Bottom line: If most of your driving is daily commuting, say, suburb to city in a high-congestion area during normal business hours, it makes more sense to spend less money and buy a regular Audi Q5, or something similar. You’ll get similar creature comforts without the angst of knowing that you paid much more for a vehicle that could go faster and handle better but can’t do any of those things because it is jammed in traffic with everyone else.
Ride, acceleration, handling: The Audi SQ5 gets excellent marks in all three, assuming that you can find a road to drive it the way it was engineered to be driven or that you don’t mind driving at midnight.
Head-turning quotient: It is stately and attractive on the outside, beautiful and comfortable within.
Body style/layout: The Audi SQ5, Premium and Prestige versions, are the high-end cousins of the Audi Q5 crossover, on which both are based. They are front-engine, all-wheel-drive compact luxury utility vehicles with four side doors and a rear hatch.
Engine/transmission: Audi SQ5 models come with a turbocharged 3-liter, 24-valve gasoline V-6 with variable valve timing (354 horsepower, 347 pound-feet of torque). The engine is linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.
Capacities: Seating is for five. Cargo capacity is 29.1 cubic feet with rear seats raised. The fuel tank holds 19.8 gallons of gasoline. Premium grade is required.
Mileage: I averaged 23 mpg in highway driving.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front- and rear-ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel antilock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; automatic brake drying; electronic stability and traction control; dusk sensing and automatically leveling headlamps; cornering lights; Audi roadside assistance program.
Pricing: The 2014 Audi SQ5 starts at $51,900 with a dealer’s invoice price of $48,268. Add $7,500 to the consumer’s price for Prestige package (onboard navigation with real-time traffic reports, rearview backup camera, Bang & Olufsen sound system, manually operated rear window shades and other items) and a $895 factory-to-dealer transportation charge. Consumer’s price as tested is $61,215. Dealer’s price as tested is $56,996.