2021 Audi SQ5: Sporty, Practical and Elegant
Back in January 13, 2021, Audi was announced two all-new variants for its best-selling, recently refreshed Audi Q5 model line, the 2021 Q5 Sportback and the 2021 SQ5 Sportback that I am testing this week. The arrival of these new variants brings customers expressive coupé design to an SUV with a high level of everyday usability. The Sportback variants maintain benchmark-setting connectivity services, including the new MIB 3 infotainment hardware, Audi Virtual cockpit fully digital instrument cluster, and head-up display.
This coupe with dynamic lines addresses customers who appreciate not just an expressive design and technical innovation but also a sporty character and high level of everyday usability.
The Audi SQ5 Sportback exudes a powerful presence. Large air inlets flank the octagonal Singleframe. The headlights with their distinctive daytime running light signature feature Matrix LED technology. The continuous, elegantly sweeping shoulder line emphasizes the wheels and with them the quattro all-wheel drive. The side sill trim on the doors imbues the CUV with stability and robustness. The greenhouse extends low over the body and begins its downward slope early so that the third side window tapers sharply to the rear. The starkly sloped rear window and the seemingly high-mounted rear bumper give the SQ5 Sportback a dynamic and powerful appearance.
Audi offers the rear lights featuring innovative digital OLED technology which in our Prestige model was included. Each light includes three organic light-emitting diodes, which radiate an especially homogeneous red light. Each LED is divided into six segments, which can be controlled individually. Customers can select from three rear light signatures when ordering their vehicle, each of which includes a dynamic coming and leaving home lighting scenario. An additional sporty graphic is displayed when “dynamic” mode is chosen in the Audi drive select system. If another vehicle approaches the stationary SQ5 Sportback from the rear to within less than two meters, all OLED segments illuminate, providing proximity detection. The prerequisite for this function is that the car has one of the tow assistance systems – either Adaptive Cruise Control or Active Lane Assist – on board which our car does.
On the Road
The 2021 Audi SQ5 Prestige is a sweet toy; 3.0-liter V6 engine comes standard, putting out a healthy 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet – though those numbers are down on the X3 M40i’s 382 hp and 368 lb-ft, as well as the GLC 43’s 385 hp and 384 lb-ft. Still, blasting the SQ5 away from a stoplight is an enjoyable experience on Dynamic mode. Its eight-speed Tiptronic® transmission is well-suited for the low-end torque of the turbocharged V6 and its gears provide quick, smooth shifts, and propels the car from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
The SQ5 Sportback also comes standard-equipped with adaptive dampers and offers an available air suspension that allows for adjustment of the ride height in addition to the firmness of the dampers, controllable via the standard Audi drive select. Available dynamic steering offers a variable steering ratio that adjusts based on vehicle speed and the Audi drive select setting.
The interior of our Audi SQ5 Sportback is designed in dark gray colors, the illuminated aluminum door sill trims are decorated with S logos. There is a choice of three upholstery options for the electrically adjustable sport seats with the embossed S logos. Contrasting stitching adorns the seats and the steering wheel; a massage function and seat ventilation are available on request, which our Prestige was missing. Brushed aluminum is standard for the inlays, the alternatives are two carbon designs and a piano finish, like the one we drove.
The Audi SQ5 Sportback has an unexpectedly roomy cabin. The sloping roof taxes headroom only slightly, with 38.0 inches up front and 37.5 inches in the rear representing losses of 0.1-inch and 0.2-inch.
For the controls, displays and infotainment, the SQ5 Sportback takes over for the SQ5 the third-generation modular infotainment system or MIB 3. When fully equipped, the digital Audi virtual cockpit plus with 12.3-inch display and a head-up display are also on board. The multifunction steering wheel plus enables the safe and simple operation of the most important functions and displays.
The MMI navigation plus infotainment system is paired with a 10.1-inch touch display. Its natural language voice control uses the knowledge of the cloud and can be activated by saying “Hey Audi.” Many vehicle settings can be stored in individual user profiles and saved on the myAudi customer portal in the cloud. Some online services from the broad portfolio of Audi connect use the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet for functions that include alerting drivers to hazards. The myAudi app tightly connects the car with the customer’s smartphone. Optional hardware modules such as the Audi phone box or the Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System supplement the infotainment system.
For those looking for a good looking, stylish and sporty daily ride, the 2021 is without doubt the perfect ride. The Quattro technology and safety make this vehicle a great choice. Worthy every single penny.
Price: $73,990 (tested)
Highs: Great acceleration. Sport adaptive suspension. Excellent infotainment and sound system.
Lows: Audi phone box and the lack of storage in the armrest area.
Summary: Everything you’d expect on a luxury SUV: Prestige Package, B&O Sound System with 3D sound, Auto-dimming, power exterior folding mirrors with memory, SiriusXM, Matrix-design LED headlights, OLED taillights, top view camera, park assist, head-up display, LED interior lighting package, MMI Navigation plus, Audi connect Prime & Plus, Audi active line assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam assist, Leatherette covered center console and door armrest, Dual pane acoustic glass for front side windows, Audi phone box, Heated steering wheel with hands-on detection, Heated rear seats, Heated and cooled front cup holder, Sport Package, Dynamic steering, Fine Nappa leather seats, Black optic package, Carbon Atlas inlays, Rear side airbags…