2016 Audi SQ5 Review

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2016 Audi SQ5 Overview

The supercharged Audi SQ5 was already quick, especially for an SUV with 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats. Like the four-ring marketers cleverly wrote on audiusa.com, “the SQ5 knows how to haul in more ways than one.” But the changes made to the second-generation of Q5 models—arriving this year—make the 2016 Audi SQ5 even more nimble, not to mention more handsome and technologically savvy.

Like the rest of the new Q5 models, the SQ5 will now be built on a lightweight MLB-evo platform. That switch will shed about 220 pounds from the SQ5’s weight and should help improve acceleration, handling, and efficiency. Additionally, the manufacturing will now be done in Audi’s new facility in San Jose, Mexico.

Second-generation changes specific to the SQ5 include available red brake calipers, which add just a touch of flash winking out from behind the five-spoke wheels. Jet Gray diamond-stitched seats are also available for the 2016 SQ5, as are 20-inch wheels. To further increase the already deft handling of the SQ5, adaptive damping suspension is also now available as a stand-alone option on Premium Plus models.

The SQ5, along with the other Q5 models, gets some updates to the exterior styling lines, trimming away some of the baby-fat curves to create a more angular look. The bars on the grille have been flipped and now run horizontally (as opposed to vertically), a change that complements the new headlights, which are now a touch narrower. The SQ5 still comes with the unique grille frame, exterior mirror housings, extended side sills, quad exhaust, and rear spoiler that help differentiate it from its Q5 cousins.

The interior has been updated with an eye toward clean and practical, echoing the changes seen in the new Audi TT. The understated yet elegant cockpit also gets an upgraded navigation system, and the available Navigation Plus package now offers Audi connect. This features 4G connectivity for up to eight wireless devices, traffic information, weather updates, social media integration and Google Earth satellite imagery. The interior features that distinguish the SQ5 from the other Q5 models include a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, 12-way power front sport seats and unique decorative trim inlays.

There is one engine choice for both the Premium Plus (suggested MSRP of $53,300) and Prestige (suggested MSRP of $60,800) trims: a supercharged, direct injection 3.0-liter V6 that produces 354 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive. Stats for the 2016 SQ5 haven’t been released, but the 2015 models got 17 city/24 highway/19 combined mpg and went from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds. That last number should be a touch lower this year with the new lightweight platform.

The five-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension both get unique SQ5 sport calibration to deliver a firmer feel, which allows for more aggressive cornering. That blends nicely with the quattro all-wheel drive that is tailored specifically for the SUV and automatically delivers power to the wheels with the most grip, maximizing traction in all weather conditions.

Standard features for the Premium Plus trim include Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, power and heated folding exterior mirrors, front and rear foglights, roof rails, heated windshield washer nozzles, three-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, heated and power front seats with memory, Alcantara leather upholstery, a 10-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, and a 90-day subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Additions when you move up to the Premium trim include adaptive headlights, aluminum trim around windows, a power tailgate, thermo cupholders, Navigation Plus with Audi connect, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System, and a parking assist system with a rear view camera and front and rear acoustic parking sensors.

Standard safety features for the SQ5 include electronic stability control with offroad mode and traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-pressure distribution and brake assist, tire-pressure monitor and a full complement of air bags.

Updated
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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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