2020 Audi SQ5 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Faulty brakes and lane departure issues are the cause of top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When the second generation Audi SQ5 was launched in the U.S. in 2018, Audi boasted that it set a new standard in the luxury performance crossover segment. Offering the perfect balance of functionality and performance, they said the SQ5’s driver assistance systems were highly advanced. These, of course, include braking control and steering guidance. But owners are complaining that the steering, emergency brakes, and automatic braking system malfunction.  

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2021

Most Common Problems with the 2020 Audi SQ5

The most common problems highlighted in consumer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) relate to braking issues and lane departure malfunctions. Two complaints are filed under Forward Collision Avoidance, and strangely, only one is under Service Brakes. Other problem areas that are identified are back-over prevention, vehicle speed control, and steering.

There have been varying numbers of complaints (1-9) to the NHTSA about the SQ5 since its original U.S. launch in 2013. These have covered various systems and components, but nobody mentioned faulty brakes. Yet, since the second generation SQ5 was released in 2018, brakes have been an ongoing issue.

In 2018, there were two complaints highlighting phantom braking, one about the Audi pre-sense automatic emergency braking system, and one relating to parking brakes. In 2019, two complaints focused on braking problems exactly like those mentioned in complaints about the 2020 model. There are, though, no solutions offered in technical service bulletins (TSBs).

There are also 4 recalls for the 2020 Audi SQ5. The front seat backrest frame may not have been properly welded. If the recalled vehicles are involved in a rear-end crash, the backrest adjustment could break. This would reduce the amount of restraint afforded the person in that seat, increasing the risk of injury.

The other 3 recalls all increase the risk of a crash. Two relate to the rear axle, which may be misaligned, or the rear axle lock nuts may break. Another recall warns that a control module shutdown in as many as 288,991 Q5 and SQ5 SUVs can reduce engine power.

2020 Audi SQ5 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Back Over Prevention: Warnings
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Vehicle Speed Control

Features of the Audi SQ5’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), says Audi, are designed to “help drivers navigate the road and traffic with increased confidence.” For example, “ Standard Audi pre sense® city, an automatic emergency braking system, can help detect stationary vehicles and pedestrians, and if necessary, initiate full braking at speeds of up to 52 mph when a potential collision is detected.”

Then there’s the option of “adaptive cruise control with stop & go” that maintains distance from vehicles in front of the SQ5. It includes braking and accelerating. Then, between 0 and 40 mph, “traffic jam assist” combines braking, acceleration, and steering guidance that can help “decrease the stress of driving in congested traffic.”

But complaints to the NHTSA dispute the reliability of these features, indicating that the ADAS doesn’t always operate as intended.

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Brake Problems

Phantom braking is a well-known term used to describe when an ADAS applies the brakes randomly, for no valid reason. Often, a vehicle will brake because it detects an object on the road that isn’t there. Two complaints about braking refer to the emergency braking and automatic braking systems. While neither uses the term phantom braking, that’s what these complaints describe.

Emergency Braking Malfunction

An owner from Texas has experienced multiple instances of emergency braking malfunction. At least twice, “the rear backup/parking sensors detected some sort of object when one didn’t exist and abruptly engaged the brakes despite there being no object behind me.”

On another occasion, “the front collision indicator detected something non-existent and abruptly slammed on my brakes while I was driving 70 mph on a 3-lane highway. There were no objects or cars in (the) viewable distance at all. The abruptness, lack of warning, and braking power sent my car out of control across all 3 lanes, and nearly into a barrier, before I was able to regain control and the brakes released.” At the time, the driver was on the hands-free phone and her fiancé heard what happened. At no time were sensors or alarms activated in advance to warn her.

Audi ran diagnostics and electrical system tests but found no errors or problems despite multiple occurrences.

Automatic Braking System Malfunction

While reversing down her driveway, the automatic braking system suddenly activated and the SQ5 stopped abruptly, an owner from California states. There was a vehicle at a stop sign 500 feet away from her vehicle when the failure occurred. There was no warning light or message.

In her complaint, she states that the failure reoccurred while reversing and while driving from a complete stop. Additionally, the SUV made “an abnormal sound” when she pressed the brake pedal. She took the SQ5 to the local dealer about 3-4 times. However, the mechanic couldn’t find any issues.

The SUV only had about 150 miles on the clock when these failures started, so the owner wanted the manufacturer to buy the vehicle back.

Steering Issues Impact Lane Departure

An owner from North Carolina reports that when using the lane departure and “steering correction” system, the SQ5 attempts to “suddenly, sharply, and dangerously change lanes.” For example, while traveling on a 4-lane highway with lane departure and cruise control active, the SUV “jerked left into a turn-only lane, over-riding my manual steering of the car in the straight travel lane.”

The complaint goes on to say that had there been another car in the turning lane “we would have nearly certainly collided.” At the time, the SQ5 was at least 30% into that lane before the driver was able to react and get it back into the center lane.

What to do if your 2020 Audi SQ5 is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If you have recurring problems that affect the use and value of your 2020 Audi SQ5, it might be a lemon. Every year automakers buy back, trade in, or replace vehicles to lemon owners. So, if you think your SUV is a lemon, why not get a lemon lawyer to assess your problems?

Lemberg Law has negotiated settlements for many of our clients. We will assess your problems and advise whether we think you have a case. We won’t charge you because the law says that Audi must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases.

If you need help, fill out a contact form or call our Helpline now.


Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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