. So it's somewhat baffling to learn that the SQ5 lacks some basic modern technologies such as USB ports for mobile devices. And the small central infotainment display is two generations behind Audi's latest wide-screen, high-definition systems found in the A4, TT and Q7. These will no doubt be among the first remedies of the next-generation model, likely due in 2018.
The SQ5 gets an EPA-rated 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway, a respectable result for a supercharged, 354-horsepower engine. Edmunds recorded about 21 mpg on our regular 116-mile driving route.
For additional details and comparisons to similar models, be sure to check Edmunds for all the information you need on the Audi SQ5.
2017 Audi SQ5 Overview
The 2017 Audi SQ5 is offered in the following submodels: SQ5 SUV. Available styles include 3.0T Prestige quattro 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A), and 3.0T Premium Plus quattro 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C 8A).
What do people think of the 2017 Audi SQ5?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Audi SQ5 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 SQ5 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 SQ5.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Audi SQ5 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 SQ5 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Audi SQ5?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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