Audi SQ5 VS Range Rover Sport
- Big torque from turbo-diesel V6
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Rear legroom could be better
- Needs better cabin storage
- Three-year warranty only
Range Rover Sport
- Super comfortable
- SD4 engine very sensible
- Looks a bit dated in darker colours
- Options pricing scary
- Missing a couple of useful safety features as standard
Audi makes some mind-blowing cars. There’s the R8 which comes up to my knees and has a V10, or the RS6 wagon which is like a missile with generous boot space. The model, however, most Audi buyers purchase is the Q5.
It’s a mid-sized SUV, which means it’s basically the shopping trolley in the carmaker’s range. But like all things Audi, there’s a performance version, and that’s the SQ5. Audi launched its updated Q5 mid-sized SUV a couple of months ago and now the revised sporty SQ5 has thundered in.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Range Rover Sport
Let's get straight to the point. The thing that will send shivers through the muddy-boots-and-shotgun set. The thing that will upset Range Rover traditionalists to their very core.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The SQ5 is the best version of a hugely popular SUV, and the turbo-diesel V6 provides a thunderously enjoyable and easy driving experience. The update has brought little in the way of new looks, and practicality remains an area where the SQ5 could be improved, but it’s hard not to appreciate this excellent SUV.
Range Rover Sport7.4/10
The Range Rover Sport is a fine alternative to the largely German competition. As the name suggets, it's aimed at the Audi Q7/BMW X5 set, even if it isn't as quick or as agile as the sportiest of those.
The surprising thing about this particular machine is the four-cylinder diesel. While probably considered a heresy by many, it's an excellent engine for a car that has had a much-needed interior technology boost.
It is looking a bit old elsewhere, though, especially beside the Velar and Range Rover. It can't be long before an exterior facelift comes along.
Can you even contemplate a four-cylinder Range Rover?
It might just be me but the Q5 seems to be the best looking SUV in Audi’s range. It doesn’t have the overly large and cumbersome appearance of the Q7, but it has more heft than a Q3. That ‘Tornado line’ which twists itself down the side of the car, with the wheels appearing to push up into the body at the guards, adds to the dynamic look.
The SQ5 looks even more athletic with its S body kit, red brake calipers and 21-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels.
The update has seen the grille restyled to be lower and wider, with a more complex honeycomb design, while the side sill trim has been redesigned, too.
SQ5 colours include, 'Mythos Black', 'Ultra Blue', 'Glacier White', 'Floret Silver', 'Quantum Grey', and 'Navarra Blue.'
The cabin is much the same as before, with the addition of Nappa leather upholstery as standard. While prestigious and well-appointed, the cabin styling has been the same since the arrival of this second-generation Q5 in 2017, and is beginning to show its age.
The SQ5 is 4682mm end-to-end, 2140mm wide and 1653mm tall.
Want more coupe in your SQ5? You’re in luck, Audi has announced that an SQ5 Sportback will be coming soon.
Range Rover Sport7/10
The Range Rover Sport is clearly here to evoke (cough) both Range Rover's forward-looking design language, pioneered in the Evoque, as well as the traditional look of the Range Rovers of old. Only problem is, in the darker grey of the test car, it looked a bit dated. Which is weird.
All of the good things were there (like LED daytime running lights, headlights and tail-lights) but the two-tone effect of the blacked-out pillars and roof just didn't really work. Well, not for me anyway.
The finer details of the Range Rover and the Evoque don't seem to have made it to the Sport. I saw one in a lighter colour and thought it looked much better, more modern. Maybe I was having an off week.
The cabin is really good and has had a little freshening up. The 10-inch touchscreen is new and carries the new version of Jag's InControl system. Underneath is the very appealing, if slightly overblown, climate control screen, with its funky dials-with-temperature-display treatment. The materials are excellent throughout, and it's a very comfortable, relaxing cabin.
This mid-size, five-seater SUV could do a better job on the practicality. There’s no third-row, seven-seater option, but that isn’t our main gripe. Nope, the SQ5 is short on rear legroom, and cabin storage isn’t great.
Sure, I’m 191cm (6'3") tall and almost 75 per cent of that is legs, but I can sit pretty comfortably behind my driving position in most mid-sized SUVs. Not the SQ5, which is getting tight back there.
As for cabin storage, yes, there’s a decent-sized console box under the centre armrest and slots for keys and wallets, plus the front door pockets are big, but rear passengers again don’t get the best treatment with small door pockets. There are two cup holders back there, though, in the fold-down armrest and another two up front.
Four USB ports (two in the front and two in the second row) are useful and so is the wireless phone charger in the dashboard.
Privacy glass, directional air vents for the third row and roof racks that now have cross members are great to see.
Range Rover Sport8/10
Like its big brother, the Sport isn't small. It's only 15cm shorter, at 4.85 metres, and, if you so choose, you can cram two more seats in to make seven. If you don't, the boot will hold a striking 684 litres. Drop the back seats and that figure jumps to 1761 litres.
Front seat passengers have plenty of storage options, with two deep bins, one of which is underneath the pair of sliding cupholders - I was sorely tempted to fill them with water, slide them out of the way and launch Thunderbird 1 from the huge space underneath.
There are another two cupholders in the back, and pockets in the doors, but they're not really good for bottles. That's what the Thunderbird 1 hidey-hole is for.
Passengers have plenty of space, with good leg and headroom for those in the rear - who will be quite happy, even if they're over 180cm. My 185cm son was happy enough being chauffeured about.
Price and features
The SQ5 lists for $104,900, making it $35K more than the entry-grade Q5 40 TFSI. Still, the value is good considering this king-of-the-range is loaded with features, including an armful of new ones coming with this update.
New standard features include, matrix LED headlights, metallic paint, a panoramic sunroof, acoustic glazing, Nappa leather upholstery, an electrically adjustable steering column, a head-up display, a 19-speaker Bang and Olufsen stereo, and the roof racks now come with cross members.
That’s along with the standard features which came on the SQ5 previously such as, LED DRLs, three-zone climate control, a 10.1-inch media display, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, 30-colour ambient lighting, digital radio, power adjustable and heated front seats, privacy glass, 360-degree view camera, adaptive cruise, and auto parking.
The SQ5 also gets the sporty S exterior body kit with red brake calipers, and the interior also has S features such as sports seats with diamond stitching.
Of course, the SQ5 is more than just a cosmetic pack. There’s sports suspension and that magnificent V6, which we’ll get to soon.
Range Rover Sport7/10
The SE SD4 occupies the second rung on the Sport ladder, weighing in at an almost reasonable $98,400. That gets you 19-inch alloys, an eight-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, remote central locking, keyless start, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, leather trim, electric front seats, sat nav, a powered tailgate, powered everything else, heated folding mirrors and a full-size spare.
The most recent version of Jaguar Land Rover's 'InControl' is accessed through a new 10-inch touchscreen. The new software is less colourful than before, but it's easier to use and understand. The optional 13-speaker stereo is a belter, but is still bereft of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - although we are regularly assured it's on the way.
'Our' car had the following options - 'Off Road Pack' (twin-speed transfer box, 'All Terrain Progress Control', adaptive dynamics, terrain response and air suspension; $5610), 'Comfort and Convenience Pack' (power gesture tailgate, 60/40 split rear seats, keyless entry and start, soft door close and other bits; $5130), sliding panoramic sunroof ($4420), 20-inch alloys ($2520), matrix LED headlights ($2450), head-up display ($2420!), illuminated metal treadplates (oh, come on - $2310), metallic paint ($2200), surround camera system ($1890), heated front and rear seats ($1630), 'Drive Pack' (blind-spot monitoring and driver-condition monitor; $1080), tow hitch receiver ($1000), DAB ($950), privacy glass ($950), upgraded 13-speaker sound system ($800), solar attenuating windscreen ($680), wade sensing ($610), cabin air ionisation ($460), auto high beam ($330) and domestic plug power sockets ($130). All up, that's $138,920.
If you ask me, paying for blind-spot detection and keyless entry at this level is pretty stiff.
Engine & trans
This diesel engine uses what’s called a mild-hybrid system. Don’t mistake this for a petrol-electric hybrid or a plug-in hybrid because it’s nothing like them, but more an auxiliary system for electrical storage which can restart the engine, which shuts down during coasting.
Shifting gears is an eight-speed automatic, and of course drive goes to all four wheels. Claimed 0-100km/h for the SQ5 is 5.1 seconds, which should be more than enough to help you out when that lane ahead runs out. And towing capacity is 2000kg for a braked trailer.
Is there a petrol variant? There was one in the previous model, but for this update Audi has only released this diesel version so far. That’s not to say a petrol SQ5 won’t appear later. We’ll keep our ear to the ground for you.
Range Rover Sport8/10
The SD4 badge means a Ingenium diesel, JLR's very own brand of engine, lurks beneath the bonnet. In this case, it produces 177kW and 500Nm of torque. It's worth noting that the older 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel in the Range Rover betters this new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel by just 13kW and 100Nm.
You can tow a mammoth 3500kg braked and 750kg unbraked, although it's worth noting that the first figure requires bravery and/or training. And a lot of braking room.
The Aussie launch didn’t give us a chance to test the SQ5's fuel consumption, but Audi reckons after a combination of open and urban roads the 3.0-litre TDI should return 7.0L/100km. That sounds like ridiculously good economy, but it’s all we have to go on for now. We’ll put the SQ5 through some real-world testing soon.
While the mild-hybrid system does contribute to fuel saving it would be much better to see a plug-in hybrid Q5 on sale in Australia. An e-tron EV version would be even better. So, while the diesel is efficient, consumers need more environmentally sound choices for this popular mid-sized SUV.
Range Rover Sport7/10
Range Rover's official figure puts combined-cycle consumption at 6.5/100km, which seemed realistic, even for this 2100kg machine. We got just under 10.0L/100km in mostly suburban cruising with a couple of short highway runs. So a decent miss, but not really a particularly varied week.
If I had to choose the best thing about the SQ5, it’s the way it drives. This is one of those cars that feels like you’re wearing it rather than driving it with the way it steers, the smooth eight-speed auto shifts, and the engine responds.
Like a low-flying army helicopter - voomp-voomp-voomp. That’s what the SQ5 sounds like at 60km/h in fourth, and I love it. Even if the sound is enhanced electronically.
But the oomph is completely real. The 3.0-litre, turbo-diesel V6 is a development of the engine that was in the Special Edition SQ5 from the previous model, but it’s better because the 700Nm of torque now comes in lower, at 1750rpm. Power output is also a smidge higher at 251kW.
Just don’t expect the SQ5 to be brutally dynamic, it’s not a Mercedes-AMG GLC 43. Nope, it’s more grand tourer than super SUV with colossal torque and a comfortable ride. It handles impressively, but the SQ5 seems more at home on gentle country roads and highways than switchbacks and hairpins.
My drive route took in only a small amount of city running, but the SQ5’s ease of driving made traffic as stressless as stressful peak hour traffic can be.
Range Rover Sport7/10
It might not be that much smaller than its Range Rover big brother, but it feels much easier to manoeuvre from the moment you slip behind the wheel. You sit lower in the Sport, and it feels more agile from the second you get moving.
Just for starters, the steering is much quicker, meaning less arm-twirling. The suspension is firmer, and the front end much more interested in firing through corners. While the Range Rover is super-smooth and calm, the Sport has a bit more aggro and doesn't mind being driven hard.
In the places where it will spend most of its time - suburban streets and highways - it's brilliant. Yes, it's big, and therefore you need your wits about you (a standard blind-spot monitor would help), and parking spaces aren't always big enough, but the smooth ride and cosseting cabin will ensure calm progress.
For a whopper of a car, you'd think a four-cylinder turbodiesel would get a bit lost, but it's more than up to the task of shifting the two-tonner, spinning happily and quietly to keep you moving. The Ingenium engines are terrific things in petrol or diesel, but this diesel feels very much at home here.
The Q5 was given the maximum five-star ANCAP score when it was assessed in 2017, and the SQ5 carries the same rating.
Coming standard is AEB, although it’s the city-speed type which works to detect cars and pedestrians at up to 85km/h. There’s also rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assistance, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, auto parking (parallel and perpendicular), 360-degree camera view, front and rear parking sensors, and eight airbags.
For child seats there are two ISOFIX points and three top tether anchor mounts across the rear seat.
Range Rover Sport8/10
The Sport arrives with six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake assist, reversing camera, forward-collision warning, forward AEB and lane-departure warning. Irritatingly, a blind-spot monitor is an option, which sucks in a car this big.
Neither ANCAP nor EuroNCAP has awarded a safety rating to the Sport.
As for servicing, Audi offers a five-year plan for the SQ5 costing $3100, covering every 12 month/15000km service over that time, for an annual average of .
Range Rover Sport7/10
Range Rover offers a three-year/100,000km warranty with roadside assist for the duration. That's starting to look light-on as non-premium makers pile in to offer five years. The roadside assist covers the usual stuff, but they will also come and get you out of a bog if you've gone rogue on four-wheel-drive trails.
You can cap your service prices with a service plan up to five years/130,000km, and servicing is required every 12 months/26,000km.