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2016 Audi SQ5 Review

Sleek, speedy, and supercharged

Jake HolmeswriterThe Manufacturerphotographer

It doesn't look like much at first, does it? Just another handsome Audi crossover milling around the suburbs. But with its 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine at full throttle, the 2016 Audi SQ5 is a family hauler will outrun your Volkswagen Golf GTI. Think of it as the hot hatch for grown-ups.

You can get Audi's 3.0T engine (yes, we know it's supercharged, not turbocharged) in the standard Q5 crossover, where it makes just 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, yet output in the SQ5 balloons to 354 hp and 346 lb-ft. The engine pulls hard and urgently, flinging through the automatic transmission's close ratios with a whomp at each upshift. Though quiet as any other luxury car when cruising, the 3.0T engine snarls and shouts when you step on it, so the SQ5 growls like a sports car.

As we push the 2016 Audi SQ5 through the corners, body roll is practical imperceptible, and the upgraded brakes provide stellar feedback. Even when shod in Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires and driven in freezing temperatures, the SQ5 hangs on tenaciously through bends. There's a little hint of playfulness in the way the chassis slips through turns, more liveliness than we expect from a family crossover. The Audi is simply a joy to drive enthusiastically.

The big unanswered question, though, is who might want the SQ5? We'll never quibble about manufacturers selling us high-performance cars, but it's hard to justify buying this particular one. If you want a nice Audi crossover, go for the standard Q5 3.0T, which is plenty quick but cheaper and more fuel-efficient than the SQ5. And if you really, truly lust for a quick German crossover, the SQ5's entry price will also buy you a 340-hp Porsche Macan S, which not only looks racier but will also outsprint the Audi to 60 mph (by a marginal 0.1 second, but hey, these things matter.)

The 2016 Audi SQ5 is great fun to drive in all conditions. But if you spend this much money on it, you might keep wishing you had bought a Porsche instead.

2016 Audi SQ5 Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $54,225/69,400 (base/as-tested)
Engine: 3.0L DOHC supercharged 24-valve V-6/354 hp @ 6,000-6,500 rpm, 346 lb-ft @ 4,000-4,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA Mileage: 17/24 mpg (city/hwy, hatchback)
L x W x H: 183.0 x 75.2 x 65.3 in
Wheelbase: 110.5 in
Weight: 4,420 lb
0-60 MPH: 5.1 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph