The 2018 Audi SQ5 has been taken for its first drive on the Vancouver Island, which is one of the most beautiful places in the entire North America. There are rain forests and an amazing view of the mountains, inlets, and streams, but once the fog covers this place, nothing can be seen. The roads are very interesting because of gentle bends that go through thick flora and which run next to the coastline.
The SQ5 is not a family truck that will attack the corners and make your wife and kids feel nauseous, and it is not a vehicle meant for the Nurburgring track. It is something in between – a well-controlled crossover with a lot of space inside, enough for the family of five and their baggage and with a solid amount of power.
2018 Audi SQ5 Specs
Under the hood of 2018 Audi SQ5 is the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that also powers the S4/S5 model. The complete output of this unit is 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque while it comes instead of the supercharged V6 that produced the same amount of hp, but “only” 346 lb-ft of torque. The new engine helps the crossover go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds which equal to the previous model.
The powerplant is connected to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all four wheels using the company’s new Quattro Ultra AWD system. This system can actually disconnect the rear axle completely and send the power to either axle, plus there is the mechanical torque vectoring rear differential which can transfer all the available power to the rear axle to the outside wheel in order to help the car turn the corner with ease. This is included in the Sport Package which costs $3,000 extra and that also offers red brake calipers and adaptive air suspension.
The 2018 Audi SQ5 can be set in five different driving modes, and each of these has different ride height. There are Lift/Off-road, Allroad, Comfort, Auto and Dynamic. The first one lifts the vehicle so that it can move and avoid obstacles on tough terrain but it reduces to the standard height when you reach 15 mph. The Allroad also raises the suspension but not as drastic as the Lift mode, whereas Comfort and Auto keep the standard 7-inch ground clearance. Dynamic is the only setup which slightly lowers the vehicle in order to improve handling. The SQ5 comes with the adaptive dampers and the air suspension which reduces the standard ride height by 1.2 inches from the get go. Furthermore, you can also find the 20-inch wheels and larger brakes, 13.8-inch front rotors and 6-piston fixed calipers.
Exterior and Interior
The 2018 Audi SQ5 really stands out in the crowd thanks to those wheels, but the crossover is also equipped with a platinum gray variant of the signature single-frame front grille, full LED headlights, aluminum-look mirror housings, faux quad exhaust pipes and a rear diffuser.
In the cabin, the SQ5 has a flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles whereas an 8.3-inch center screen dominates the interior. Moreover, there are things like brushed aluminum trim with optional carbon fiber, carmaker’s MMI touchpad with handwriting recognition while the Alcantara-trimmed sport seats wear leather. In addition, you can also find the three-zone automatic climate control and a sport display which is offered as the part of the Audi virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster.
Optional features include 21-inch wheels with summer performance tires, a Prestige package with things like the panoramic roof, a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, a color head-up display, the Audi MMI system with navigation, a surround view camera system and Nappa leather seats with diamond stitching.
Even though there are five different driving modes available, you would want to focus on Auto and Dynamic. The former allows a smoother ride but not so good connection to the road and changing direction on twisty roads can be tricky, but that is where Dynamic setting kicks in. It stiffens the dampers and adds weight to the steering while at the same time improves throttle response. So, when the roads are curvy, Dynamic mode is recommended, but as soon as you reach the straight path, you might want to switch to Auto or even Comfort.
Furthermore, the handling is satisfactory, whereas 354 horses are just the right measure for this crossover. The vehicle doesn’t feel sluggish on the road, but it is also not a true performance crossover. If it were, its paddles would be much bigger. The steering of the new SQ5 is quick and direct, but the feel is left out of this equation.
2018 Audi SQ5 Price and Conclusion
Overall, the 2018 Audi SQ5 is the perfect balance between performance and functionality, according to the German company. And this is true. It has everything you need for the family, but you can also “go wild” with it. The starting price of the car is $55,257, but the one that was tested contained a lot of optional features and packages, so its price was $65,800.