The new Audi SQ5, due next year, is deep into development, and significant attention is being paid to the handling to make it more involving to drive.
One senior engineer involved in the project promised the car would be able to oversteer, and would make for a much livelier drive than the standard car on which it is based.
As with the current SQ5, there will be V6 petrol and diesel versions developed for sale in different regions around in the world. Europe will get the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, with power increased significantly over the 282bhp of the initial range-topping Audi Q5 V6 diesel thanks to revised turbocharger and new tuning.
The SQ5 is likely to get steel springs and passive dampers as standard, with air springs and adaptive dampers optional. The suspension will be overhauled over the standard Q5 for a sportier drive. The steering software will also be tweaked, with a dynamic variable steering system optional.
The oversteer potential is set to come from the option of a sports differential on the Quattro all-wheel system’s rear axle. The tuning of this is said to allow for a livelier and more engaging rear end.
Development of the SQ5 is set to switch to Arjeplog in Sweden in the next couple of weeks. Here the testing on the slippery ice tracks will allow Audi to decide just how playful it wants the SQ5 to be.
Audi is also understood to be experimenting with technology from the larger SQ7 to which the Q5 is closely related, including the larger car’s 48V electric sub-system to power an electric turbo and active anti-roll bars, and a rear-wheel steering system. Cost is likely to prohibit this technology from the smaller model at this stage, however.
Audi also has a plug-in hybrid version of the Q5 in development for launch in 2018.