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2021 Audi SQ5 / SQ5 Sportback

Starting at $53,995

2021 audi sq5 front

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  • Highs Handsomely-equipped cabin, comfortable ride, decent fuel economy for a performance SUV.
  • Lows Not overly spacious, turbo V-6 doesn't match rivals' horsepower, handling not as sharp as it could be.
  • Verdict As a performance SUV the SQ5 falls short, but as a posh and capable luxury ride it offers style, tech, and plenty of go-power.
By Drew Dorian


If the standard Q5 isn't powerful enough or sporty enough for you, Audi has an SUV that just might satisfy: the 2021 SQ5. There's also a new Sportback variant that offers a more rakish appearance. Like its four-cylinder Q5 stablemate, the SQ5 delivers a high-tech and feature-rich cabin, handsome styling, and refined road manners. Only this one comes with a lot more power under its hood: a 349-hp turbocharged V-6. Despite its extra oomph, the SQ5 is actually underpowered when compared to rivals such as the BMW X3 M, the Porsche Macan Turbo, and the Mercedes-AMG GLC-class. Neither is the SQ5 as crisp and athletic on a twisty road as those powerhouses. The silver lining is that the Audi offers more ride comfort, which may appeal to buyers who prefer comfort over maximum cornering grip.

What's New for 2021?

Like the regular Q5, the high-performance SQ5 receives a host of exterior updates, including an all-new Sportback variant, for 2021 to freshen its look. New exterior lighting elements, a tweaked grille and bumpers, and new wheel designs differentiate it from last year's model. The top-spec Prestige gets OLED taillights as standard, and two new colors join the palette: Ultra Blue and District Green.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Justifying the regular SQ5 Prestige model's cost premium is easy. It comes with more standard equipment than the rest of the lineup, including navigation, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo system, a power-adjustable steering column, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The SQ5 keeps things simple with one powertrain. Audi's throaty turbocharged V-6 makes good power, and standard Quattro all-wheel drive puts that power to the road. This dynamic duo is let down occasionally by its eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be slow to change gears and sometimes serves up syrupy shifts. The SQ5's 5.1-second zero-to-60-mph run is objectively quick, but it's not quite as speedy as the 4.3-second effort of the GLC43. With its accurate, firm steering, there's plenty of fun to be had tossing the SQ5 through the twisties, especially if equipped, as our test vehicle was, with the optional torque-vectoring rear differential. Even entry-level SQ5s have a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that can direct up to 85 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels. The SQ5's ride is comfortable—a compliment in this class—but a little too soft for true performance driving. We suspect that most buyers in this segment would be perfectly happy with the SQ5's straight-line speed and its pothole-vanquishing ride, but uncompromising shoppers should stick with the 10Best-winning Porsche Macan.

2021 audi sq5 rearView Photos

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The SQ5's EPA fuel-economy ratings aren't particularly impressive, but most competitors have similar numbers. Also, the SQ5 outperformed said numbers in our real-world highway fuel-economy test. Our Prestige test vehicle delivered an impressive 28 mpg highway over the course of 200 miles at a steady 75 mph, outpacing even the Cadillac XT5 which offers nowhere near the same amount of performance as the Audi.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The SQ5's exterior may be a little dull, unless you opt for the sexier Sportback body style. But inside, both come standard with sculpted sport seats and their available quilted-leather coverings leave no doubt as to this crossover's upscale intentions. Heated, power-adjustable front seats are standard in every SQ5, as are three-zone automatic climate control and Audi's practical, attractive design. Other comforts will cost extra and can include heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and additional leather trim for the front row. We fit the same six carry-on boxes into the SQ5's 27-cubic-foot cargo area as we did in the Macan's 18-cubic-foot luggage compartment. Call that an impressive result for the Macan or a disappointing one for the SQ5, but either way, it puts the Audi near the bottom of its class for real-world carrying capability. The Sportback variant reduces storage space behind the rear seats by 3 cubes (25 total), and folding them flat opens up 52 cubes of cargo volume.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The SQ5's standard infotainment offerings include two USB ports, three 12-volt outlets, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. By choosing the mid-range Premium Plus or the top Prestige version, drivers can enjoy premium features such as a Wi-Fi hotspot and Audi's Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display. Among other tricks, this upgrade to the gauge-cluster display provides a satellite street view of the directions from the MMI's navigation system, so drivers never need to guess whether they're on the right track. This is a little gimmicky in a world where nearly everyone's pocket holds a GPS-equipped smartphone, but it's a trick that (for now) places Audi a cut above the competition. Added USB ports for back-seat passengers would be welcome.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Audi provides several collision-avoidance technologies as standard in this model, with more driver-assistance features available to those who are willing to pay for them. For more information on the SQ5's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard front and rear automated emergency braking
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Available adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Audi's warranty coverage tracks closely with that of most competitors, but it provides no complimentary scheduled maintenance visit, compared with the five years of maintenance offered by the Jaguar F-Pace.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance


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