The 2995cc all-aluminium turbo V6 that powers the SQ5 is quite a clever one. It uses Audi’s variable valve lift technology to run more efficiently under part loads by effectively shortening the engine’s induction stroke and running with a higher compression ratio.

Under wide throttle loads, the cam followers run over a different camshaft profile, returning to a longer induction stroke and a more normal compression ratio. And that allows this 1870kg SUV to combine a 349bhp peak power output and a 5.4sec 0-62mph claim with claimed combined fuel economy of 34.0mpg.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Not often you find a torque-converter auto that’ll let you downshift manually to within 500rpm of the redline, as well as upshift to less than 1000rpm on the tacho. For an SUV, I certainly wouldn’t swap this for an S tronic dual-clutch gearbox

A 30bhp power deficit compared with the F-Pace 3.0 S doesn’t prevent the Audi from being marginally superior in both headline figures – and 20g/km kinder to the sky in CO2 emissions.

As before, the SQ5’s engine is mated as standard to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox, which automatically switches to a freewheeling mode once you take your foot off the accelerator. The transmission feeds Audi’s traditional quattro all-wheel drive system rather than its new, clutch-based quattro ultra version.

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The SQ5’s self-locking centre differential is nominally biased to the rear end, but also traditionally keen to send most of the torque forwards when it deems it necessary. Vectoring is managed by braking an inside wheel, although a sport differential for the back axle is available (and fitted to our test car) to distribute power from side to side in a more traditional sense.

Adaptive dampers are a standard feature of the all-round multi-link chassis, although there is a choice here, too: an S-specific air suspension (another feature of our test car) is available and means that the predominately road-focused SQ5 comes with the added SUV capability of adjustable ride height. The optional equipment tailoring also extends to the car’s steering, which can be had with Audi’s actively variable Dynamic Steering system or with a fixed ratio (our test car was equipped with the latter).

The alloy wheels being turned are typically vast: 20in as standard, or 21in if you prefer, with six-piston brake calipers behind them on 350mm brake discs at the front. The model-specific rims complete a design makeover based on the customary tweaking of bumpers, grille, air inlets and diffuser – not to mention the conspicuous spectacle of a quite obviously fake, outsized, quad-pipe make-believe exhaust.

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