2021 Audi Q5

By December 29, 2020

The 2021 Audi Q5 is the middle-sized crossover SUV in Audi’s lineup, between the fairly big Q3 and very big Q7. It has chiseled looks with an updated look this year, as well as a larger, faster touchscreen in its five-passenger cabin.

Also for 2021, the base turbo-4 engine gets pumped up from 248 to 261 horsepower. The Q5 is all-wheel drive, and uses a 7-speed automatic transmission.

There’s a performance edition, the SQ5, which uses a twin-turbo V-6 making 349 hp, and an 8-speed automatic. It can speed from 0-60 mph in 4.7-seconds, which puts it way up into the high-performance SUV category, and makes it very fun to drive.

The third powertrain is a plug-in hybrid. It uses a version of the turbo-4 engine combined with electric motors and a 14.1-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, enabling it to go 19 miles on electricity alone. It makes more horsepower than the SQ5—362 hp—but it isn’t faster because of its weight.

The EPA rated the Q5 with the base engine at 23 mpg city, 28 highway, 25 combined. The SQ5 is rated at 18/24/20 mpg, while the plug-in hybrid is rated at only 27 mpg. The EPA rates the hybrid’s all-electric range at 19 miles.

The 2021 Audi Q5 hasn’t been crash-tested yet, but it comes standard with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors. On Premium Plus and higher models, active lane control and adaptive cruise control come standard.

Model Lineup

The 2021 Audi Q5 comes as Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige, with prices that start at $44,295 to start and can reach past $63,000.

The Premium comes standard with a new 10.1-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, wood trim, power front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and 18-inch wheels. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is optional. There’s also a new-for-2021 Sport Package that adds 20-inch wheels, adaptive air suspension, summer tires, and sport seats.

The Q5 Premium Plus, for nearly $50,000, adds active lane control, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and more available options.

The Q5 plug-in hybrid is similarly equipped, but costs between $7,700 and $8,600 more.

The high-performance SQ5 is $8,500 to $10,100 more than a similarly equipped Q5, while adding the twin-turbo V-6 engine, an 8-speed transmission, air suspension, 20-inch wheels, and upgraded taillights. Options include 21-inch wheels and a louder exhaust.


Although it might be said that the 2021 Audi Q5 has gotten a facelift, few will notice the slight differences in the grille and bumpers. It remains more conservative than its German rivals.

The grille is lower and smaller, between air intakes that are slightly more upright. The front and rear bumpers are a bit more sculpted. It’s a touch rounder on the body sides, while the window line is underscored by deeply creased sheet metal. The wheel arches are starched and pressed a little more, helping frame the optional 21-inch wheels.


Inside, the Q5 is heavy on technology. It’s swathed in leather and bathed in light from the big touchscreen. The new 10.1-inch touchscreen is perched on the dash like a tablet, while still allowing good forward vision.

Front occupants are gently hugged by supportive seats. Premium Plus and Prestige models use sport seats that are more adjustable and cooled as well as heated.

The rear seats are just as comfortable, although the middle passenger won’t want to be there for a long trip. There’s more than 38 inches of leg room, a fairly good amount.

Behind the second row there is about 27 cubic feet of cargo space, and with the rear seats folded there’s about 60 cubic feet. However the second row doesn’t fold completely flat.

Driving Impressions

The turbo-4 engine in the Q5 gains 13 horsepower in 2021, now making 261 hp. Audi says it will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. It’s mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with standard all-wheel drive.

The Q5 plug-in hybrid (officially called the Q5 55 TFSI e quattro) pairs a 2.0-liter turbo-4 to a 14.1-kwh lithium-ion battery and electric motor, to make a total of 362 hp; it’s paired to the same 7-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Audi says it can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds, and the EPA says it can go 19 miles on electric alone. Audi also says it can take a full charge in two hours on a Level 2 plug.

The Q5 plug-in hybrid is quite heavy. Our limited experience with it left us feeling a little underwhelmed given that Audi sells an electric E-Tron wagon that’s one of the best EVs out there.

The highest-performing Q5 is the SQ5, with its 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 349 hp. It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. The SQ5 rides about an inch lower, and is equipped with an air suspension. Performance options include a variable-ratio steering rack and a limited-slip rear differential, which make the SQ5 feel even more athletic. Its beefy steering and quick feet make it feel like the terrific S4 performance sedan, and that’s saying something for a crossover.

Final Word

The 2021 Audi Q5 has an excellent base model with strong acceleration and good fuel economy. The plug-in hybrid’s a work-in-progress, but the SQ5 does the high-performance job with sophistication.


—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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