Only a few vehicles get to become as successful as the Audi Q5 has become over the last few years. Combining the best of both worlds, it integrates a compact design into a popular car styling segment, the SUV. The result is a premium luxury vehicle that is comfortable and fun, yet nimble enough not to cause you any trouble parking it.
Audi then went a step further and launched a sportier, more brutal version of the Q5. Designed and sculpted under Audi’s performance department “S”, the SQ5 is not as innocent as a Q5. Upgraded inside and out, each and every part in the Audi SQ5 is meant to offer performance and an exhilarating ownership experience. Those enthusiasts who want to enjoy a premium SUV that is ultra-quick, loaded with Audi technology, and is comfortable to drive, won’t be disappointed by the Audi SQ5.
Each and every part in the Audi SQ5 is meant to offer performance and an exhilarating ownership experience.
Audi SQ5 vs Q5 – Opposite Ends of a Magnet
It would not be an overstatement if we described these two machines as opposite ends of the same magnet. They might look the same in design or share similar interior styling, but the difference is immense where it matters the most, under the bonnet.
The Audi SQ5 was destined to be the performance version of the standard Q5 and it lives up to the hype. It is packed with a performance-tuned powertrain that produces loads of power, and is mated to a specially-designed transmission. To compliment the modifications installed in the business end of the SQ5, the other mechanical aspects of the vehicle have been upgraded to a similar level of exhilarating performance standards.
Where the innocent looking Audi Q5 is the ideal daily driver for anyone looking for a comfortable commute, the SQ5 is designed with the performance hungry drivers and sports/luxury enthusiasts in mind. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the Audi SQ5 and Q5, and understand how the two siblings are contrasted.
Audi SQ5 vs Q5 – Styling
Although at first glance, looks can be deceiving – the sports-inspired design accents are one of the more subtle signs that you are looking at an SQ5. As both these SUVs share the same platform and design, Audi has turned the standard Q5 into a premium looker by giving it elegant lines, decent curves with a normal grill, and standard 18” wheels.
The Audi SQ5 stands out from the rest, thanks to its sporty 20” wheels, trendy bumpers and S-badged grill upfront complimenting the Dynamic Matrix LEDs. Although not worlds apart, it’s the front end of the car and the sporty wheels that are the dead giveaway that there is an aggressive monster hiding under the bonnet. Styling of the Audi SQ5 gives a favourable first impression, with its sporty, yet not over the top styling, aimed at attracting both younger and older buyers looking for a performance SUV. If a standard Q5 is too tame performance wise, then the SQ5 would certainly be worth a test drive.
Audi SQ5 vs Q5 – Interior
Once you open the door and step inside, you’re welcomed by a premium, very well put together cabin that oozes quality and luxury. As a premium segment vehicle, the Audi Q5 has a good amount of leather upholstery and tons of the latest technology.
What sets the SQ5 apart from its less-potent sibling are the sporty features. The sports bucket seats are wrapped in premium Nappa leather with diamond stitching and S badging. The steering wheel also has an S emblem near the flat bottom to remind you that you’re not in a normal SUV. Carbon trimmed dash inlays and other accents add to the sportiness of the interior and are a reassuring reminder of the ability this vehicle has to accommodate the most spirited driving styles.
Audi SQ5 vs Q5 – Performance
Cosmetics aside, the main thing that sets the Audi SQ5 and Q5 apart is the performance and both cars have a significant difference in their mechanical setup, and performance figures.
Beginning with the heart of the car, the Audi Q5 does come with decent options, including a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder, and a plug-in hybrid option. These engines differ in their power output and economy figures. Supporting the engine is a 7-speed S-Tronic transmission and an all wheel drive system. The standard Q5 has a decent top speed of 130 mph (210km/h) and a 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds.
If you get bored in your SQ5, which is highly unlikely, you can engage the Sports + mode and get the most out of that mighty powertrain.
Then comes the Audi SQ5, sculpted purely for performance and it delivers on its promise. All those drivers who don’t like the silent exhaust or inconspicuous throttle on the Q5, would love everything that the SQ5 has to offer. It features an S-tuned 3.0L V6 turbocharged engine that produces a whopping 349 horsepower (260kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque, propelling the car from 0-100 in 4.7 seconds. The top speed is listed as 155 mph (250km/h). The engine is mated to a special 8-speed S-Tronic transmission and the Audi Quattro all wheel drive system.
The SQ5 has other refined equipment on it as well, that ensures optimal performance in the most demanding conditions. It has an S-specific sports tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, dynamic steering that adjusts to speed, and a rear differential with torque vectoring for perfect cornering and traction. If you get bored in your SQ5, which is highly unlikely, you can engage the Sports + mode and get the most out of that mighty powertrain.
Audi SQ5 vs Q5 – Differences that Matter
Parameter Audi SQ5 Audi Q5
Engine 3.0L V6 2.0L inline 4
Transmission 8-speed S-Tronic 7-speed S-Tronic
Suspension S-Tuned with adaptive dampers Standard
Horsepower/Torque 349 hp/369 lb-ft 201 hp/236 lb-ft
Top Speed 155 mph 130 mph
Acceleration 0-100 = 4.7 seconds 0-100 = 6.8 seconds
Base Price $55,600 $43,500
How Fast is the Audi SQ5?
Needless to say that the Audi SQ5 is a ridiculously fast SUV, given its size. Imagine if somebody told Ferrari or Jaguar back in the 90s that their sub 5 second sports cars would be bested by an SUV in the coming years. This is exactly what happened and the Audi SQ5 proudly flaunts a 0-100 time of 4.7 seconds. For reference, a Porsche Cayman does 0-100 in 4.5 seconds and it’s a sports car.
Thanks to its lightweight, dynamic chassis and design, the powerful engine and transmission can hit the top speed of 155 mph – and for an SUV, these figures are jaw dropping. However a more powerful engine usually means a less fuel efficient car. The Audi Q5 is a cheaper luxury car to maintain, including less fuel consumption compared to the SQ5.
How Much Does an Audi SQ5 Cost?
SUVs in the premium luxury department don’t usually come cheap, especially when they offer supercar-esque performance, and sedan like comfort. Audi SQ5 is a premium segment vehicle and is priced in that segment as well. Let’s have a look at the prices of different Audi SQ5 trims;
1. Premium $56,990
2. Premium Plus $61,150
3. Prestige $66,350
Who is the Audi SQ5 aimed at?
Be it a myth or reality, the Audi Q5 is known by some as a typical girls car. Thanks to its price, size, comfort, and utility, it is actually an ideal daily driver for everyone, and a perfect car for weekend chores as well.
The story is totally different with the Audi SQ5. With those sporty accents, engaging interior, and exhilarating performance, it has gained a cult following amongst performance drivers looking for a compact SUV which is fast, as well as reliable. It SQ5 is a versatile vehicle, capable of being used as a daily driver in eco or comfort mode, taken on the highways using semi-autonomous driving features or burning rubber around the corners in Sports + mode. This all-rounder is a perfect performance SUV for young enthusiasts and those buyers who want to be less conspicuous.
Is Audi SQ5 Worth it?
With everything it has to offer, the technology it features and the performance it packs, the Audi SQ5 is worth every penny. It is compact in design, has a dynamic and sharp handling and offers an agile and comfortable driving experience. Most importantly, when asked – it has the potential to plant you firmly in the back of your seat as you push it to your desired speed.
It is a perfect blend of size, luxury, and performance, and both adventurous families and young enthusiasts should keep it on the top of their wish list when shopping for their favourite ride. Having said that, it’s important to know that if you are not a diehard Audi fan, and the 4 rings aren’t compulsory, there are other exciting options in the price bracket that you can consider.