Published June 18, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Audi launched the new SQ5 TDI SUV during this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
The new high-performance SUV is the first TDI-powered “S” model in the history of the Vorsprung durch Technik brand, responsible for the “S” models, and will return 39 mpg out of 309 horsepower.
The 3.0-liter BiTDI engine powering the new SQ5 TDI produces 480 pound-feet of torque between 1,450 and 2,800 rpm. This power is sent to the wheels through an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel-drive. The result is a 0-60mph time of less than 5.1 seconds, and sounds every inch an “S” model as it punches at the horizon thanks to a specially developed sound actuator in the exhaust system which enriches the exhaust note.
With the help of innovative thermal management, the engine start-stop system and a regulated oil pump, economy remains firmly in TDI territory, with up to 39.2mpg possible according to the European combined cycle test.
The TDI unit more than makes the grade required for Audi S series performance thanks to its two turbochargers, which are connected in series via a flap. Cylinder head cooling, the timing and lift of the intake cam shafts, the pistons, their oil-jet cooling and the piston pins have also been specially designed for high performance. The common rail system develops as much as 2,000 bar (29,008 psi ) of pressure and injects as many as eight shots of fuel into the cylinders per cycle.
The electromechanical power steering in the Audi SQ5 TDI is sensitive and highly efficient. Sport suspension lowers its body by 30 millimeters. The optional Audi drive select system can be expanded upon request to include the dynamic steering system with its steplessly variable steering ratio.
The most eye-catching design cues distinguishing the new SQ5 TDI are the platinum grey single-frame grille with its galvanized double bars in an aluminum-look finish, the roof spoiler and the modified bumpers. The high-gloss package and the aluminum-look exterior mirrors accentuate the area around the windows. Audi offers the new top model in the crystal effect paint finishes Estoril Blue or Panther Black.
As is typical for an S model, the interior is finished predominantly in black, but the headlining is optionally available in lunar silver. The power-adjustable sport seats are leather-upholstered as standard, complementing brushed aluminum inlays. Inlay options include Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim panels.
The instrument dials are grey and include a 3D-design S badge, the needles are white and the pedals and shift paddles have an aluminum-look finish. Additional visual highlights in the interior are the S gear lever knob, the S badges on the door sill trims, the start button, the specially-shaped steering wheel and the lighting package.