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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.