Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid Is Surprisingly More Powerful Than the SQ5

The Audi Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S., offering a great combo of luxury, comfort, and performance. Audi released the second generation of the Q5 for 2018, so the 2021 Q5 is a facelift rather than a redesign.

The new model year includes updates to the technology and the exterior. It’s available as the 2021 Audi Q5, Q5 plug-in hybrid, or the sporty SQ5. You might be surprised which version has the most power.

The mild-hybrid engine in the 2021 Audi Q5

The base engine for the 2021 Q5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, producing 261 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, according to MotorTrend. That’s an increase of 13 hp over last year. This engine also has a 12-volt mild-hybrid starter-generator, which improves efficiency but doesn’t add to the engine’s power.

The 2021 plug-in hybrid

The 2021 Q5 plug-in hybrid also has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but in this vehicle, it’s paired with an electric motor powered by a 14.1-kWh battery pack. The hybrid generates 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

The plug-in hybrid is expected to have about 20 miles of range when running on all-electric, according to Motor 1. It comes standard with the S Line equipment package, which gives it a sportier look. The optional Sport Plus package adds an adaptive air suspension.

An Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid on display at an auto show
An Audi Q5 on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The V6 engine in the 2021 Audi SQ5

The Audi SQ5 is the performance version of the Q5. The SQ5 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Although the SQ5 is the sporty model, the plug-in hybrid Q5 has more power and the same amount of torque. The SQ5 has an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the Q5 and Q5 plug-in hybrid both have a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The SQ5 has what CNET calls “the sharpest look of the bunch.” This performance option has bigger wheels and a more aggressive design. It comes standard with adaptive suspension. Air suspension, dynamic steering, and quad-tipped sport exhaust are optional on the SQ5.

2021 Audi Q5 features

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The design tweaks to the exterior and interior of the 2021 Audi Q5 (in all its formats) are upgrades but nothing revolutionary. MotorTrend feels the new grille shape gives the Q5 a more “aggressive” look.

The Q5 is also a bit longer, with an extra 0.75 inches, because of larger bumpers. The cargo space stays the same as last year, coming in at 53.7 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.

As expected for an Audi, the Q5 offers plenty of high-tech features. A 10.1-inch touchscreen is standard and now has Audi’s updated infotainment system. The 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is now a standard feature as well for two of the three trim levels. 

A transponder is integrated to pay for tolls, and new features, including navigation, can be added to the infotainment system at a later date with over-the-air updates.

For safety features, the 2021 Q5 comes standard with the driver-assistance technology for automated emergency braking and forward-collision warning. Adaptive cruise control is available.

The 2021 Audi Q5 is expected to be available to buyers at the end of 2020. The starting price will be $43,300. The plug-in hybrid Q5 will start at $51,900, while the SQ5 will have a starting price of $52,900.

Drivers looking for exceptional performance dynamics will likely lean toward the 2021 Audi SQ5. For more engine power at a lower cost, go with the 2021 Q5 plug-in hybrid.