Review: 2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback is Lively, Stylish and Compact

Highlights for the 2021 SQ5 Sportback include a well-done infotainment system, lively handling characteristics, and some updates to exterior styling versus the 2020 model.

The Audi SQ5 is the sportier model in the Q5 compact crossover lineup. It has seating for five, a wagon-like sportback design, and plenty of get-up under its hood. Highlights for the 2021 SQ5 Sportback include a well-done infotainment system, lively handling characteristics, and some updates to exterior styling versus the 2020 model. The 2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback will be much the same as the 2021 model.

The 2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback has a nicely jumpy 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that outputs 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. These peaks come early thanks to the twin turbochargers and their aggressive nature. The Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid model has slightly higher horsepower and the same torque rating, but more weight to contend with thanks to the large batteries added to electrify the car.

Fuel economy in the 2021 SQ5 Sportback is EPA rated at 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. In our highway loop test (75 mph, 42-mile loop), we averaged 23.6 mpg at high altitude and with some cross winds. So we think that the EPA ratings are close to reality for this car. Those numbers are pretty good for a compact luxury crossover-wagon with standard all-wheel drive.

Most noticeable in this Audi is the pinpoint steering and aggressive braking that’s inherent to all sport models from the brand. The SQ5 is fun to drive thanks to those sporty metrics, though we’d like to have more feedback to the steering wheel and pedals for the driver to respond to. Even with that downer, though, the 2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback is really fun to take through everyday corners, twisty roads, and such. It’s quick out of the intersection, responsive in the corner, and just generally a hoot to pilot. For those looking to maximize this, we recommend adding the air suspension option to reduce body roll in the corners.

This sporty Audi is useful as well. It seats four comfortably, five in a pinch, and has plenty of cargo space despite its wagon-like design. Towing is rated at up to 4,400 pounds when equipped, though we’d probably use the hitch for added storage rather than to pull trailers. Functional roof rails are also available for the SQ5 Sportback.

The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen in the Audi SQ5 is standard as of 2021 and include plug-in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as a couple of USB ports, HD ratio, and a 10-speaker stereo system with WiFi. The upgrade option replaces the physical driver gauges with a 12.3-inch digital display (aka “Audi Virtual Cockpit”) and adds a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo with satellite radio. Navigation is added as well. All good things.

Other standard features in the SQ5 include tri-zone climate, keyless entry, and pushbutton start. Proximity keyless entry (unlocks doors if the keyfob is near) and a panoramic sunroof are also available.

The 2021 Audi SQ5 Sportback is sport luxury as only Audi can make it. It’s functional inside with comfort and bling, fun to drive with sport and verve, and versatile for daily use. Audi has done a good job with this one. Pricing for the SQ5 Sportback starts at $57,195, roughly $10,000 over the price of the base model Q5 Sportback.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at