2021 Audi SQ5 overview: A bit of extra S, please

The entire Q5 vary will get a couple of styling updates for 2021.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Audi SQ5 positive sounds candy on paper. It has 88 extra horsepower than the usual Q5, complemented by a further 96 pound-feet of torque. The SQ5 will even do the 0-to-60-mph jaunt a full second faster than its less-powerful sibling. However actually, you’d by no means know.

LikeSmooth and comfy rideGreat infotainment techQuiet, comfy cabin

Do not LikeTurbo engine wants extra soulLess cargo house than rivals

For all of the issues the SQ5 does nicely, it has a significant deficiency in a single key space: drama. It is an issue that is not distinctive to the SQ5; a lot of Audi’s sporty fashions are just too buttoned-up for their very own good. However this lack of visceral pleasure appears notably egregious within the SQ5. And that is a disgrace, as a result of objectively talking, this compact luxurious crossover is admittedly good.

The SQ5’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 makes 349 hp and 369 lb-ft — fairly massive will increase over the usual Q5’s 2.0-liter I4. Audi says the SQ5 will hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, which is simply as fast as its two fundamental rivals, the BMW X3 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC43. The problem is that the V6 affords subsequent to nothing in the way in which of aural accompaniment. There is no hearty engine observe, no raspy exhaust. There is no actual turbo punch, both, simply a particularly exact and linear software of thrust. The SQ5 is {powerful}, however all the pieces is so clean and predictable, it would not really feel {powerful}.

Every part else in regards to the SQ5’s driving expertise is an identical story. The trip high quality is tremendous clean, the physique would not roll beneath onerous cornering and the brakes are surefooted and robust. The steering is fairly mild and completely numb, and whereas the SQ5 can maintain its personal should you take a nook rapidly, this SUV simply would not really feel prefer it cares about having an excellent time. It is a straight-A pupil held again by its personal apathy.

If there’s an upside of this shrug-and-a-meh enthusiasm, it is that you will discover it straightforward to fulfill and exceed the EPA’s gasoline economic system estimates. For the reason that SQ5 would not goad you into driving with gusto, you may don’t have any bother matching the 18 miles per gallon metropolis, 24 mpg freeway and 20 mpg mixed scores. In actual fact, after every week of testing, I averaged 24 mpg. You will not get that in a GLC43 or X3 M40i. Then once more, you will not be having as a lot enjoyable.

The turbo V6 is {powerful}, however a little bit too quiet.

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Fittingly, I suppose, the SQ5 would not look all that sporty, although I am not too upset about that. The usual Q5 is a good-looking factor, and the SQ5-specific updo is tasteful. The decrease air intakes look considerably extra aggressive, and 20-inch wheels come commonplace, with bigger 21s obtainable should you’ve bought further money to blow. The SQ5 will get all the base Q5’s 2021 mannequin yr styling enhancements, too, together with redesigned headlights with commonplace LED illumination and a modestly tweaked rear bumper and diffuser. There are some new colours on the choices record, as nicely, together with the superior District Inexperienced you see right here.

The SQ5’s inside is so much like its exterior: Clear and good-looking, with little in the way in which of superfluous aptitude. This take a look at automobile is unfortunately awash in a sea of black and grey supplies, which makes the entire cabin look fairly darkish and drab. (Bolder shade schemes can be found.) Additionally, there are 5 or 6 totally different shades of grey on this instance — the sprint, door playing cards, seize handles, seats, carbon fiber trim and piano black console are all ever so barely totally different from each other. If this monochromatic tapestry is meant so as to add visible curiosity to the SQ5’s cabin, it positively would not work. At the very least all of the stuff you’ll really contact are genuinely prime quality, and the buttons and knobs on the middle console have a satisfying click on to their motion.

Up entrance, the leather-based sport seats are tremendous comfortable for lengthy drives. Rear passengers will not have something to complain about, both, until they’re 95th-percentile tall. The SQ5 affords 25.eight cubic toes of cargo house with its rear seats upright, which is greater than the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 however lower than the BMW X3 M40i. Fold the seats flat and you will have 54.1 cubic toes of house to work with, though on this configuration, each the BMW and Mercedes supply extra room.

As colourful because the German winter sky.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Q5’s 2021 mannequin yr replace brings up to date infotainment tech to the occasion, with Audi’s MIB Three multimedia system housed on a 10.1-inch touchscreen atop the sprint. I really like this interface — it is neatly organized, colourful and shiny, and most significantly, fast to reply to inputs. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are each commonplace, as nicely, although solely the previous connects wirelessly.

The infotainment is not the cabin’s most spectacular little bit of tech, by the way in which. That honor goes to Audi’s Digital Cockpit, which is not a brand new little bit of infotainment wizardry, nevertheless it’s nonetheless among the best. A 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster sits behind the steering wheel, providing Google Earth maps and tons of auto and multimedia knowledge. You possibly can handle quite a lot of the infotainment heavy lifting via this interface, with out ever needing to take your arms off the steering wheel.

Talking of tech, the SQ5 comes with lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and ahead collision warning commonplace. You have to pony up for the next trim stage to get niceties like full-speed adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, parking help or a 360-degree digital camera, which appears like a bummer on a luxurious SUV that begins at $53,995 (together with $1,095 for vacation spot). I will remind all the luxurious carmakers that quite a lot of these choices come commonplace on less-expensive Hondas, however no matter, you do you.

I am actually into this new District Inexperienced paint.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Go for the gold and you’ll possibility a 2021 SQ5 Status like my take a look at automobile up above $70,000. With issues just like the S Sport pack, dynamic steering, 21-inch wheels, Black Optic pack and Nappa leather-based seats, the SQ5 pictured right here comes out to $71,790 delivered. Oh, and in order for you all this SQ5 goodness in a extra enticing however much less useful form, Audi will promote you the entire equipment and caboodle in swanky new Sportback guise for an additional $3,200.

In the end, as a result of the SQ5 lacks a lot in the way in which of uncooked leisure, I am probably not positive it affords sufficient of a draw over the usual $44,395 Q5. Really, if it is outright energy you are after, the Q5 plug-in hybrid needs to be your jam, with 362 hp, 369 lb-ft, 19 miles of all-electric vary and higher total gasoline economic system. Did I point out the Q5 PHEV additionally prices $1,000 much less? The 2021 SQ5 is a champ at its core competencies, however with none added emotion, I am unable to consider a purpose to get it over Audi’s already-excellent Q5.

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