Road Test: Audi SQ5
Sector: SUV Price: £44,055 Fuel: 41.5mpg CO2: 179g/km
I drove Audi’s rather daft RS Q3 the other week – all 310bhp of it crammed into a sensible five-door small SUV shape.
The way its charismatic five-cylinder engine yelled its intent as we hooned down the road was quite comical and, more importantly, rather enjoyable.
But £43,000 is a lot of money to pay for a family car which hasn’t got enough space inside to really accommodate a family, and also one which guzzles fuel far too readily.
But for a grand more, Audi (predictably) has the answer – a larger, diesel-engined SUV which blends sporting intentions with real-world fuel economy.
The SQ5 is not as "in-your-face" as the RS Q3, instead adding some subtle tweaks to differentiate it from lesser Q5s. For a start it sits on 20-inch wheels and with suspension dropped by 20mm over the stock Q5, giving a lower stance to accentuate the car’s sporting pretensions. Other visual changes include modified bumpers and a grey and aluminium-effect front grille. Inside are the usual "S" trimmings, including bespoke dials and a special steering wheel.
As a package it looks fabulous, especially my test car which was finished in Estoril blue. And it sounds great, too, erupting into a muscley burble thanks to a specially developed sound actuator in the exhaust.
This gives some strong clues that under the bonnet is no common or garden diesel engine – instead the SQ5 runs a 313bhp version of Audi’s new twin-turbo V6 TDI mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox.
The on-paper specification makes impressive reading: 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds, 155mph top speed, 179g/km of CO2 and 41.5mpg on the combined cycle.
It’s impressive on the road, too – this is a car in which to make very effective progress and which will eat up long-distance journeys with ease. The only criticism would be that it lacks some of the raw aggression of the RS Q3. Hopefully Audi will launch an RS Q5 at some point in the future, but for the time being the SQ5 is pretty close to being a perfect all-rounder.