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2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback Review: Uncoupe, uncouth, unflappable

Derryn Wong
29/06/2022
2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - front shot 3/4 static

Audi’s fast coupe-SUV, the SQ5, is a fine mix of the seemingly contrary in a package that avoids typical coupe-SUV pitfalls 


2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback

Launched: April 2022 Price: S$407,877 (June 2022)
Five-door, midsize performance SUV, five seats
354hp, 3.0-litre petrol engine, VES C2, 9.2L/100km


PROS
Fast and fun, but also great at normal driving
Decent ergonomics, good practicality
Fashionable but not a fashion victim

CONS
Don’t expect it to be hardcore fast
No hybrid tech


Photos by Derryn Wong


SINGAPORE

Cars often cram seemingly paradoxical traits into one package are impressive, but those that buck the trend while doing so are even more impressive. As a coupe-SUV, Audi’s SQ5 Sportback has the cards stacked against it, but it’s well executed enough that owners might feel they’ve been dealt a full house rather than an offsuit

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - front shot 3/4 static

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of coupe-SUVs. Not because of the way they look, but simply because a car that tries to tick too many boxes, or has a confused development process ends up, well, confused.

Audi’s Q5 SUV is a known quantity now in its second-gen, but this time around it’s brought a new twist in the form of the Q5 Sportback. Given the success coupe-SUVs have had, it’s surprising Audi took that long even. We’ve tested both the regular Q5 and the Q5 Sportback and found them solid offerings that keep BMW’s X3 and X4, and Mercedes-Benz’s GLC and GLC Coupe honest. 

To understand the SQ5 Sportback, you need to understand the Q5 Sportback. It’s the same same butt different – and we explain it all right here

The SQ5 Sportback is the higher-performance version, and as Audi’s ‘S Car’ approach dictates it’s more powerful than a regular Audi but less so than an RS machine. Note: There has been no RS Q5 to date, though there is the RS Q3 and RS Q8


Maserati joins the high-performance midsized luxury SUV game with its Grecale – watch our walkthrough and read the whole story here

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - rear side shot static

Appearance-wise, the SQ5 Sportback looks almost exactly like the normal Q5 Sportback, because the latter test car was specced with the S-Line kit, hence the same sporty look and angular front end with a satin-chrome lower lip splitter. How to spot the ‘real’ S car? Satin chrome side mirror covers and a quad exhaust. 

In most aspects, the SQ5 Sportback is the same as the Q5 Sportback here. We’ll not repeat ourselves too much, but the SQ5 Sportback isn’t as low-roofed or extreme as some coupe-SUVs which try to emulate the front bit of the name too much. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - cockpit

As a result, the SQ5 is easy to see out of, front and rear, and thus easy to manoeuvre in town. Space is decent too, without the headliner eating into hairdos, and boot space is only 10-litres less than the normal Q5, at 420-litres. So it will support a cycling habit easily, without going the fold-up way. 

But what you really can’t fake is underneath the hood: Audi’s 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo engine, exact same spec as on the SQ5: 354 horses, eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive. Together, they pack a punch and give the SQ5 pleasingly quick pace and the impression that forward motion is never far away if you need it, with a bassy, burbling soundtrack to match. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - engine 3.0 V6

Adaptive suspension is, but the test car came fitted with optional adaptive air suspension (S$4,768) that features ‘S-specific’ sport tuning, and throwing it into corners it hugs the tarmac, cornering with plenty of speed and poise, though not the most feel from the wheel.  But like many fast Audis, accessing uncouth speed is almost easy with the performance at hand, and the way it’s presented to the driver. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - on the road cornering

On the flipside, performance Audis have been able to make great strides in wheel size without compromising ride quality too much, and the SQ5 is no different. The test car ran on Audi Sport 21-inch rollers (standard size is 20-inch) but still delivered excellently-damped performance that was comfortable when taking it easy, but stiff enough for sporty driving. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - side front shot on the road rolling dynamic

There was a little tyre roar, and unavoidable jitter, but it was minimal, and overall it’s still a refined machine. The car’s ride prowess is likely down to the adaptive air suspension, but at less than S$5k (or one percent of the total price) it’s an option well worth including. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - carbonfibre trim and quattro badge

This is an S car, but it’s a little disappointing that there are no fancy differential systems as standard (or as an option) to help it rotate round corners a little quicker. As a result, the SQ5 is fast and fluent up to a point – let’s call it the RS Point – beyond which you’d be better served with an RS car.


But competition in mind  – BMW’s rivalling X4 M40i (more expensive at S$436k with COE at time of publication) has such a system, which is enjoyable in dynamic driving situations. More salient to the everyman buyer is the fact that there’s no mild hybrid system also highlights the fact that this is a heavy, AWD performance car, so wringing better than 10L/100km out of it will be a challenge unless you’re particularly disciplined. 

2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback review - CarBuyer Singapore - Audi Virtual cockpit

The debate is whether or not you use increased performance for blasting on enjoyable roads often, or simply enjoy the added power and capability of the car in the everyday grind. 

For the former, you probably wouldn’t choose a coupe-SUV to begin with. The SQ5 Sportback seems like the latter, a car that excels in Singapore and probably much of Malaysia too with its talents. It’s not extreme performance, but extremely usable performance.

Audi SQ5 Sportback 

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine2,995cc, V6, turbocharged 
Power354hp at 5400-6400rpm
Torque500Nm at 1370-4500rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic 
0-100km/h5.0 seconds 
Top Speed250 km/h
Fuel Efficiency9.2L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$25,000
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceS$407,877 with COE and VES
AvailabilityNow
Verdict The most powerful Q5 is exactly that – Audi’s practical SUV with more power and performance for everyday use

Tags:

5 seat 5-door Audi petrol sq5 sportback SUV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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