An athletic crossover that does it all, Audi’s SQ5 seems eager to please at the intersection of luxury and sport.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens. There are always more photos at the end of my reviews.
Pricing: 2022 Audi SQ5
Base price (Progressiv trim): $64,500
Options: $890 Florett Silver Metallic paint; $900 Carbon Atlas inlays; $350 Audi phone box; $1,800 sound enhancing exhaust; $800 black optics
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $71,635
The SQ5 might offer the perfect balance between utility, performance, technology and luxury in the mid-size crossover category.
The sculpted body with its sharply creased lines combines style and muscular aggression. Hints of its performance potential are everywhere from the massive honeycomb grille to the quad exhaust tips (which are real, versus the silly fake ones from the last generation), while touches like gloss black trim and 21-inch wheels give it an air of sporty sophistication. You’ll see the review vehicle in my own pictures has 19-inch rims with winter tires.
You’re greeted by a hypnotic lighting sequence front and back when you unlock the car, and hidden light projectors paint a crisp Audi logo on the ground when the doors are opened.
I have always liked that the Q5/SQ5 styling appears compact and belies the substantial space inside.
Luxury greets the driver and passengers alike – getting into the masterfully crafted diamond-quilted red Nappa leather seating, you take in your surroundings and start noticing the finer details such as the contrasting red stitching, the carbon fibre trim and the ultrasuede inserts throughout.
Technology is front and centre – ahead of the driver is a stunning customizable digital dash that can display nearly any information asked of it, including a birds-eye satellite view of where you are driving – it almost feels as if you are flying overhead. The centre of the dash houses a large touchscreen that handles navigation, phone and an already excellent sound system which can be further upgraded to a B&O system.
When it comes to storage around the cabin, there are a number of bins and cubbies around the centre console, although none of them are of a particularly useful size. What I did really like was the wireless charging mat – it doubles as the cover for the cupholders and can be slid back and out of the way. A small storage bin with a USB plug can be found under the armrest.
Rear passengers aren’t second-class citizens here – the same trim and leather is found in the back, along with plenty of head and leg room. Rear seat convenience and comfort includes sliding and reclining seats, charging ports – two USB and one 12V – and a climate control panel. Interestingly, the rear seats are not heated – that’s a bit of a downer when you’re talking more than $75,000. The huge panoramic sunroof helps give the rear passenger space some additional airiness.
Firing up the 349HP turbocharged V6 treats everyone inside and outside to a snappy bark from the sports exhaust. Numerous driving modes allow the driver to switch from Comfort, Offroad, Automatic, the customizable Individual mode and the sporty Dynamic mode. Each driving mode accesses different programs for the throttle response, the suspension and even the exhaust sound.
There is no lack of power in any driving situation with 369 lb.ft of torque on tap from low RPMs. The SQ5 is easy to trundle around town, but it happily responds to a stab of the throttle, pushing its passengers back in the seats and launching forward with unexpected and jaw-dropping alacrity. The transmission shifts seamlessly, regardless of how you are driving, and it nearly always felt like it was in the right gear for the situation. And bringing everything back down to earth is done with ease, thanks to smooth, powerful brakes.
The suspension is wonderfully compliant, offering a buttery smooth ride in Comfort mode and bumping it up to sporty and firm in Dynamic mode. The handling is outstanding, and the SQ5 can carve corners with the best of them. Whether commuting, taking in the scenery on a road trip or enjoying a quick hoot down some curvy country road, it takes it all in stride.
Crossovers need to bring utility to the table as well, and this one does not disappoint. Pop the power trunk lid to access a large wide 725L cargo space with a high load floor. If you need more space, all three rear seats fold down independently which brings a new level of flexibility to the table as well as up to 1516L of room. There’s a retractable tonneau cover as well as as 12V plug for accessories.
Safety is key here as well. Any driver assistance aid you can think of is included, and Audi’s class-leading quattro all-wheel drive and winter rubber made easy work of Alberta winter driving, including skating rink conditions after some brutal freezing rain.
Audi rates the SQ5’s fuel economy at 12.5/9.7 L/100 km (city/highway) and you’ll need to feed it premium fuel.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was pretty high. While she’s more of a wagon/hatchback fan, she did like the higher driving position and the luxurious trimmings inside.
Bold, classy and athletic, bristling with technology, power and luxury – the SQ5 has everything a discerning driver could want.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Audi Edmonton North.
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