Experienced by Leon L Brittain
We always appreciate the thrills of an Audi “S” model when one rolls through the Automotive Rhythms driveway for a weekly test drive. Presented in a Mythos Black Metallic hue, our 2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback was as quick as a cheetah, agile as a rabbit, and practical enough to double as a small family tourer to escort the kids to practice in style and grace. The SQ5 joins an illustrious group of Audi performance SUVs that garner respect on the road while adding diversity to Audi’s best-selling Q5 model line.
The SQ5 Sportback should not be confused with the standard SQ5 SUV, which is taller and wider. The Sportback sides more with a coupe-like silhouette where the rear roofline sloops downward. This model also welcomes an S line exterior, panoramic sunroof, and Sport front seats.
Massive 21″ 5-twin-spoke turbine design rims are positioned at the four corners of the vehicle for impeccable maneuvering capabilities. As part of the Black Optic Package ($600), these titanium finished wheels are paired with Pirelli summer tires. A 20” 10-spoke-star design wheel in platinum finish comes standard with the Sportback. Audi’s proven 3.0 TFSI V6, 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, and quattro AWD represent the vehicle’s boundless potential. Expect 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque from the turbocharged V6 and a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. With wide metal pedals, a sporty 3-spoke steering wheel, paddle shifters, and the ability to control the demeanor of the SQ5 through Audi Drive Select, the vehicle was always ready to rock. It zips in and out of highway traffic with technical proficiency and accelerates commendably after a slight pause upon mashing the accelerator.
Inside, the driver and passenger will enjoy the standard 10.1″ touchscreen MMI that sits atop the dash and features wireless Apple CarPlay. However, my wife, who is an Audi fan, prefers embedded Nav screens such as the available “Audi virtual cockpit plus” in the bigger Audi vehicles. Yet, I am still becoming acquainted with digital touch “everything” for simple functions in today’s cars and trucks. In all honesty, I still miss the prior MMI systems with the physical knobs. The stellar Bang & Olufsen audio system with 3D sound is a blessing and is bundled with the pricey $8,600 Prestige package. But to Audi’s defense, this option does offer 21 other amenities such as Matrix-design LED headlights, a Head-up display, and dual pane acoustic glass. But of course, a slew of standard safety systems is part of the deal, like Audi side assist, lane departure warning, Audi pre sense rear, and Standard Parking system, to name a few.
Our $73,990 (56,100 MSRP) loaner was also blessed with the German automaker’s S Sport Package ($3,000) that includes a Sport adaptive air suspension, Sport rear differential, and red brake calipers; Carbon Atlas inlays ($500) to spark the Rotor Gray interior; Dynamic Steering ($1,150); and Fine Nappa leather seats ($1,000). In total, it’s a pretty steep price for a smaller SUV, but if performance takes precedence over cost and size, then the SQ5 could be perfect for you.