2018 Audi SQ5 Review: It's Stuffed

Discussion in 'General' started by cliff leppke, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. cliff leppke

    cliff leppke Cliff Leppke

    2018 Audi SQ5 3.0-T Prestige: It’s Stuffed


    By Cliff Leppke

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    Advertising flatters. Venables Bell & Partners’ “The Decision” TV spot presents an Audi Q5 as good-taste mobility. It depicts a government witness, a man who in exchange for his testimony must become invisible. The fed’s protection plan includes a dreary suburban house and a bland Lexus CUV. Our stand-in hero takes one look at the CUV and declares he’ll take his chances. The ad cuts to the man at the helm of Audi’s lusty Q5.


    Want a bolder Q5? Get the SQ5; it’s stuffed. Ingolstat (Audi’s HQ) dropped a 354-hp turbocharged V-6 engine under Q5’s hood. Expect 0-60 mph in a scant 5.1 seconds. Furthermore, Audi beefed up the suspension with quick dynamic steering and 21-inch wheels. To enjoy its hot-rod demeanor, Audi larded it with creature comforts. I sampled the S sport package.

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    The result is a potent machine that pampers passengers while hauling Whole Foods Market groceries. Its engine’s golden throatiness is courtesy of a “soundaktor.” There are two components: a transducer mounted on the firewall/cowl and a valve in the muffler’s pipe. The latter, lets the exhaust flow with a crackling bark. In dynamic drive mode, the sound embellishments thrill. Select automatic or comfort and the beast never roars.

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    Audi’s exterior styling doesn’t scream potent. It does, however, provide an airy greenhouse with good views through the side windows framed by relatively thin pillars. The front’s large scoops are functional turbocharger intercooler inlets.

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    Eco Surprise


    Despite its eager mill and premium-fuel appetite, the SQ5 has predictive fuel economy. This camera-based system, which sees traffic signs, halts the crossover for you. It does this if one sets the cruise control, exits an expressway, and forgets to apply the brakes when there’s a red hexagonal sign ahead. While this more of a life saver than an efficiency trick, it’s an example of the machine’s ability to intercede if you speed. I found the SQ5’s scolding behavior, which includes a green-foot icon that shines when Audi thinks your right foot should lay off the sauce, annoying.

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    Steering effort is light and easy. The lovely leather-wrapped D-shaped steering hoop provides extra thigh clearance. Selectable drive modes let you vary steering effort, vehicle height and ride quality. Choose automatic or comfort and the shock absorbers permit more float. This is a godsend for cratered Wisconsin roads. Vehicle height is lowest in dynamic.


    The all-wheel-drive setup is rear-wheel biased. With the S-Sport package, it can send torque to one rear wheel, which should get you moving on slick surfaces. Unlike the Q5, the performance-oriented driveline doesn’t unhook the rear wheels for optimum fuel economy. Decoupling is buzz kill in a muscle machine. I observed 22 mpg overall. The EPA says: 19 city, 24 highway, 21 mpg combined.


    Audi’s bright configurable Virtual Cockpit is a digital instrument cluster. Gauge style and driving data such as Google maps or lane assist vary. Just press a button. The tachometer’s redline lowers, when the engine temperature is cold—a helpful reminder. Augmenting the VC is a color head-up display. This puts driving data on the windshield.

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    Audi’s a touchpad lets you manipulate the media system’s seven-inch display. Like many laptops you can use one or two fingers to scroll through menus. It also senses your finger’s proximity and then displays, say, radio presents on the infotainment screen.

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    Audi takes care of your backside with Nappa leather seats punctuated by diamond stitching. The front ones are supportive and the rear ones quite inviting. Carbon fiber and soft trimmings create a sporting driving environ. A multi-zone automatic climate system provides bi-level operation on sunny days—toasting your feet, while cooling your face.

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    The richly carpeted cargo bay has LED strip lighting. An inflatable spare tire and 12-volt battery stow under the cargo floor. Audi stuffed rear body cavities with lots of insulation. This quiets rear tire patter. Aft-compartment buttons let you lower the rear for easier to loading.

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    While the SQ5 lists at $54,300 for starters, the tested Mythos Black metallic over Magma Red interior fetches an additional $575. Add $4,200 for the Prestige package with dual-pane acoustic front side-window glass, 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, MMI touch, and top-view camera; $3,000 for the S sport package with red brake calipers, air suspension and sport differential; $1,800 for the Driver assistance pack; another $1,250 for the leather interior with leatherette covered console and door armrests; $1,150 for dynamic steering; $1,000 for the 21-inch wheel package and $500 for the carbon Atlas inlays. Destination is $975. The tab for Audi’s largess: $68,750. You noticed!
     
  2. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Cliff , you say the redline lowers until the engine warms up. What RPM is the redline when starting up on a cold day ?

    I wouldn't use more than 2000 RPM , ever , but I'm curious.
     
    RedylC94 likes this.
  3. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I'd assume (don't actually know) other modern cars can do that programming trick. Does the rev limiter behave accordingly, or is that only an advisory "redline" on a virtual tach?

    According to the "Operating Line" on the engine performance plot published by Toyota for your 3rd generation Prius, the engine operates near its minimum BSFC (i.e., better than 220 g/kW-hr) all the way from about 1250 to 3000 RPM. (Overall power-train efficiency would be different, because the transmission efficiency varies differently.) According to the same plot, at 2000 RPM, you're getting about 19.5 kw (a whopping 26 hp.).
     
  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    26 HP is enough to get me up to 55 MPH . Of course , most of our interchanges for tollways/expresssways/Interstates
    are very well designed and I don't need more than that 26 HP. However...……… in the hilly parts of NW Illinois , I have seen
    3000 RPM to climb a hill. But that's pretty far off the beaten path for me.
     
  5. cliff leppke

    cliff leppke Cliff Leppke

    Edwin,

    The SQ5’s “red zone” drops at least 1,000 rpm, when the engine is cold. Audi doesn’t recommend revving the engine toward redline until it’s warm. There’s a coolant gauge; if you rifle through menus you’ll find the oil temp. The latter, in older VW/Audi vehicles, must rise above its cold or low indication before you rev the engine to the red zone.

    Neither Audi’s SQ5 self-study program, nor the owner’s manual discuss maximum engine speed when cold. I’m happy to contact Audi’s lovely Amanda Koons or Barry Hoch. Let’s see what Koons or Hoch says.

    Cliff
     
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Hmmmm. Amanda is "lovely" , but Barry gets no adjective ? I can dig it.
     
  7. cliff leppke

    cliff leppke Cliff Leppke

    Audi’s Amanda Koons says the SQ5’s Virtual Cockpit red-zone is 5,500 after a cold start. The red zone doesn’t have an even lower Arctic-weather mode redline. Koons claims her VIrginia HQ’s temp rarely drops below 20 degrees. Yes, she noticed the sub-zero weather where I live. I asked her whether she’d trade places.

    Let’s call Barry “handsome.” I’ve met Koons in person. In contrast, I’ve conversed with Hoch on the phone. He has a lovely voice. How’s that?
     
    EdwinTheMagnificent likes this.

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