For the last generation of Q5s, Europeans were given a special treat in the Audi SQ5 Plus, which came with a stonkingly fast diesel engine. That diesel made planet-pulling torque and made the SQ5 Plus seriously fast. However, we never got that here in the ‘States. So where we see the current SQ5 as damn quick, Europeans actually see it as a downgrade. The new Audi SQ5 makes 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to get from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. No slouch, then. But the old car had 335 hp and 516 lb-ft and did the same sprint in 5.1 seconds. So, performance-wise, Europeans aren’t so thrilled with the new car. But what does Top Gear think about the rest of it?
Well, it’s typical fast Audi stuff. The power is still there and it’s still seriously fast. Though, it isn’t particularly thrilling. Thanks to the cabin being so quiet and the engine being so civilized, the speed builds effortlessly and almost without notice. So before you know it, you’re in license-losing territory. While that’s impressive, it’s not exactly fun. TG blames a lot of it on the gearing of the eight-speed auto, which allows the SQ5 to hit 80 mph in second gear. That makes it feel a bit more lethargic than it should.
It terms of handling, this new car does handle better than before. It rotates nicely, has an optional rear differential that can make the back end playful and it has accurate steering. Though, like most fast Audis of its kind, the steering is numb and its drive is a bit lifeless. It’s very effective but not very exciting.
The ride is really good though, which is a big improvement over the old car. Older Audi ‘S’ and ‘RS’ cars were brutally stiff. Now, the suspension is still firm and stable, just more supple than before. Admittedly, this car gets optional air suspension, which really helps it out.
On the inside, this new Audi SQ5 is miles ahead of its predecessor and really quite fantastic. The tech is all there and it’s incredibly comfortable. It’s also very quiet inside, even at triple digit speeds. While that’s great when you’re just traveling around town, it’s not so great it you’re trying to have some real fun. If you want something from Audi that provides thrills and some practicality, go for the S5 Sportback. They’re actually the same price.
Overall, Top Gear claims the Audi SQ5 to be a good car. It will become even more appealing during daily use when weather can be a problem. The Audi SQ5 is a brilliantly capable, fast and luxurious car that can handle reasonably well. It just doesn’t feel very excited to do any of it. If you want some thrills, Top Gear suggests the Mercedes-AMG GLC43. BMW is also coming out with an X3 M40i quite soon. So it’s going to have some serious competition.