One of my favorite segments is the performance SUV. Perhaps it’s the fact that fun and function are well blended. Plus, there’s an element of surprise since most people do not expect an SUV to reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The Audi SQ5 was starting to look a little long in the tooth, but the launch of an all-new Q5 means there’s a transformed SQ5 available for 2018. Audi claims it checks all the boxes.
The new SQ5 has very similar design elements to the Q5 with additional “S” sportiness. This includes a platinum gray Singleframe grille with aluminum optic double horizontal blade bars, aluminum optic side mirrors, and a rear roof spoiler. The general design of the Q5 is strong with a nice coupe-like roofline and pronounced wheel arches. The sporty differentiators of the SQ5 only enhance its looks and adds a more aggressive flair. Our only disappointment with the new design was the hidden exhaust. We could see Audi getting away with that on the Q5, but not the SQ5. It’s too sporty for a hidden exhaust. Hopefully this is short-lived.
The interior has received a nice update as well. Its previous generation had a bit of a dated feel so the MMI touch interface is a breath of fresh air. This new MMI touch includes hand-writing recognition technology and integration with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto. A really cool feature for the driver is the available Audi Virtual Cockpit. Instead of having to look over at the main infotainment screen, the Navigation is displayed via Google Earth images in the gauge cluster. The SQ5 has a special “sport” display mode as well. This view brings the speedometer and tachometer to the front and center and also adds a boost gauge and lap timer. There’s also loads of safety features including Audi Pre-sense City – an automatic emergency braking system, rear cross traffic assist, and blind spot monitoring.
So how is it compared to the last generation? Well, we here at Limited Slip Blog are divided. In some cases, it wasn’t as fun to drive as the previous generation. But in other areas, there’s significant improvement. Ride quality has become more dynamic – the new front and rear suspension allows you to fine tune your drive. You can make it very sporty or super comfy for those longer trips. The steering is exactly what you’d want in an Audi S model – precise and responsive. There’s an available feature called dynamic steering which adjusts steering response based on speed and the Audi drive select steering setting. The SQ5 is now powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine which produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. This is the same combination found in the all-new Audi S4 and S5. The low-end torque of the turbocharged six cylinder and smoothness of the transmission marry up perfectly for a refined sportiness.
Audi has tailored the new SQ5 like a good pair of dress pants. You have the ability to really customize it based on your driving style and preferences. Between the detailed virtual cockpit, dynamic steering, and exhaust note, you can tote your family with a big smile on your face.
|2018 Audi SQ5||$54,300|
|S Sport Package||$3,000|
|Driver Assistance Package||$1,800|
|Fine Nappa leather interior in Magma Red||$1,250|
|21″ Wheel Package||$1,000|
|Carbon Atlas Inlays||$500|
|As Tested MSRP||$68,175|
Related: All-In-One: 2015 Audi SQ5