Engine: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, 230kW/650Nm
Transmission: eight-speed auto, all-wheel-drive
Overall fuel economy: 6.8litres/100km
C02 emissions: 179g/km
Equipment: Includes Bluetooth and WiFi
Safety: 5-star Euro NCAP rating
Factory warranty: Three years/Unlimited km
It’s a diesel-SUV, but not as we know one, Phil. The new S-version of the popular Audi Q5 doesn’t do mud-plugging, and while it will tolerate running the kids to school and picking up groceries at the supermarket, those applications aren’t what it is best at. Instead, this is the first of a new breed of super-SUVs from Audi. Land Rover might have kicked the genre off with the sporty-looking Evoque, but Audi have adopted a more subtle approach with the SQ5. It has the appearance of an ordinary Q5 apart from wheels seemingly sized for steam locomotive duty, and the licorice strap-thick rubber they wear. These details should warn onlookers about the performance potential of the SQ5, and V8 drivers should be wary about taking on the unassuming-looking Audi in impromptu drag races on motorway on-ramps. For this high-riding diesel can sure kick ass.
It’s Audi’s new twin-turbo V6 diesel that ensures the S in SQ5 stand for Special (and not Suzy, as in 1980s rock star Suzy Quatro). The turbos can work in tandem or individually according to the load on the engine and programming that ensures that they always maximize throttle response and torque output. With 650Nm to tap into, the SQ5 has all the grunt of a supercharged petrol V8, while any concerns that the limited rev range of a diesel engine might inhibit the sports potential of the SQ5 are quickly addressed by the wealth of ratios provided by the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. The compression-ignition six might need an upshift at 5500rpm where said V8 benzine-burner can rev out for another 1000rpm or more, but the ZF just keeps those shifts coming as SQ5 locks onto the horizon and relentlessly reels it in. Best of all, the grippy all-paw handling is a perfect match for the over-achieving powertrain.
Can out-accelerate a 6.4-litre Jeep SRT8
Not so good
No one will know that you spent $120K