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    2018 Audi SQ5 Review: The middle management hot hatch

    The 2018 Audi SQ5 is a efficiency crossover, so it is in all probability not the automobile you had in your wall rising up. Nonetheless it is a purchase order that can embody the mix between the needs of Youthful You and the calls for of the Grownup You. The perfect of each worlds, amirite?

    Audi’s turbocharged SQ5 will depart you — and, if relevant, your loved ones — smiling on most drives, whether or not it is on the best way to soccer observe or a night drive with nowhere explicit in thoughts. Rising up sucks, however the Audi SQ5 is proof constructive that there are methods to make it much less of a bear.

    Refined appears to be like, nevertheless it’s all lies out again

    Often, the aesthetics of a automobile do not really hassle me, however there’s one spot on the 2018 SQ5 that does not rub me the best manner. The rear bumper has what appears to be like like tailpipe shops from a distance, however as soon as you progress nearer, you may discover that they are simply pretend expanses of plastic — the actual pipes are tucked up and behind it. Why even fake?

    In any other case, the SQ5’s fairly understated for a efficiency crossover. The Q5 on which it is primarily based is a typically good-looking, angular egg with some sharp lighting on each ends. Giant 21-inch wheels are on provide for $1,000, and so they fill out the wheel wells properly, however for the sake of experience high quality, I might in all probability skip them and go along with the usual 20s our tester had.

    Sporting a $1,250 Nappa leather-based inside improve, the inside feels each bit as effectively bolted collectively as most automakers’ most costly choices. The entrance seats are a lot spacious, however issues get tight within the again, particularly with headroom, the place passengers above 6-feet tall are going to really feel cramped.

    As for its hauling talents, the SQ5 is… effective. At 27 cubic ft, the cargo maintain has much less area than what my compact station wagon gives, nevertheless it’s nonetheless forward of rivals just like the Porsche Macan and Mercedes-Benz GLC. It will possibly’t beat the jam-packing capabilities of the Jaguar F-Tempo, nevertheless it’ll work for brief household highway journeys or visits to the golf course.

    These pretend tailpipe shops are downright duplicitous.


    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    A mish-mash of modes

    The SQ5’s beating coronary heart is a three.Zero-liter turbocharged V6 placing out 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Smash the gasoline pedal and it sends all that enterprise to all 4 wheels by an eight-speed automated transmission. The SQ5 is adjustable in so many ways in which it is exhausting to make use of only one phrase to explain its character, nevertheless it positively feels fast sufficient, even when its efficiency numbers are solely mid-pack on paper.

    The automobile’s outright adjustability means you may set it up nevertheless you prefer it, however by some means, every mode has a little bit of a draw back. With the transmission in its default D setting, it goals for effectivity with early upshifts that suck out a number of the enjoyable. Put it in S, and it livens up and looks like a efficiency automobile ought to, however the downshifts on deceleration are tough. The exhaust nearly disappears in its quietest mode. You will need it in Dynamic for some correct pop-burble-snort motion, however the tradeoff there may be incessant drone at freeway speeds. The steering weight can also be adjustable, however I do not know if that performance is price its $1,150 price ticket.

    Even in Consolation mode, the non-compulsory air suspension feels a smidge bouncy on Michigan’s horrible post-winter roads. It is a efficiency SUV, although, so whereas it could not really feel nice in that particular occasion, it corporations up properly in Dynamic mode and retains the dealing with good and flat in corners. A number of the experience points might very effectively come from my tester’s 255/45-20 Pirelli Scorpion winter tires, which did not see a lot as a dusting of snow throughout my week with it.

    If there’s one spot the place the SQ5 persistently shines, it is the brakes. My god, these brakes. Each time it’s essential to cease in a rush, the SQ5 will honor that whereas attempting to take away your face out of your head. It is spectacular, and with out an oz of fade even after repeated pedal-jamming classes.

    By way of gas financial system, the EPA charges the SQ5 at 19 mpg metropolis and 24 mpg freeway. I noticed between 24 and 25 on the freeway with every thing set to its best settings, however if you happen to intend on having any enjoyable, these numbers are merely aspirational.

    Buttons, buttons, buttons.


    Nick Miotke/Roadshow

    Tech, tech and extra tech

    With all the best choices bins ticked, Audi delivers one of the vital tech-heavy lineups available on the market. There’s nothing within the SQ5 that you just will not discover wherever else, however that is effective, as a result of it is all fairly nice.

    Audi’s MMI continues to be one of the vital succesful, if barely complicated programs available on the market. A touchscreen is eschewed in favor of a touchpad with handwriting recognition and a rotary dial. It is simple to get a fundamental deal with on issues, however there are such a lot of menus inside menus that it is a bit daunting if you happen to’re not intimately acquainted with the system.

    It’s possible you’ll by no means take a look at the display screen, although, due to Audi’s non-compulsory Digital Cockpit. It jams probably the most pertinent elements of the infotainment right into a configurable gauge cluster show, and you may swap by its many screens with the steering wheel controls alone. It is nice for decreasing distraction. The one bummer is that each it and navigation are hidden behind a $four,500 improve (the Status trim), however Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are each customary, so even if you happen to low-cost out on the trim, you will not be left wanting for nav.

    Autobrake can also be customary, however the remaining complement of security programs — full-speed adaptive cruise, lively lane help, automated excessive beams and visitors signal recognition — is bundled right into a $1,800 choice pack. At this worth level, I really feel like some or all of that ought to actually come customary.

    If USB ports are your jam, you will not want that enormous of a knife to unfold it round. The SQ5 has simply two USB ports, and so they’re each up entrance, so your back-seat passengers had finest convey energy bricks or lengthy cables.

    How I might spec it

    My SQ5 tester had greater than $14,000 in choices connected to it, supplied you depend the $four,500 Status trim as an choice, which Audi does on its window sticker. I might keep it up, as a result of it provides very important upgrades like Digital Cockpit, a collection of related apps, navigation and a nifty Bang & Olufsen sound system. I hate it when enjoyable colours are hidden behind expensive upgrades, however $575 is a strong worth to pay to keep away from shopping for the automobile in black or white, the 2 no-cost paint colours.

    I might throw down an additional $1,250 for the Nappa leather-based inside and $500 for heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. One other $three,000 provides the mandatory (for my part) air suspension and a sport rear differential, and also you arrive at an out the door worth of $64,800, which incorporates the $975 vacation spot cost. That is about $four,000 lower than my tester, however that is how I might purchase one.

    All the way down to brass tacks

    Within the years since its inception, the SQ5’s competitors has grown markedly in each amount and high quality. It isn’t as fast because the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 or the Porsche Macan S, and whereas it lacks the ability of the Jaguar F-Tempo S, it performs about the identical. The Merc and Jag have it beat on gas financial system, too. And the Audi betters all however the F-Tempo on cargo capability. Nevertheless it’s additionally a relative cut price, besting each single aforementioned car on base worth, though the Macan S is simply $1,100 dearer. The Jag begins at almost 60 giant. Ouch.

    Whereas none of those automobiles are low-cost, you will not be let down if you happen to can pony up the scratch. The SQ5 allows you to get your pace jollies whereas providing first rate family-hauling functionality and a formidable tech portfolio. Being an grownup is not all that unhealthy.

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