At the Audi Winter Driving Experience at Lime Rock Park, I was given the opportunity to experience a winter autocross circuit that showcased the performance and handling of Audi vehicles. How fun does that sound?!?
The course was designed to utilize the 2016 and 2017 Audi sedans and SUVs which are equipped with quattro all-wheel-drive and all-weather tires for superior traction. I tried the vehicles with the quattro technology equipped, as well as off, and I have to say the difference was startling. Some key things I like to think about when getting into a car are:
On the Safety front, I found that the SQ5 has these distinguishing features:
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Offroad mode and traction control (ASR)
- Anti-theft alarm system with immobilizer
- Tire-pressure monitoring system
- Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) in rear seats
Why is a Tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) important you might ask? It's technology that has been proven to target the avoidance of traffic accidents, poor fuel economy, and increased tire wear due to under-inflated tires through early recognition of a hazardous state of the tires. So if you're driving on various types of terrain such as snow, gravel, pavement, and unpaved roads, this is a major draw that's already included unlike other luxury vehicles.
Speed? The need for speed (without getting too Top Gun on you) is real. The pick up is smooth and powerful, but you always feel in control. The dash features a decorative inlay and the Audi advanced key---a keyless system for starting, stopping, and entry. How awesome was it when I made a pitstop at the market and didn't have to push any buttons to open my door?? Super awesome.
The course at Lime Rock was created specifically for drivers who seek the confidence-building training necessary to safely navigate roads and highways during winter conditions. The instructors focus on teaching techniques, skills and the “secrets” of driving on snow and ice. As someone who learned how to drive with zero snow, being able to test drive on a snow course was challenging. I felt confident with the quattro enabled and learned that you should find a point ahead of where you're going to turn so that you anticipate breaking quicker. It's safer to apply breaks with the quattro technology on, but to be honest, I didn't ever feel like the car couldn't handle anything thrown in it's path. The fear of tipping the car was put to the test around tight curves going 55mph, but the SQ5 handled them like a dream.
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The insides of the vehicles were beautiful. Navigation displays, heated/chilled cupholders (for winter coffee AND summer coffee), and an unbelievably smooth engine truly make these vehicles "luxury". The lack of USB plugs got my attention (almost every car now has these easily accessible in multiple places) but the universal plugs in the glove compartment made up for it. Let us not forget the SiriusXM Radio that has a Billy Joel station. Life in this car is so, so good.
We think the SQ5 is perfect for families, especially those who ski and travel. Something extremely useful (hey, sometimes the skis simply won't fit on the roof!) is the sliding 40/20/40 split folding rear seat with pass-through and adjustable recline. Talk about room for more.
With ample space for storing gear, the SQ5 puts out power not usually reserved for crossovers. Starting at $53,300, there's plenty of packages with options to customize your perfect vehicle.
With a supercharged 354-hp 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine, the SQ5 has no trouble going up steep hills, gliding around corners, or handling tougher terrain. I felt more comfortable driving on the snow course than I have ever felt in any other car in my whole life!
Momtrends was not paid for this post. Some of the photos used were provided by photographer Greg Clark.