STEPHEN OTTLEY June 16, 2012
New Audi SQ5 TDI puts the sport into sports utility vehicle, with a diesel twist.
Audi had become the latest European car maker to release a high performance diesel model, this time based on the Q5 SUV.
The Audi SQ5 TDI was unveiled at the Le Mans 24 Hour race overnight and will become the first diesel-powered Audi to carry the S badge. The rest of the range is powered by high-performance petrol engines.
He Audi SQ5 is the latest German car with a high performance diesel engine. Rival BMW has a range of diesel-powered M Performance models, some of which are due here soon. Years ago Mercedes-Benz produced a diesel-powered AMG, although it wasn't sold here. Even Porsche now sells diesel-powered models, while Maserati is understood to be readying some high performance diesel models.
The SQ5 packs the same 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel just launched in the A7 Sportback to give it sports car like grunt without the associated thirst.
The SQ5 pumps out 230kW of power and a substantial 650Nm of torque to help it launch from 0-100km/h in just 5.1 seconds and sprint to a top speed of 250km/h.
Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Fuel economy for the SQ5 is higher than the A7 Sportback with the same 3.0 TDI biturbo engine; the SUV uses 7.2-litres per 100km.
Specially-tuned sports suspension lowers the SQ5 by 30mm over the regular Q5, and it rides on standard 20-inch alloy wheels; 21-inch rims are available as an option.
The usual S Line design flourishes are added to the SQ5 including redesigned front and rear bumpers, S badged black brake callipers and platinum grey finished grille.
The launch of the SQ5 has increased speculation about Audi’s other plans for hotted up SUVs. A production version of the Q3 RS concept is tipped to appear in the near future.
It will most likely be powered by the same 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol engine found in the TT-RS.
An RS version of the Q5 is also not out of the question. Audi is aggressively expanding its range of RS models after years of only building one RS model at a time.
It currently offers the RS3, RS4 Avant, RS5 and TT-RS.
Audi is attempting to become the first can manufacturer to win the Le Mans sports car race using a hybrid car.
Its e-tron quattro prototype racer qualified on pole position for the race; which begins at 3pm on Saturday in France.
The SQ5 TDI will launch in Europe in the first quarter of 2013 but no Australian timing or pricing has been announced yet.