2009-2020 Audi Q5/SQ5 Towing Capacities Resource Guide

The Audi Q5/SQ5 is one of the most popular SUVs in Audi's lineup and is a vehicle known for luxury and comfort. There is more to them though and they actually had a decent towing capacity to them  for pulling around some moderate amounts of weight, especially for their size.

I did research on these vehicles to see what they were capable of pulling and if it was even enough to talk about, and indeed, it was!

Overview of the Data For the Q5's:

Engine Choices: No engine choices were listed for the Q5's when I was looking through the owner's manuals. I did, however, find the engine options listed in the brochures and it made the information from the manuals much more clear.

I wanted to break down the different engine options that were available for the different model years because it makes it so much easier to understand and gives a nice comparison of how capable each motor was.

  • The 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016 Audi SQ5 with the 3.0t had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,400 lbs.
  • The 2022, 2021 and 2020 Q5 with the 2.0t had a towing capacity of up to 2,000 lbs.
  • The 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Audi Q5 with the 2.0t had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,400 lbs.
  • The 2012 and 2011 Q5 with the 2.0t had a tow capacity of 1,650-4,410 lbs.
  • The 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Audi Q5 with the 2.0t hybrid had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,410 lbs.

  • The 2022, 2021 and 2020 Q5 with the 3.0t had a towing capacity of up to 4,400 lbs.
  • The 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Audi Q5 with the 3.0t had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,400 lbs.
  • The 2016, 2015 and 2014 Audi Q5 with the 3.0 TDI had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,400 lbs.

  • The 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Q5 with the 3.2l engine had a tow capacity of 1,650-4,410 lbs.

What Affected The Numbers: The main element that affected the numbers for these SUVs was whether or not the trailer you were hauling had its own braking system. The difference between an unbraked and braked trailer was 2,750 pounds!

The engine that you had equipped also played a role when it came to the numbers but not at the scale that the trailer brakes did, at least for the 2009-2020 modl year vehicles.

Trim Levels: There were many different trim levels available over the years, some were carried over from year to year and others were short-lived but the trim level you had did not affect the weight ratings, directly, that is.

Some trim levels did have more confined options, as far as the engine choices went and that could affect your weight specification. Looking at all of the different trim levels was quite a task and it is very confusing when looking at multiple model years, but if you are just looking at a single model year, then it is way less cumbersome. I recommend looking at the brochures to get an idea of the different trim levels.

Overall Capacity: Over the years, the overall trailer weight ratings didn't change all that much, except for the 2021 and newer models, in fact it was almost exactly the same for the 2009-2020 model years.

The towing capacity for the 2022 and 2021 Q5's ranged between 2,000-4,409 lbs. and 1,650-4,410 lbs. for 2020-2009 models. 

Many of the Q5's charts below apply to many different model years and is why you will only see one chart but the information is identical with no variations.

It is important to note that Audi specifies that grades above 12% are not recommended when pulling a trailer with the Q5's. All of the charts specify a 12% grade maximum limit.

This article encompasses Q5's and SQ5's that had the same ratings and in fact, they shared the same owner's manuals, as you can see in the image below.

Owner's Manuals

2022 Models:

There were three different engines listed for the 2022 models, but there were no clues as to what they were, which was true for all of the other model years too. Luckily, I broke down the three options and they are as follows:

  • The 40 TFSI is the 2.0L (PHEV) engine, also known as the plug-in hybrid motor
  • The 45 TFSI is the 3.0L engine, which has the highest overall capacity
  • The TFSIe is the standard 2.0L engine that is offered in the base models

The 2022 models share similar specifications and engine options with the 2021 model years, with the exception of the new 2.0l plug-in hybrid motor option, which is also responsible for the extra rating that is listed.

The tow capacity for the 2022 Q5's ranged from 2,000-4,400 lbs. and was still similar to other model years, even the older ones. There were no braked and unbraked specifications for these vehicles, like the 2021 models, either.

2022 Audi Q5 Towing Chart

2022 Chart

2021 Models:

The 2021 model years had similar specs to the other model years when it came to the overall specs, but where it varied was on the lower end of the spectrum, where the 2021 models had a 350 pound advantage.

The towing capacity for the 2021 Q5 ranged from 2,000-4,409 lbs., according to the tables in the owner's manuals, which I have listed in the screenshot below.

I wanted to clarify the engine (model) information in the table below that is shown in the left-hand column. Only one of the engines listed was identifiable, and this was the TFSIe, which was the standard 2.0L engine that is offered with the base models. The other option was the 3.0L engine, which was also used for the SQ5s.

2021 Audi Q5 Towing Chart

2021 Chart

2013-2020 Models:

The 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Audi Q5 and SQ5 had a towing capacity of 1,650-4,400 lbs., depending on whether the trailer you were using had brakes installed.

The lower 1,650 pound rating was for a trailer with no brakes and the larger 4,400 pound rating was for trailers that had their own braking system installed.

The maximum tongue weight for the 2013-2020 Q5's was set at 10%, which equates to 440 pounds. One thing I wanted to point out was that there was a chart for some of the newer model years but not for all of them and the two pictures below illustrates this.

It is also important to note that the 2013-2017 models state that these weights are applicable to a factory installed hitch OR an aftermarket hitch.

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Audi Q5 Towing Chart

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 Chart

2017 Audi Q5 Towing Chart

2017 Chart

2009-2012 Models:

The 2009-2012 Q5's had almost identical ratings and specs that the 2013-2020 models had, but there was a slight difference in the max. capacity numbers for the trailer weights and tongue load.

The 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Q5 had a towing capacity that ranged from 1,650-4,410 lbs., the lower rating specified for unbraked trailers and the larger rating was reserved for braked trailers.

As you can see, 10 pounds difference for the 2009-2012 Q5's and a 1 pound difference for the tongue weight limits.

2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Audi Q5 Towing Chart

2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Chart

What Do I Need to Know About My Vehicle?

You really didn't need to know much about these vehicles in order to get your maximum trailer weight ratings from the charts.

There were only three main things that you needed to know about your vehicle to obtain your trailer weight ratings and these three things were: the model year of your vehicle, the engine that was equipped and whether the trailer you are planning on pulling behind your vehicle has trailer brakes.

We will go into more detail about these things next and how to go about finding the answers to these questions.

Your Engine and Model Year

Figuring out what model year your vehicle is and what engine you have equipped from the factory are the two most important details that you need in order to figure out your maximum trailer weight rating.

I assume that there are two types of people out there, one group that can figure out what model year their vehicle is and what engine they have under the hood, if they don't know, they can figure it out.

The other group of people probably know what the model year is for their SUV, but may have trouble identifying the type of engine that was installed at the factory. This is not really a problem though, if you know how to find this information and it just so happens that I do!

These two variables can actually be located by using the VIN of your vehicle and plugging it into a VIN decoder website online. There are tons of these out there, but I use and prefer this one because I like how it lays out all of the specs and I have found it to list the data that I need.

All you need to do is plug your VIN into the search bar and search. There will be tons of information about your vehicle, including the model year and what engine you have and loads more, but these two specifications should be located near the top of the results page and should be easy to locate.

Does Your Trailer Have Brakes?

The trailer that you are planning on using can make a huge impact on your overall trailer weight rating because there were two different specifications listed for both braked and unbraked trailers.

Braked and unbraked trailers is a term that refers to your trailer and is just referencing whether your trailer has its own set of brakes that are separate from your vehicle's brakes (braked trailer) or if your trailer does not have a brake system installed (unbraked).

The 2009-2020 models had two different specifications listed as your maximum trailer weight rating and these were dependent on your trailer, more specifically if the trailer you were using had brakes. The differences between the two specifications were more than 2,700 pounds! So having a brake setup for your trailer is well worth it, if you are trying to get the most pulling power out of these SUVs.

Do I Have a Tow Package?

All of the 2022-2009 Q5's did not really have a tow package, but all of the models were equipped with a "trailer hitch provision" which means that all of the models were able to pull a trailer.

I found it surprising that the same data was used for some model years, even though different engines were used. For example, the 2016 model year used five different options for their engine choices, but all of these options had the trailer hitch provision that was required to pull the specified 4,400 pound maximum rating.

What Does The 12% Incline Mean?

If we look at the data in the charts for all of the different model years, we can see that the specified weight ratings were listed and applicable as long as you were traveling up grades that had a 12% slope or less. This is fairly common when it comes to pulling a trailer with your vehicle and makes sense when you look at it logically.

When you are pulling additional weight behind your vehicle, it puts extra stress on it, especially the transmission and engine. The added weight makes these two components work much harder and creates a lot of heat in the process. These conditions can become worse if you start travelling up a steep hill (or grade) and can start to affect your vehicle.

Other variables, like hot weather and running your air conditioner can put even more stree on your vehicle an its components and is can cause damage. All of these examples are "extreme conditions" that you need to compensate for, in order to protect your investment.

I was able to find a small excerpt in the owner's manual that states that you can travel up steeper grades if you are not pulling the maximum trailer weight that was specified. Keep in mind that while no hard figure was given, you will want to have a significantly reduced percentage of that maximum weight figure to compensate for these scenarios.

Trailer Hitch Provision Explained

Like I said, this surprised me because there were different engines with different specs listed, which you can also see in the brochure. In this example, there were only two different displacements listed and these were a 2.0L engine and a 3.0L engine. That is a huge difference alone and was surprising to see the smaller engine having the same specs as the larger one. This was true for many different model years too.

Where I Found My Information:

The owner's manuals: I found all of the charts and other towing information on these vehicles from Audi's website, where they have a database for all of their owners manuals. You have to input a VIN and then submit that VIN and it will give you access to your specific manual. There are also other resources available, in some cases, that might be worth checking out as well.

I wanted to link to the articles but since they use VIN for pulling up their data, the sessions would expire before anyone would ever get to see the manual, so you will have to look up the manual yourself.

The brochures: The brochures were also a huge help and really complimented the data that I found in the owner's manuals. The data was laid out much more organized and there was a lot more information to look through, which really helped to break down the data for the different trim levels, engine options and model years.

Last updated on May 31st, 2022 at 03:35 pm

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