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I Have a Problem With the Back of the 2019 Audi SQ5

Today, we’re going to talk about something that is on everyone’s mind these days: exhaust outlets. For many of the cars and drivers on the road, you wouldn’t give a second thought. Then there are those that catch your eye. Many of those are for the better, some for the worse. Then there’s the baffling Audi SQ5.

Examples of the better ones? Ohh, man, where to start! There’s the center exit of the Mini or the Jaguar E-Type. The top exit of the McLaren 600LT or the Porsche 918 Spyder. Or, how about the quad center exhaust of the new Chevrolet C7 Corvette? My current favorite though is the higher-up rear exhaust, like the McLaren 720S and the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. The king of those is probably the Pagani Huayra.

Mini Cooper, McLaren 600LT, Chevrolet Corvette, Pagani Huayra

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the imposters. For instance, the Lexus IS-F, which has a cool looking, quad-outlet design. However, it’s not real. Behind that facade you’ll find a normal, dual exhaust setup. A little disappointing, but, not necessarily the end of the world, as you have to get close to it in order to tell. In defense of the Lexus, though, the people that might care have already watched Jeremy Clarkson’s review on “Top Gear” and know it’s fake — and the people that probably don’t care won’t be paying attention, so they aren’t going to notice.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, don’t worry, we’re almost there! The point of the above is to remind us that there are so many options. Big, small, left, right, both, center, up top, down low, and you can even go side-pipes, fender exit (Mercedes-McLaren SLR, anyone?), or you can pretend you’re a semi-driver and put some smoke stacks on your lifted Chevrolet Silverado.

Now, take a look at the lead picture and let’s see if we can figure out what caused Audi to go with the design chosen for the 2019 SQ5. If you can’t see what I’m on about, I can’t blame you, it can be hard to see unless you look closer. Here’s a closer picture:

Audi SQ5 exhaust

What you are looking at here is a fully fake exhaust outlet. There are four chrome rings in about the right place for the exhaust to come out, except if you look closely, they’re fake. Not Lexus IS-F fake, where the real outlet is hiding behind the one you see, but, closed off completely. The actual exhaust is hidden behind the bumper, pointed down like some luxury cars, and I can’t figure out why!

I mean, if the SQ5 was a luxury car, sure, fine, whatever. But, it’s meant to be the sporty version of the Q5. The one with the big engine and, presumably, the big exhaust note. If you buy a regular Q5, you probably just want a nice midsize crossover with good fuel economy. If you spring the extra for the SQ5, you most likely want something a little more special. That turbocharged V6’s engine sound, fed through a louder exhaust, out the rear bumper so everyone can hear it, for instance — and not one pointed down at the ground. And, if you’re not going to bother with the visible exhaust outlets, why bother putting fake ones? Clearly, someone on the internet is surely going to see it and complain! For reference, here’s the back of the previous generation SQ5 — and I know which one I would rather!


Maybe it’s just me, but, I don’t get it. Put it out the back like the sporty crossover it’s meant to be, or hide it. But, there’s no point in faking it. Unless there is a point, and I just can’t figure it out. If you know of one, I’m all ears!

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  1. One of my pet peeves is the quad exhaust setup on the new Camry. Why? just why would you put quad exhausts on a Camry, for goodness’ sake! It’s a Camry! Even if it does have 301 hp, it should have at most TWO exhausts. Toyota, please reserve quad exhausts for the high-performance models.

    • I think quad exhausts loom awesome in the Camry! The Hyundai Sonata in the right trim also has quad exhausts. They are not even fake which is kinda cool. 

  2. The reason is simple: true enthusiasts don’t buy as many vehicles as braggarts and other insecure men. “I really liked Tom’s Q5, but I wanted something a little nicer” sells a lot more cars than a performance exhaust. Someday a manufacturer will just start painting the MSRP on the side of their top-end cars as a $20k option. 

  3. I always hate when they make a shape(oval, hexagon, etc) and then they just stick the round pipe through the shape.  At least tie it all together.  I guess this is the evolution of that, lets make a nice design element and then not bother using it at all.

    On second thought, while I agree this design is stupid, I do think it doesn’t look at bad as the round pipe through the otherwise shaped opening.
    • Amen to that. It is downright cheapness. And you can’t unsee it once you know. At least with the Audi there was more a definite decision, not some half hearted attempt. I was going to ask if it was definitely a US spec pic because you can get a diesel SQ5 in Europe and it’s quite common for manufacturers to point diesel exhausts down to the ground; surely clear evidence that they’ve always known diesel is a not that clean 

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