All The Things We Look For In A Sporty Utility
Audi’s lineup of sport utility vehicles is as comprehensive as any of its competition, with not only many sizes to choose from, but multiple variations that crank up both style and performance. So, let’s find out where this SQ5 Sportback speeds into that equation.
The Audi Q5 is the brand’s compact luxury SUV that goes up against the likes of BMW’s X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. This SQ5 is the higher performance variant; while Sportback is Audi’s name for their coupe-like utilities. Put it all together, and you have this 2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback.
The S replaces the Q5’s 261-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 with a 3.0-liter V6 turbo good for 349-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. Quattro all-wheel-drive is standard, as is an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The V6 feels strong on the street, but it’s not overpowering in any way; and the standard 2.0-liter is more than adequate for a vehicle this size.
The more noticeable SQ5 advantage comes in the actual driving, as it gets adaptive dampers, which can be further upgraded to an adjustable air suspension, with ride height and damper settings all managed through Audi’s drive select; a variable ratio dynamic steering system is also available. 20-inch wheels are standard, 21s optional. It all works together to provide a great ride without being harsh.
A big part of Audi’s standard operating procedure in “coupeifying” their SUVs is keeping practicality fairly high. Thus, there’s not nearly as much of a compromise as most inside, and the cargo space under that stylish new hatch remains a good 24.7 cubic-ft., which expands to 51.9; and it feels equally spacious throughout the interior.
Outside, it looks just as great as the Q5, which recently got a refresh that included tweaked front and rear fascias, as well as a new grille more in line with the rest of their lineup. The Sportback, of course, adds to the design with more slope to the roof, and a sportier stance thanks to those 21-inch wheels, and deletion of the roof rails. A panoramic sunroof is standard; Prestige trim adds Matrix LED headlights and unique OLED tail lights. Still, it looks more classy than flashy, and blends in more than turns heads.
We were dodging rain drops at our test track, but quattro all-wheel-drive provided typically great grip for acceleration runs. Extraordinary low-end punch off the line had us hitting 60 in 5.4-seconds; power ramps up forcefully but smoothly, which also describes action in the transmission. ¼ mile completed in 13.9-seconds at 101 miles-per-hour; making all the right noises along the way.
Plenty of grip in our cone course as well; nimble, good feel, minimal body roll, all the things we look for in a sporty utility, things Audi delivers better than most. That being said, the S prefix seems to have a little less impact on Audi SUVs than it does on their cars, as it’s not vastly better than the Q5. Braking performance was still exceptional though, despite no upgrades other than red painted calipers; bringing us to steady halts from 60 in just 98-feet.
As we’ve come to expect from Audi, materials throughout the sleek and modern cabin, and the assembly of them, are top notch; plentiful standard features with all Sportbacks include comfortable Sport seats and wood trim; carbon fiber treatments optional. Audi’s much-improved MIB 3 infotainment features faster processing speed, and a large 10-inch touchscreen. It’s incredibly easy to navigate, and the dash-top placement has it well within line of sight for easy monitoring. And of course, Audi’s feature-packed virtual cockpit puts all of the info you need right there in front of the driver, the SQ5 gaining a unique S Performance display. The available Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system must be heard to be fully appreciated; 705-watts through 19-speakers.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined; we averaged exactly that, 21.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
Q5 pricing starts at $45,195, SQ5 ratchets that up to $56,995, and tack on another $3,400 for the SQ5 Sportback.
The 2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback is a small SUV that delivers equal parts style, performance, and practicality. So, if you’re looking for the total package, and have the means, it’s the one
Engine: 3.0L V6 turbo
Torque: 369 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.9 seconds at 101 mph
60-0 Stopping Distance: 98 feet
EPA: 19 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined