2020 Audi SQ5

2020 Audi SQ5 Review: Clinical Performance Crossover

A strong seller for Audi, the Q5 luxury crossover proved nearly as popular as the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class last year. In SQ5 form, the Audi is a rather rapid means of completing the school run, thanks to 349 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of 5.1 seconds. As quick as it is, it isn't as fast as the most powerful X3 and GLC models, but there is more power in reserve here than most will make use of. Despite its impressive performance credentials, the SQ5 maintains the compliant ride quality of lesser Q5s and also gets a typically Audi-solid cabin that feels like it will last for many years. Ticking all the boxes you'd expect, it's the SQ5's shrinking-violet demeanor that's hard to ignore. Both the M-badged X3s and AMG GLCs come across as more exciting, both visually and from behind the wheel, and without an RS Q5 above the SQ5, the fastest version of Audi's crossover seems a tad underendowed. These subjective criticisms aside, it's tough to find fault with the SQ5.

2020 Audi SQ5 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 SQ5?

The current Q5 was introduced as recently as 2018 to the USA, so Audi hasn't made many significant changes to the SQ5 for the 2020 model year. It now gets high-beam assist as standard, while the Convenience Plus Package with the Audi phone box (signal booster and wireless charging) and front/rear parking sensors is standard on the Premium trim. An available Driver Assistance Package bundles together adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and active lane assist - it's available on the Premium Plus trim.

Pros and Cons

  • Sophisticated, understated style
  • Quiet cabin trimmed in upscale materials
  • Plenty of power from V6 engine
  • Security of quattro AWD system
  • Agile enough for a luxury crossover
  • Three trims are rare for a German performance variant
  • Not as thrilling as quickest X3/GLC rivals
  • Trunk is on the small side compared to competitors
  • On the pricey side

Best Deals on SQ5

2020 Audi SQ5 Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.0T Premium quattro
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$52,900
3.0T Prestige quattro
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$52,900
3.0T Premium Plus quattro
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$52,900

SQ5 Exterior

The SQ5's classy design will be considered a touch too anonymous by some, while others will appreciate Audi's restraint. Being an S-badged Audi, the SQ5 gets sportier adornments like an S roof spoiler, unique front/rear fascias and side sills, and 20-inch alloy wheels. Full LED headlights and LED taillights are standard, as are a power tailgate, aluminum roof rails, and rear privacy glass. The Premium Plus trim adds a panoramic sunroof.

2020 Audi SQ5 Front Angle View Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Rear Angle View Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Front Angle View 1 Audi
See All 2020 Audi SQ5 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Measuring 183.9 inches in length, 65.3 inches in height, and 84.3 inches in width (including the side mirrors), the SQ5 isn't quite as long as a BMW X3, but it's just about as wide. The wheelbase stretches to 111.2 inches and, when loaded, the ground clearance works out to 8.2 inches. Curb weight is 4,321 pounds, a mere four lbs heavier than the comparable X3 M40i, which is also equipped with a six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

  • Length 183.9 in
  • Wheelbase 111.2 in
  • Height 65.3 in
  • Max Width 74.5 in
  • Front Width 63.9 in
  • Rear Width 63.6 in

Exterior Colors

The SQ5's color palette spans 11 unique shades. Only three of these won't cost you extra and they're Brilliant Black, Ibis White, and Quantum Gray. All other colors cost $595 extra, including the more flamboyant metallics like Azores Green, Matador Red, and Navarra Blue. Other added-cost hues are Florett Silver, Glacier White, Moonlight Blue, Mythos Black, and Daytona Gray Pearl.

  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect
  • Florett Silver Metallic
  • Glacier White Metallic
  • Moonlight Blue Metallic
  • Mythos Black Metallic
  • Navarra Blue Metallic
  • Azores Green Metallic
  • Matador Red Metallic
  • Brilliant Black
  • Ibis White
  • Quantum Gray

SQ5 Performance

The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine under the SQ5's hood generates 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. As usual for fast Audis, the brand's quattro all-wheel-drive system is employed and an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across all trims. Off the line, the SQ5 puts its power down cleanly, and will get from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds, before continuing on to a limited top speed of 155 mph. With all-season tires fitted, the top speed drops to 130 mph. While fast enough to scare a number of low-slung sports cars, the SQ5's rivals are even quicker: the X3 M40i does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and the ballistic X3 M Competition does the same sprint in four seconds dead, but that particular variant is much pricier than the SQ5. The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is also quicker, completing the benchmark sprint in 4.7 seconds. However, the SQ5 can tow 4,400 lbs, nearly 1,000 lbs more than the GLC 43.

2020 Audi SQ5 Front Angle View 2 Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Rear View Driving Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Brakes Audi

Engine and Transmission

Like its close BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals, the SQ5 uses a turbocharged six-cylinder engine. The 3.0-liter V6 TFSI engine has healthy peak outputs of 349 hp and 369 lb-ft, transferred to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is flexible and the torque comes on strongly from low down, and while there is a burly V6 sound, it doesn't provide the most ferocious off-the-mark getaways in this segment. But, in the real world, the SQ5's blend of smooth power delivery and effortless passing power is difficult to fault. The gearbox isn't bad, but again, it's not as quick-witted as BMW's eight-speeder, with shifts always unobtrusive but sometimes too slow when pressing on. The whole package is competent and rapid, but without that explosive edge that some enthusiasts may be on the hunt for. If you're moving up from a base Q5 (which has a 2.0-liter four-pot), the step-up in the SQ5's performance is certainly noticeable, though.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Agile and responsive, yet endowed with an absorbent ride, the SQ5 strikes an almost ideal dynamic balance. Along with quattro all-wheel-drive, the SQ5 gets an S-specific adaptive damping suspension, while a sport rear differential is available as an optional extra.

The steering is precise and enough weighting has been dialed into the system. With up to 85 percent of torque able to be directed to the rear wheels, it's a fun and engaging partner. The ride is more comfortable than in an X3 M, although the SQ5 doesn't power through hairpins with the same control as that SUV, and the same can be said when matched up against the sharper Porsche Macan. But on the highway, the SQ5's calm demeanor and the absence of road or tire noise in the cabin is appropriate for a luxury SUV at this level. An available adaptive air suspension allows you to adjust the steering, throttle, and transmission responses via Individual mode, giving you even more control over the Audi's behavior. Even without this upgrade, though, the SQ5 does pretty much everything you ask of it without kicking up a fuss. It's all typical Audi competence if just lacking the spark that's so prevalent in some competitors.

SQ5 Gas Mileage

According to EPA-rated estimates, the Audi SQ5 will return 18/23/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. An 18.5-gallon gas tank is fitted and, when filled to the brim with the recommended premium gasoline, a combined cruising range of approximately 370 miles should be achievable. However, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is not only more powerful but more economical on the highway as well - its gas mileage estimates work out to 18/24/21 mpg.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/23 mpg
* 2020 Audi SQ5 Prestige TFSI quattro AWD

SQ5 Interior

As usual, what stands out most about the SQ5's cabin is the exceptional quality of every fabric, button, and metallic accent. It all feels sturdy and built to last, so it's a bit disappointing that such a beautifully constructed interior comes off as rather bland. It's not unattractive, but neither does it do much to excite. The seats are a highlight though; they're trimmed in a mix of leather and Alcantara and both front chairs are eight-way power-adjustable. The seven-inch infotainment screen (pricier trims get an 8.3-inch screen) looks a bit last season, especially alongside Audi's latest systems, but it houses all the features you would expect. Second-row occupants aren't forgotten either, and they get a comfortable bench seat. These occupants will also benefit from the standard three-zone climate control system.

2020 Audi SQ5 Dashboard Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Front Seats Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Steering Wheel Audi
See All 2020 Audi SQ5 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The SQ5 seats five passengers and, by virtue of its dimensions, all have good leg- and headroom. The front seats are especially comfortable and supportive with a generous range of adjustment, but even those in the back get a comfy bench. While three adults can fit at the back, four will be more comfortable. Ingress and egress pose no issues, either, as the door openings are large enough to easily slide into the seats. For the driver, the SQ5's more traditional shape (none of that coupe-SUV madness here) ensures a clear view out, with a well-sized glasshouse and appreciably slim roof pillars making it easy to gauge the SQ5's extremities.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 40.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

On the base Premium SQ5, the seats are attractively upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara. Color choices are limited, though, with the only options being Black with Rock Gray stitching or Rotor Gray with Anthracite stitching. Brushed aluminum inlays are tastefully executed. The Premium Plus trim avails Nappa leather upholstery (a $1,000 option) and the addition of a Magma Red color that gives the conservative cabin a welcome lift. Carbon Atlas inlays are a $500 option. These upgrades are also available on the top-line Prestige trim. Further 'S' model adornments on all trims include stainless steel pedals and S line stainless steel door sill inlays - these inlays are also illuminated.

SQ5 Trunk and Cargo Space

With the rear seats in their usual configurations, the SQ5 has 25.1 cubic feet of trunk space available. One large suitcase and two medium-sized ones will fit, with room to spare for a few smaller, softer items. It's a good size, but not as commodious as the X3's 28.7 cubes. The SQ5 also has a load lip which means that items can't slide out of the trunk but need to be lifted up. At least a power tailgate is standard. With the 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats folded flat, the total cargo room expands to 53.1 cubes.

Storage space for smaller items is good, too, thanks to a medium-sized cubby beneath the center console armrest, a slim slot for your smartphone, and door pockets which are of a reasonable size. Twin cupholders are positioned behind the gear shifter, along with two more cupholders in the rear center-seat armrest.

2020 Audi SQ5 Maximum Cargo Space Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Wheel Audi
2020 Audi SQ5 Rear Angle View 1 Audi

SQ5 Infotainment and Features

Features

All SQ5 trims come with a comprehensive spec sheet. The Premium ships with tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, ambient LED interior lighting, cruise control, push-button ignition, and hill descent control. As mentioned, the comfortable leather/Alcantara seats are a highlight, and in front, they get eight-way power adjustment (with driver's four-way power lumbar adjustment) and comfort headrests. Safety equipment comprises the obligatory rearview camera along with pre sense basic (collision detection) and pre sense city (forward collision warning with emergency braking). Moving up to the Premium Plus adds wireless charging, front and rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Prestige gets a head-up display, a power-adjustable steering column, and Audi park steering assist.

Infotainment

The MMI system comprises a seven-inch color screen that is reasonably intuitive to operate and displays high quality images. The top two trims get a larger 8.3-inch display. Standard features include HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, front USB ports, SiriusXM, and voice controls. Moving up to the Premium Plus trim adds Audi's highly regarded virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch LCD display and navigation, which is shared with the Prestige. The lower two trims use a ten-speaker audio system, but the Prestige gets a brilliant 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit that takes sound reproduction to a much higher level.

SQ5 Problems and Reliability

While the new Audi SQ5 is recall-free in the US, last year's model wasn't so lucky - according to the NHTSA, it was affected by three problems. The first recall was for a brake master cylinder casting that could be too short, leading to a loss of braking efficacy. Other issues included wheel arch cover trim that may detach, and possible damage to a deployed front passenger airbag. Despite these cases, Audi's build integrity and reliability expectations are of a high standard and should serve SQ5 owners well further down the line.

Audi's new vehicle warranty runs for a competitive four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Four years of roadside assistance is also included, as is a 12-year warranty for corrosion perforation.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

SQ5 Safety

While the Audi SQ5 hasn't undergone review by the NHTSA for its crashworthiness, the agency did review the Q5 SUV which earned a full five stars for overall safety. The SUV attained five stars for every test besides the rollover evaluation, for which it got four stars. These results are backed up by the IIHS' findings, where the 2020 Q5 attained a maximum Good rating for every major crashworthiness test. The SUV's headlights were, however, only rated as Marginal.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Along with six standard airbags, the SQ5 can also be ordered with rear side airbags for an extra cost of $350. Other safety gear includes hill descent control, tire pressure monitoring, an electronic stability control system (with an off-road mode), and ABS/EBD brakes. Audi's driver assistance suite comprises pre sense basic and pre sense city - these suites encompass the likes of forward collision warning, emergency braking assist, and pre-collision preparation. Cruise control, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing wipers are also fitted, while the Premium Plus trim gains rear cross-traffic assist (Audi pre sense rear), vehicle exit warning, and front/rear acoustic parking sensors. Finally, the Prestige trim equips the SQ5 with a head-up display, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Audi SQ5 a good SUV?

Audi rarely produces a genuine dud, and it's not about to start with the 2020 SQ5. From the large single-frame grille in front to the subtle SQ5 badge at the back, it's a typically polished Audi creation. The interior is carefully constructed, it rides smoothly and handles precisely, and the V6 engine elevates this model above other Q5s, turning a family SUV into something that can also embarrass most hot hatches. The only issue, really, is that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche all make similarly priced SUVs that are faster, handle more sharply, and tug at the heartstrings a bit harder. There is no RS Q5 to take on those hot SUVs at this price point, and it feels like a task too big for the rapid but demure SQ5. If the SQ5 were significantly cheaper than these rivals, we'd have no problem recommending it. But as it stands now, we'd recommend a test drive in a Porsche Macan or a BMW X3 M40i before signing on the dotted line for the accomplished, but ultimately outgunned, Audi SQ5 SUV.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Audi SQ5?

Available in three trims, the 2020 Audi SQ5 starts with the base model Premium, which carries an MSRP of $52,900. Next is the Premium Plus priced at $56,900, and the Prestige tops the range at $60,650. These prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and the brand's destination charge of $995. In comparison with the Audi SQ5's price, the more powerful BMW X3 M40i costs $55,900, while the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 goes for $59,500.

2020 Audi SQ5 Models

The Audi SQ5 is available in a trio of trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All are powered by the same 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged engine with outputs of 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel-drive are standard, too.

The Premium trim gets full LED headlights, an S model roof spoiler, 20-inch alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails, and aluminum-optic exterior trim. Inside, the seats are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara, while the driver and front passenger chairs have heating and eight-way power-adjustment. Ambient LED lighting lends a classy atmosphere to the cabin, and comfort is enhanced via three-zone automatic climate control. On the tech front, a seven-inch infotainment screen can be used to control Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the ten-speaker audio system.

The mid-range Premium Plus boasts Audi's 12.3-inch virtual cockpit and the MMI navigation system. It also gets front and rear parking sensors, wireless charging, Audi side assist, Audi pre sense rear, and rear cross-traffic assist. An airier cabin is made possible with the addition of a panoramic roof.

Topping the SQ5 range is the Prestige. It gets driver convenience features like a head-up display, Audi park steering assist, and a steering column that is power-adjustable. The lower trims' ten-speaker audio system is replaced here by a booming 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen unit.

See All 2020 Audi SQ5 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

On the base Premium, the Convenience Plus Package goes for $750 and adds the Audi phone box (with wireless charging capability and a signal booster) along with front and rear acoustic parking sensors. That's the only package available, but a few standalone options like rear side airbags ($350) and a panoramic sunroof ($1,450) can further customize your purchase.

On the Premium Plus and Prestige models, the Black Optic Package becomes available for $600 extra. It adds 20-inch dark wheels, matte black roof rails, and other black exterior trim to the exterior. The S Sport Package costs $3,000 and bundles together red brake calipers, an adaptive air suspension, and a sport rear differential. There is also a Cold Weather Package at $750 (heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel), a Warm Weather Package at $950 (ventilated Milano leather front seats), and the Driver Assistance Package at $1,500 (adaptive cruise control and active lane assist). Dynamic steering adds $1,150 to the base price.

🚗What Audi SQ5 Model Should I Buy?

Although the extra features of the Premium Plus and Prestige are appealing, the Audi SQ5 makes the most sense in its base trim, at $52,900. In this guise, it undercuts its more powerful BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals, while the upper trims seem especially expensive alongside them. The Premium is also pretty decently specified, although we do like the virtual cockpit which you can only get by upgrading to the Premium Plus. We'd specify our SQ5 in a stealthy Mythos Black Metallic ($595) and with the brighter Rotor Gray interior. If money is no object, then, by all means, go for the fully loaded SQ5 - just don't take on an X3 M40i or GLC 43 at the traffic lights.

Check out other Audi Q5 Styles

2020 Audi SQ5 Comparisons

BMW X3 BMW
Porsche Macan Porsche
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi SQ5349 hp18/23 mpg$52,900
BMW X3 248 hp25/29 mpg$41,950
Porsche Macan 248 hp19/23 mpg$50,900

2020 Audi SQ5 vs BMW X3

At $55,900, the X3 M40i is cheaper than the top two SQ5 trims, but more expensive than the base SQ5 Premium. Traditionally, BMW has a sportier bent than equivalent Audis and the same holds true here. Where the Audi is softer and has the edge for refinement, the X3 is a tauter, more urgent SUV. A lot of that has to do with the M40i's 382-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six motor, which launches the X3 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds. The X3 isn't a one-trick pony, though, and also has a spacious cabin for five, along with an industry-leading infotainment system and a larger trunk than the Audi's. The X3 also gets navigation and a panoramic moonroof as standard, features that you only get with the SQ5 Premium Plus. As much as we love the potent and rock-solid SQ5, these are performance SUVs, and in that respect that X3 M40i is simply better.

See BMW X3 Review

2020 Audi SQ5 vs Porsche Macan

At just under $60,000, the Macan S comes in below the range-topping SQ5 Prestige. But how much difference does this slight decrease in price make? The Porsche counters the Audi's turbocharged V6 with one of its own - a single horsepower is all that separates these two and it's why they have identical claimed 0-60 mph times of 5.1 seconds, although the Macan S can do the sprint in 4.9 seconds when equipped with the available Sport Chrono Package. The SQ5 is more luxury-focused than the Macan S, with a larger trunk, a super quiet ride, and a bit more space at the back, whereas the Macan is like a pumped-up 911. Nothing in this segment handles as sweetly as the Macan, and the extra power from the S model allows drivers to further exploit that brilliant chassis. The Macan S also looks like a much more sporty, hunkered-down SUV, although the better-equipped SQ5 has superior cabin materials. Again, these are performance SUVs - if you wanted a comfortable family crossover and nothing more, you could just get a base version of one of these. But you don't - you also want to be entertained, and the Macan S does a much better job of that than the Audi.

See Porsche Macan Review

Audi SQ5 Popular Comparisons

2020 Audi SQ5 Video Review

Check out some informative Audi SQ5 video reviews below.

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