Audi’s decision to break conventions by using a mild-hybrid diesel V6 for its middleweight sporty models is about to extend to the classy SQ5 TDI, due in showrooms in a couple of months and available for order now.
Like the S6 saloon and S7 Sportback, the sporty soft-roader has a newly developed 3.0-litre diesel V6, working with a 48V integrated starter-generator that collects power on the overrun and deploys it during acceleration, to deliver its impressive performance.
Like its siblings, the SQ5 engine’s turbocharger is fed at low crankshaft speeds by an electric compressor that feeds the turbo impeller and greatly reduces turbo lag. Working together, the starter-generator and V6 produce 342bhp at a relaxed 3850rpm (a power output slightly lower than the saloons because of different manifolding) but an identical 516lb ft of torque between 2500rpm and 3100rpm. Performance matches that of the two new Audi S saloons: the 0-62mph sprint takes a very brisk 5.1sec, and the SQ5 TDI is governed at 155mph, like every other car in its class.
The fuel consumption story is impressive: using latest WLTP rules, the SQ5 returns 34.4mpg combined, usefully undercutting the outgoing 3.0 TFSI model and soundly beating petrol-engined competitors like the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic (around £6000 cheaper at £49,890) by a cool 10mpg. Audi will be hoping buyers respond to their model’s efficiency and long range, and not be deterred (as buyers in other markets recently have been) by the fact that it’s a diesel.
The new SQ5 comes to the UK market in two guises: a well-equipped entry model priced at around £55,000 and an even better-equipped Vorsprung version, still to be priced but likely to cost at least £65,000.
The Vorsprsung swaps the standard model’s 20in alloy wheels for 21s and adds three equipment packs (Comfort and Sound, Tour and Parking Assistance), optional on the standard car and running to at least £6000. It also gets a standard quattro sport centre differential that improves balance and sharpens steering response, plus in-cabin stuff like electric adjustment for the seats and steering wheel. And like the others, the SQ5 gets external changes to distinguish it from the rest: different front bumpers that incorporate prominent air scoops, a body-colour rear diffuser, special side-skirts. The Vorsprung gains a special set of running boards, too, but you can’t get an SQ5 with either the ceramic brakes or the four-wheel steering offered as options on the saloon models.