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- Highs Attractive design, smooth supercharged V-6 engine, luxury interior.
- Lows Tight rear seat, some rivals provide better acceleration and handling, no USB port.
- Verdict The SQ5 offers handsome styling, decent power, and an upscale cabin, but it's outperformed by some of its closest rivals.
The Q5 is Audi’s premium compact five-passenger sport-utility vehicle, and the red-badged S models are the brand’s sport-performance variants, tuned to compete with AMG models from Mercedes-Benz and M models from BMW. Put these together and you get Audi’s SQ5, which launched in the 2014 model year, one year after a major refresh of the standard Q5. While the European-spec SQ5 was powered by a high-performance turbodiesel engine, which is not available in the U.S., our market gets a version of the 354-hp 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 from the S4 sports sedan and S5 sports coupe.
What's New for 2017?
Dynamic steering, which varies the steering ratio by nearly 100 percent as a function of driving speed and the Audi drive select system is newly standard on the SQ5 Prestige. A new Black Optic package adds a matte-black rear diffuser and high-gloss black rear spoiler, door handles, and exterior mirror housings.
- Premium Plus: $54,250
- Prestige: $61,750
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The sole engine in the SQ5 is an intercooled, supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 354 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering column. Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard. Unfortunately, the transmission does not let the driver use the paddles to run the gears all the way up to the 6,800 rpm redline before it upshifts itself. Tightened suspension pays off with noticeably less roll in corners than the standard Q5, but the vehicle still feels tentative in left-right turn transitions, proving you can’t fool physics with a tallish SUV and a high center of gravity. We recorded a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds, with a 152-mph top-speed and a 70-0 mph stopping distance of a short 153 feet. Good results, but the SQ5 is out-performed by a number of competitors.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The SQ5 starts out with the top-trim Q5’s plush leather seats with contrast stitching and high-quality fit and finish throughout the cabin, and then adds “SQ5” seat emblems, center console, and instrument-panel details. Wood interior trim and accents in the Q5 are replaced with carbon-fiber trim in the SQ. The three-spoke steering wheel has a racing-style flat bottom, and the sport seats in front have extra bolstering. The top-trim SQ5 Prestige model adds specially designed heated and cooled front cupholders, as well as a host of driver-assistance technology. Front-seat occupants will find plenty of space to stretch out, but those in back—especially if they're tall—might like a bit more room.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Standard tech for the SQ5 includes Audi's MMI Plus infotainment system with a 5.0-inch color display, dash-mounted controller, Bluetooth, an auxiliary input, and a 10-speaker stereo with satellite radio. The system is responsive and generally easy to use, but the lack of a USB port is a glaring omission. Available features include navigation, Wi-Fi, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.