If you’re looking for information on a newer Audi SQ5, we’ve published an updated review: 2018 Audi SQ5 Review
The 2017 Audi SQ5 offers the best of three worlds. It comes with high-performance abilities, the much-loved elevated driving position and practicality of a crossover, and smart Audi design. Admittedly, this first generation of Q5, on which the SQ5 is based, is being replaced when the 2018 model year rolls around. But for a premium compact crossover with extra sportiness, this is still a great choice.
Whenever Audi makes an S version, it doesn’t mean huge power, but a well-chosen amount. This is complemented by strong brakes and a dedicated suspension, while the technology and luxury levels also receive a boost. As a complete package, the SQ5 works well.
Although there aren’t many juiced-up premium compact crossovers, the SQ5 is the oldest in the field, and so a lot of features we’ve come to expect at this level — such as advanced safety features and a USB port — are not available.
What’s New for 2017?
The Prestige trim level receives adaptive cruise control and variable-ratio steering (what Audi calls "Dynamic Steering") as standard. And a Black Optic appearance package becomes available for Prestige versions. See the 2017 Audi SQ5 models for sale near you
What We Like
Fun drive; quality interior; satisfying supercharged V6
What We Don’t
Small cargo area; unremarkable 4-cylinder performance; ride quality can be firm; no USB connectivity; some current safety technologies lacking
The SQ5 has a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that generates 354 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. This goes to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Audi SQ5 comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Premium Plus ($54,250) has 20-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, roof rails, panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, quad exhaust tailpipes, heated/self-dimming/power-folding mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, keyless entry with push-button ignition, tilt/telescope/flat-bottomed steering wheel, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather/synthetic suede upholstery, Drive Select (providing adjustment for steering, transmission and throttle responses), slide/recline/split/fold rear seats, Bluetooth, MMI infotainment system with 6.5-in display, 10-speaker audio setup, CD player, SD card reader, auxiliary audio input and satellite radio.
The Technology options bundle brings a rearview camera, parking sensors front and rear, blind-spot monitoring, Wi-Fi, navigation, voice control, upgraded MMI system with 7-in display, Bluetooth audio streaming, HD radio and a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker/505-watt audio system.
Prestige ($61,750) has all the above as standard, plus variable-ratio steering, adaptive cruise control, heated/cooled cup holders, manual sunshades for the rearward side windows and adaptive headlights.
The new Black Optic appearance option package for the Prestige version brings 20- or 21-in alloy wheels with a high-gloss black finish, along with side-mirror housings, door handles, grille, roof rails, rear spoiler and a rear diffuser also finished in black.
Maximum cargo space is 57.3 cu ft., which is somewhat stingy for the class. And even though 29.1 cu ft. behind the rear seats sounds more than adequate, it’s a challenge to fit two sets of golf clubs into this relatively shallow area.
The SQ5 features standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and six airbags (front, front side, full-length side curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional. A blind-spot monitoring system is available, but the SQ5 is generally short on high-tech safety features compared with newer competitors.
In government crash tests, the SQ5 scored four out of five stars overall, with four stars for front impact protection and five stars for side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the regular Q5 its highest rating of Good in every category and made it a Top Safety Pick+.
Behind the Wheel
The SQ5 enjoys sportscar-like performance, including a 5-second sprint from standstill to 60 miles per hour. The sport seats provide excellent lateral support, making the driver feel even more confident through the corners. The ride gets really firm with those 21-in wheels, though.
The cabin’s materials are of excellent quality, but the ergonomics don’t always hit the right notes. For example, it’s a two-step process to adjust the climate control’s fan speed.
While the bottom cushions of the rear seats are lower than some might prefer, passenger space back there is satisfactory. The SQ5 makes the most of its compact rear compartment by providing slide and recline functions for the back seat, plus the rare luxury of separate rear-temperature controls.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 BMW X4 M40i — This athletic X4 isn’t quite as practical as the SQ5, but it does have BMW’s legendary handling abilities and a 355-hp inline-6 engine. Its interior is also on a par with Audi’s quality.
2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 — Available as a regular crossover or in fastback "coupe" style, the GLC 43 enjoys 362 hp.
2017 Jaguar F-PACE 35t R Sport — The F-PACE is all-new, has a sublime suspension, a great supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine making 380 hp, and plenty of space.
2017 Porsche Macan S — The Macan and SQ5 share the same platform. This 340-hp Porsche is not quite as roomy (the roof slopes more), but it’s a thrill to drive and the interior is beautiful.
Used BMW X5 M — A monster of a machine for new SQ5 money.
A new generation of Q5 arrives for the 2018 model year. The next SQ5 will have more torque (369 lb-ft), but the same amount of horsepower. So if a sweet deal is more of a priority than the latest technology, then snap up an outgoing 2017 model. Find an Audi SQ5 for sale