In the not too recent past, it used it used to be that you had to make a choice — do you want a competent all-weather, four-season SUV, or do you want to have a fast and fun hot rod to hustle down the highway in? It was either something like a Ford Bronco or a Mustang, or maybe a Tahoe or a Corvette. But, with a car like the 2021 Audi SQ5, that choice is no longer one you have to make.
While the truck qualities are somewhat obvious, with plenty of ground clearance, Audi’s massively efficient all-wheel drive system, tons of cargo space, and room for the whole family, what you may not see right away is the hot rod beneath the sheetmetal. Powered by Audi’s seasoned 3.0-liter turbocharged DOHC V6 that produces a serious 349-horsepower and equally impressive 369 lb-ft of torque (couldn’t find one more horsepower and pound-foot to make those numbers even Audi, really?). That power is then routed through a wonderfully quick paddle-shifted 8-speed automatic, and then on to all four corners through that aforementioned all-wheel drive system.
Despite being a hefty 4,350 pounds, the Audi SQ5, makes the most of all those ponies. It gets up and runs from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and through the quarter mile in 14.9 seconds, on to a top speed of 155 mph. All that speed gets scrubbed off from 60-0 mph in just 115 feet, which rivals some sports cars weighing 1000 pounds less. Even the SQ5’s fuel economy feels more like an economy car than a sports car or an SUV, posting an impressive 18/24/20 city/highway/combined mpg. Out on the road, put the Audi SQ5 in Dynamic Mode, and the turn-ins are crisp, and the ride is taut. This truck feels like it’s always ready to leap forward, but it doesn’t ever feel like it’s sacrificing its smooth ride. But for true tranquility, put it into Comfort Mode and you will feel like you’re floating above the highway in the best way possible. The one demerit we can cite with the SQ5 is that its automatic start/stop function seems to be a little jumpy and wants to muscle in and kill the fun all too quickly. But thankfully, unlike so many other annoyances in life, this one is fully defeatable with the push of a button.
The Audi SQ5 adds luxury sedan to its list of car types it feels like. Thanks to tons of acoustic glass, the interior of the this Audi feels like being in a library out on the road, without the annoying old lady with the glasses shushing you. You can tune in to the large 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen to activate either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to listen to whatever you want through the fabulous 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, with no distractions from the outside world. The driver is also treated to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, along with fun accoutrements like LTE Wi-Fi, wireless charging, and three USB ports to power all your gadgets.
The Audi SQ5 also has a litany of safety features that would be impressive in either a sports car or SUV — lane-departure warning, parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and high-beam assist are all standard. But wait, that’s not all as there is also adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and active lane keeping assist which come at an extra cost.
Despite the SQ5’s relatively modest base price of $53,995, those extra costs can add up quickly. Tack on a bunch of options and your new SUV can eclipse the 70K mark before The SQ5 can hit 60 mph. And while that cost may seem like a lot at first, let’s remember that with this Audi, you have the versatility of a luxury SUV and the performance of a serious sports car. So when you consider that there are two high-end car personalities in this one, suddenly the 2021 Audi SQ5 seems like a screaming deal, and it saves you from ever having to choose between the two ever again.