The powertrain of the 2018 model consists of a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 354 horsepower and 369 lb. ft. of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission then sends the power through an all-wheel-drive system. The six-cylinder powerplant delivers the grunt with certainty throughout the rev range. Despite the switch to a turbo from last generation’s supercharger, turbo lag is nowhere to be found and the transmission performed without a hitch. Launching to 60 mph from a standstill took a little over five seconds, a respectable figure in the crossover SUV category. Handling was on the sportier side as it remained focused through the turn. There is slight body roll when really pushing the limits of its cornering skills. The steering is accurate and the steering effort is weighted just right. That meant it was easier to maneuver without feeling too light. Stopping power delivered by the brakes is already impressive in the Q5, and the SQ5 retains those same traits. The linear progress of the braking force is delivered by a pedal that is firm and easy to modulate. Stopping from 70 mph to a halt required 148 feet, retaining the above average performance in terms of braking.
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The base Premium Plus trim comes standard with LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, adaptive suspension, power liftgate, automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, SD card reader, Bluetooth, HD radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an infotainment system with 7-inch display and ten-speaker sound system. The Prestige trim builds on the Premium Plus trim and adds a digital instrument cluster, touchpad controller, full-color heads-up display, navigation, and an infotainment system with an 8.3-inch touchscreen and 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Some standard features of the Prestige trim are options for the Premium Plus trim. The S Sport package adds an adaptive air suspension, driving modes, and upgraded performance parts. The Driver Assistance package adds several advanced safety and driver aids. Options that are available include ventilated front sports seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.
The 2018 SQ5 is based on the Q5 SUV that has been tested by the NHTSA. It earned a 5-star rating for the frontal crash test, a 5-star rating for the side crash test, and a 4-star rating for the rollover test. Overall, it got a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS also tested the 2018 Q5 model and it achieved “Good” scores for crashworthiness tests and “Superior” for the front crash prevention. Overall, it attained a Top Safety Pick recommendation from the IIHS. Advanced safety and driver aids that come with the base trim include parking sensors, low-speed collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Stepping up to the next trim now include options such as a top-down parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, automatic high beams and speed limit info.
The 2018 model has a 183.9-inch length, a 74.5-inch width, 65.3-inch height and a 111.2-inch wheelbase. The 2018 model is based on the Q5 which has been redesigned this year as it enters the second generation. Very little distinguish the two, apart from the badges of SQ5 with its iconic red tilted block. The front fascia is highly dominated by horizontal lines portrayed in chrome and silver roof rails come standard. Overall, it resembles a smaller version of its big SUV brother, the Q7. The Premium Plus and Prestige trims come standard with 20-inch wheels and can be specified with 21-inch wheels.
Entering the SQ5 is a breeze with the capability to adjust the ride height with the adaptive suspension. It is also essentially the same with the Q5, having a generous opening for the front and rear doors. Fortunately, they are also short enough that opening them in tighter parking areas isn’t much of a worry. Legroom and headroom are more than sufficient and has a good allowance for movement. There is seating for up to five people inside and the superb seat comfort from the Q5 remain here. They are relaxed enough for longer trips but didn’t flatten out to induce aches. The seats in the second row weren’t as contoured for the body and could be more ergonomic, but there were no signs of discomfort at all. As expected for Audi, the leather trim is neatly executed and feels premium to the touch. While showing signs of sportiness in its handles, the ride quality is also soft enough for more laid back driving. The impacts from road imperfections were dampened just enough such that it wasn’t harsh in the cabin. Noise from the outside is also reduced greatly that contributes to the plush ambiance inside.
Behind the second row of seats is 26.8 cu. ft. of space available for cargo, and once the seats are folded down space expands to 60.4 cu. ft.