Audi SQ5 3.0L TDI Quattro Special Edition 2020 Launch Review

Audi SQ5 TDI Quattro Road Test

Audi SQ5 TDI front qtr Audi SQ5 fits neatly in the sports SUV genre and the latest SQ5 3.0TDI quattro has just been launched is the Southern Highlands of NSW.

At the launch of the second generation SQ5 in 2017 Audi brought the SQ5 3.0 TFSI tiptronic to the market but the sweet diesel version was lacking.

As far back as 2013 the SQ5 TDI was a winner of the OzRoamer COTY for the Sports SUV category and it has remained a firm favourite since.

There was a mid-term makeover in early 2020 with a number of improvements and the new model is due early 2021.

The latest version comes in one model only the SQ5 TDI Special Edition priced at $104,900 MLP*

Audi SQ5 TDI profile

What does the SQ5 look like?

Way back when the second generation was launched I was a fan of the style and proportions. It all seems to flow and work well.

The SQ5 3.0L TDI Special Edition adds

  • 21″ Audi Sport alloy wheels in 5-V-twinspoke design, contrasting grey, partly polished and 255/40 R 21 performance tyres,
  • A choice of four metallic and one pearlescent paint finishes are available at no cost.
  • Panoramic sunroof,

Audi SQ5 TDI wheels tyres

  • Black exterior styling package with black highlights around the Audi Singleframe, trim strips on side windows and bumpers, front and rear; roof rails and exterior mirrors in black,
  • Red painted brake callipers and S body styling.
  • Exterior mirrors; heated, folding and auto dimming with memory and kerb side function on passenger side
  • S body styling including S front and rear bumpers, grille, side sills and rear tailgate spoiler

Audi SQ5 TDI matrix lights

The TDI also has as standard the stunningly good Audi Matrix LED headlights including LED daytime running lights, dynamic front and rear indicators, all-weather lights, turning lights, motorway light function and LED rear lights and includes headlight washer system.

Audi SQ5 TDI interior

So what is the SQ5 like inside?

The SQ5 follows typical Audi style, functional and reserved.

Sitting my ample rear end in the soft quilted sports seats I immediately felt at home. It has that ambience.

In front of me is the flat bottomed sports steering wheel with a plethora of controls, a 12.3 inch high resolution virtual Audi cockpit that is configurable in a number of different combinations. The HUD is very good. The steering wheel frames the instrument binnacle perfectly and doesn’t restrict visibility.

Audi SQ5 TDI interior 2

It’s the little details that make the car. The steering wheel fits perfectly to my hands, the soft stitched leather providing grip and the paddle shift levers not intrusive.

The soft touch door panels and dash is framed by carbon fibre inserts that add to the subtle elegance.

The central transmission tunnel is well laid out, the centre console storage is small but well placed. The central stack efficiently laid out and topped by an 8.3 inch screen.

Audi SQ5 TDI transmission

The scratch pad and dial controls now seem dated, especially when compared to the S4/S5 touch screen system. Audi confirms that this will be replaced with the new Q5 early next year. In the meantime they work well.


I would like to make special mention about the seats. The S sport front seats, in fine Nappa leather upholstery with contrasting diamond pattern stitching have multiple electronic adjustments, including additional lumbar adjustment, along with a welcome massage function and heating. In short they are excellent.


Rear outer passengers are also treated to very comfortable heated seats. The middle spot is best for occasional occupants only. There is plenty of headroom, reasonable knee and leg room and two will sit in comfort.

The rear seats slide for convenience and split/fold in a 40/20/40 configuration and the boot area is large and practical. There is an optional rear tie down tracking system that adds to the practicality.

Audi SQ5 TDI features

Other key SQ5 Features:

  • 3-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning,
  • Auto dimming interior mirror, frameless,
  • Interior ambient lighting with 30 choices,
  • Audi music interface and DAB+ Digital radio,
  • Audi smart phone interface, Audi phone box light,
  • Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System
  • Hands-free electric tailgate,
  • Keyless entry and start, and
  • Wireless phone charging.

Of the features mentioned above, the following standard equipment is exclusive to the SQ5 TDI special edition: the black exterior styling package, Matrix LED headlights, front seats with massage function and inlays in carbon atlas.

Audi SQ5 TDI engine

Audi SQ5 3.0L TDI Quattro Engine and Drivetrain

The new Audi SQ5 TDI is powered by a new mild hybrid 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel powertrain that produces maximum power of 255kW @ 3850 rpm and peak torque of 700Nm from 2,500 – 3,100rpm. The 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system (MHEV) is becoming more prevalent across the Audi range.

Driving through a smooth 8 speed tiptronic transmission the power and torque reaches all four wheels through the Audi quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. Buyers should think of this as a safety feature with the capability of mild adventure rather than a 4WD obviously.

I’m not a big fan of the shift lever mechanism, where there appears to be no definite slotting into gear, I prefer the style from say the Q2.

Audi SQ5 TDI driving

Performance for the SQ5 TDI is a healthy 0-100kmh figure of 5.1 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 250kmh. Fuel is sipped at a surprisingly good rate of ADR 6.8l/100k

For the more technically minded readers, quattro works by enabling the self-locking centre differential to direct 40 percent of the torque to the front axle and 60 percent to the rear in normal driving conditions, with up to 85 percent directed to the rear wheels if the road conditions demand it. The optional quattro sport differential allows almost all of the rear axle’s torque to either wheel during particularly dynamic driving.

The standard adaptive suspension with damper control lowers the body of the SQ5 by 30 millimetres compared to the Q5 to cater for the balance between ride and handling that owners expect.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2020 driving 2

What is the SQ5 3.0L TDI quattro like to drive?

Well some words and phrases come to mind immediately.

Awesome, lots of fun, linear smooth acceleration, dynamic, aural delight, responsive, direct, did I mention lots of fun?

Right from the start the sound evokes a sense of anticipation. As you take off you notice that the diesel engine with heaps of low torque provides a seamless, linear, continuous delivery of acceleration.

The responsiveness of the vehicle to the right foot commands on both accelerator and brakes is excellent. Steering response is direct.

It always gives the impression that it’s ready to sprint away at the slightest invite.

Audi SQ5 TDI quattro

So is the SQ5 Safe:

Well it has a five star ANCAP safety rating as well as the following key highlights

  • Eight airbags,
  • Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) with electronic wheel-selective torque control, ABS, ASR, EDL and Brake Assist
  • Adaptive damper control with selectable damper tuning,
  • Adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go including traffic jam assist, distance indicator and speed limiter,
  • Audi pre-sense front and Collision avoidance assist,
  • 360 degree cameras and park assist; turn assist,
  • High beam assist,
  • Hill descent control, Turn assist

Audi SQ5 TDI diensions 2

What are the SQ5 Dimensions?

The SQ5 has an:

  • overall length of 4671mm,
  • wheelbase of 2824mm,
  • width of 1893mm,
  • Height of 1635mm,
  • Turning circle is 10.76m,
  • GVM of 2180kg, GCM 4539kg (AT)
  • Towing capacity is 2400kg and tow ball rating is up to 10%

Audi SQ5 TDI safety

SQ5 Final thoughts

The SQ5 has been a previous winner of the Sports SUV Category for OzRoamer COTY, so it’s got good pedigree. While the SQ5 TFSI was appealing the TDI, to me, is better.

The new model to be released early in 2021 will fix a few of the areas such as touch screen etc. However I would love to have one of these parked in the driveway right now.

It has the aural delight of a low growl on acceleration, smooth linear power delivery, precise steering response, excellent ride and dynamic handling characteristics as well as comfortable relaxed everyday driving.

It will fit four in comfort for long distance trips and has the proportions just right. It will be a regular visitor to the ski fields as well.

The Audi SQ5 TDI deserves the reputation it has as a sports SUV. It joins a long line up of Audi Sport SUVs which will be topped off next year by a SQ2 version as well

Audi SQ5 TDI grill

What is good?

  • Performance, ride and handling
  • Matrix LED headlights system
  • Virtual cockpit

What is not so good?

  • No touch screen, dated control/scratch pad
  • Adaptive cruise control not selectable
  • Front seats not cooled

Also Look at:

Audi SQ5 TDI rear

Model: Audi SQ5 3.0L TDI quattro Special Edition

  • Model Price $104,900 MLP*
  • Drivetrain Quattro AWD 3.0L 6 Cyl diesel 8 SP Tiptronic
  • Power 255kW @ 3,850rpm
  • Torque 700Nm @ 2,500 – 3,100rpm
  • Safety 5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions 177 g/km
  • Economy (ADR comb) 6.8L/100km
  • Tow Capacity – 2400Kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 240Kg
  • 0-100kmh 5.1 sec, top speed 250kmh
  • Servicing 5 Yrs. Audi service plan $2,940
  • Warranty 3yr/Unlimited km with full roadside assist

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

Overall Rating 86/100

  • Behind the Wheel 9
  • Comfort 9
  • Equipment 8
  • Performance 9
  • Ride & Handling 9
  • Practicality 8
  • Fit for Purpose 9
  • Street Credibility 8
  • Performance 9
  • Value for Money 8