December 4, 2021

2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback Evaluate


If the Q5 is Audi’s hottest mannequin within the US, then the SQ5 Sportback might be the aspirational improve for these wanting some additional sport of their SUV. Toting two additional cylinders in comparison with the usual automotive, a extra fascinating design, and no scarcity of cabin tech, it’s punchy with out forgetting about practicality. Certainly the largest shock for the SQ5 Sportback may effectively be that its strongest rival comes from inside its personal vary.

Audi’s 3.0-liter TFSI V6 gasoline engine and 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox are acquainted from elsewhere within the automaker’s line-up; so, too, is the quattro all-wheel drive. That’s no unhealthy factor; right here, the 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque provide a welcome uptick over the usual Q5 with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder, sufficient for a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. All the identical, it’s value noting that the Q5 plug-in hybrid – with 369 lb-ft and 362 hp – is definitely extra highly effective than the SQ5 Sportback.

The common Q5 feels enough, if not precisely effervescent over with enthusiasm. Assume household stalwart – reassuringly regular and balanced – with suspension on the agency aspect. For the SQ5 Sportback, the $3,000 S sport package deal provides adaptive air suspension and a rear differential together with its pink brake calipers, permitting for extra flexibility within the dynamics. Consolation mode, in consequence, truly feels extra cosseting than in the usual Q5 as a result of Audi can dial in some additional compliance.

On the flip aspect, Dynamic mode – Audi-speak for what different producers may name Sport – tamps down on SUV physique roll and leaves the SQ5 Sportback much more poised and keen. This isn’t certainly one of Audi’s most beastly RS-badged fashions, however there are positively extra alternatives for smiles as the mix of low-revs torque and compliant, predictable dealing with construct your confidence. Even the 21-inch wheels – a part of the $1,000 Black optic wheel package deal, and changing the usual 20-inchers – don’t take a lot of a toll, with the horrors of all however probably the most wretched asphalt stored at arm’s attain.

You may say the identical for the cabin, the place Audi’s aesthetic is holding up properly. Ambient lighting helps carry what may in any other case be a reasonably sober inside, the glitter of the Carbon Atlas trim inlays a bit of subdued subsequent to the black leather-based and Dynamica faux-suede surfaces. A ten.1-inch touchscreen is normal, with wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto assist, plus a panoramic sunroof, rear privateness glass, Audi’s pre protected suite of energetic security tech, and each blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings.

It’s all very acquainted in the event you’ve been in another semi-recent Audi, although I desire it when the automaker integrates the infotainment display screen into the sprint: the SQ5’s panel appears to be like a bit of like an afterthought.

In sheer practicality phrases, Sportbacks – or any of the opposite names rival producers have for this more-swooping physique model – are at all times going to play second fiddle to SUVs. The SQ5 Sportback, a minimum of, tempers its compromise within the second row: rear headroom is, at 37.5 inches, down a mere fifth of an inch in comparison with the SQ5.

Cargo area dips a bit of extra considerably, dropping a couple of cubic toes to 24.7 cu-ft usually and 51.9 cu-ft with the rear seats folded down. Nonetheless, it’s value noting that in the event you’re not within the behavior of loading above the shoulder line, that shortfall might not current such a headache. An influence tailgate is normal, and the rear seats break up 40/20/40 in addition to sliding ahead and backward, and having adjustable recline.

Issues, although, do get costly if you’d like the participating better of the SQ5 Sportback. Although it begins at $56,100 (plus $1,095 vacation spot), the Status package deal – with niceties just like the digital cockpit, OLED taillights, 360-degree digicam, head-up show, navigation, adaptive cruise management, heated steering wheel and rear seats, and a heated and cooled entrance cup holder – provides $8,600. One other $1,150 provides dynamic steering, the Nappa leather-based seats are $1,000, after which the assorted different trim upgrades and such took my evaluate automotive to $73,990 all-in.

At that time you’re in Porsche Macan S territory, and that’s a sporting benchmark the SQ5 Sportback can’t fairly match. Audi’s SUV is certainly hotter and extra enthusiastic than the usual Q5 Sportback, however the Macan nonetheless bests it each there and in badge status.

2021 Audi SQ5 Verdict

Audi’s Q5 vary is a bit of odd. Although the SQ5 Sportback is undoubtedly the clearest imaginative and prescient of sportiness – and the most costly – within the line-up, the Q5 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid is definitely extra highly effective. You will get adaptive air suspension on that, too, and it’s truly a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph than the V6 as effectively.

You’ll be able to’t get the PHEV as a Sportback, although, nor with the game rear differential or the identical visible fanciness because the SQ5 presents. I think that, for most individuals, the plug-in hybrid makes probably the most sense financially and virtually, even in the event you sacrifice the V6 soundtrack alongside the best way. Its 26 mpg mixed, versus 20 mpg for the V6, could make an enormous distinction in the event you’re on the highway so much.

Outright energy and pace aren’t every part, in fact, and the SQ5 Sportback’s beguiling design counts for lots. Restrain your self within the choices and Audi’s general package deal feels greater than the sum of its elements. Nearly all the practicality of an SUV, with sufficient to maintain an fanatic driver engaged, there’s a lot right here to love.

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