After being the brand’s first diesel-powered S model back in 2013, Audi has reinvigorated the SQ5 with a new look, new equipment and a turbocharged petrol engine.
Based on the latest Q5, the new SQ5 comes with a high level of kit as standard and at time of writing, is the only SQ model currently available to customers.
The performance SUV segment is one that continues to grow with more brands jumping on the bandwagon – but can this help keep Audi near the pinnacle of the market? We get behind the wheel to find out…
As mentioned before, Audi has replaced the turbo-diesel of the first generation with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 – which is a serious upgrade over the 2.0-litre diesel found in the standard Q5. The new unit develops 349bhp and 500Nm of torque, and is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that directs the power to all four wheels through the quattro all-wheel drive system.
With the powertrain, the SQ5 can get from 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph – with the quattro system ensuring you can put the power down without any mishap.
Ride & Handling
The SQ5 comes with a sportier setup than the standard crossover, meaning the ride is a bit firmer and you feel that the most when around town and at slower speeds. But when you get up to a decent pace, you’ll be surprised how little rougher road surfaces are transferred into the cabin – even with larger 21-inch alloys and sports suspension.
The purpose of that harsher suspension though is to offer more stability through the corners and reduce body roll as much as possible – and that has been achieved here. In the sportier driving modes, the steering feels weightier and allows for a better turn-in. Even though this car can be quite ferocious under acceleration, it cruises well as the suspension smooths out the road and the well-insulated cabin hushes most noises from outside.
Interior & Equipment
Audi models are well-known for coming with a nice interior – with the SQ5 continuing that trend. Despite the sportier setup of the model, there’s still plenty of space and practicality on offer, as the boot comes with an adaptable floor to offer from 500 litres to 610 litres of storage. The split rear seats can be folded flat to offer a 1,550-litre loading space – on par with similarly sized rivals.
With the upgrade to the SQ5, Audi has added an S-specific bodykit that is bolder than before, as well as LED running lights, dynamic LED indicators, a chrome grille, silver wing mirrors, twin exhausts and extra aluminium detailing.
That sporty feel continues inside as Audi has fitted aluminium detailing, stainless steel pedals and Nappa leather upholstery – with carbon fibre or wood inlays available as optional extras. The centrepiece of the cabin is an 8.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Bluetooth and smartphone connection preparation, while the cabin also gets electric sports seats, a leather sports steering wheel with gear-change paddles, privacy glass, three-zone climate control, a seven-inch driver’s information display and a 10-speaker sound system.
Driver assists include the parking system plus, pre-sense city autonomous braking, parking cameras, cruise control with speed limiter, high beam assist and hill-hold assist – all of which come as standard. Customers can also choose to fit the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit system, which offers a customisable instrument screen in place of the car’s conventional dials.See Available Audi deals
The SQ5 starts from £50,440 – which when considering the performance and equipment on offer, as well as how much its rivals cost is not too bad at all. Our test model was fitted with a few optional extras to showcase the SQ5, so it came in at £60,285.
As Audi has switched the diesel out for a petrol in the new version, fuel economy isn’t as good as before – but the quoted returns of 34mpg and 195g/km CO2 for a performance SUV aren’t too shabby.
On the whole, the SQ5 is a model that can be a tempting proposition for those after a practical family car but one that can offer an involving drive too. The tried-and-tested quattro system and powerful engine setup helps make this model feel quite impressive when pushed – but that sportiness can affect the overall comfort at slower speeds thanks to firmer suspension and larger wheels. It looks great and can certainly be a decent challenger to other performance SUVs of a similar size.