Cult hero

The covers come off the new generation Audi SQ5 TDI.

Since the original model first made its appearance, the Audi SQ5 TDI has enjoyed a fiercely loyal following, particularly here in Australia.

16 November, 2020

The new styling builds on the original but has a distinctly more rugged look

Audi has taken the covers off the latest iteration of the hugely popular SQ5 TDI which is set to arrive in Australia in the second quarter of 2021. The fist Audi Q model to wear the coveted ’S’ badge and indeed the first S model to use a diesel powerplant, the SQ5 TDI made an instant impact when it was first unveiled back in 2012 at Le Mans, and since then, that reputation has only continued to grow.

Particularly in Australia, the combination of performance, size and significant equipment have struck the perfect chord with customers, and this new model more than lives up to expectation.

The new styling builds on the original but has a distinctly more rugged look. The front is dominated by the large, wide Singleframe grille with its octagonal honeycomb finish and the LED headlights (Matrix LED headlights are available as an option).

On the rear, a matte aluminium strip is integrated in the lower bumpers, below which are the diffuser insert and the ’S’ trademark four oval exhausts. The new SQ5 TDI can also be optioned with the new digital OLED technology where the OLED rear light is split into three tiles of six segments each. When ordering their vehicle, customers can choose from three rear-light signatures, each with its own specific designs for coming and leaving home. When the Audi drive select mode ‘dynamic’ is activated, the lights change to yet another signature. The OLED rear light also has a proximity detection function that activates all the OLED segments if a road user approaches a stationary SQ5 from the rear to within less than two metres.

Of course it’s the performance that is the major attraction with the SQ5 TDI and the new. Model does not disappoint. Sporting a V6 three-litre diesel engine with 251kW and a whopping 700Nm of torque available between 1750rpm and 3250rpm, the new SQ5 TDI sees of the sprint to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 250km/h.

The changes under the bonnet are significant in this new model, with forged steel pistons replacing the aluminium units, and a more efficient indirect water/air intercooler has been employed inside V of the engine. These and numerous other internal changes lead to the engine’s spontaneous and high torque build-up, while the 48-volt mild hybrid system (MHEV) makes for a more efficient powerplant and has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

In addition an electric powered compressor (EPC) further supports the turbocharger, its electric motor uses 48-volt system to accelerate the compressor wheel of the EPC to 65,000rpm in 300 milliseconds for almost spontaneous engine response. Twin-dosing technology with two NOx catalytic converters arranged in series make for an incredibly efficient and clean burning exhaust system, but without adversely effecting the distinctive exhaust note which is further amplified by an actuator in the exhaust, just like the original model.

The new SQ5 TDI uses an eight-speed tiptronic transmission and of course power is put down to the road surface to all four wheels with Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive. 

Engine torque is distributed 40:60 between the front and rear axle, but the system has the capacity to direct up to 70 percent to the front wheels and a maximum of 85 percent to the rear wheels as required.

The changes under the bonnet are significant in this new model and result in a more powerful, more efficient unit

The electrically adjustable sport seats featuring embossed S logos are available in a choice of three upholstery variants

The SQ5 TDI can also be fitted with a sport differential on the rear axle which actively controls the distribution of torque between the wheels when the driver adopts a particularly sporty driving style. 

Suspension. Too has been optimised for the SQ5 TDI with the S sport suspension with damper control lowering the body by 30mm compared with the Q5.

The driver can use Audi drive select to change the very character of the SQ5 TDI depending on the conditions, with six profiles to choose from – auto, comfort, efficiency, dynamic, offroad, and individual. A seventh profile, allroad, is added if the optional adaptive air suspension with S-specific tuning is specified – this air suspension adjusts the ride height of the body through five levels depending on the driving situation. 

Customers can also effect to go with the dynamic steering system which varies the steering ratio as a function of speed and steering angle.

The SQ5 TDI rides on 20-inch aluminium wheels as standard housing six-piston aluminium brake calipers on the front with 375mm discs. Larger 21-inch wheels are also available to oder. 

Inside, the SQ5 TDI features a black or dark grey finish with illuminated aluminium door sill trims wearing ’S' logos. The electrically adjustable sport seats featuring embossed S logos are available in a choice of three upholstery variants, including fine Nappa leather and the new Dinamica microfibre material made of recycled plastic. A massage function with three programs and seat ventilation are available on request.

The ‘plus’ version of the rear seat bench can be shifted laterally and has adjustable seat bangles, and the luggage compartment has a basic capacity of 520 litres or1520 litres with the rear seat backs folded down. The electrically operated tailgate, a stainless steel loading sill protector as well as aluminium roof rails are fitted as standard.

The SQ5 TDI wants for nothing in terms of connectivity, infotainment and cutting-edge automotive technology. The MMI touch display with a 10.1-inch screen serves as a combined input and display device, while voice control and the multifunction steering wheel give the driver even greater flexibility to control onboard systems.

The 12.3-inch display provides three different graphic layouts – Dynamic, Sport and Classic. Customers can also choose to add a head-up display as a further option.

Up to six individual profiles can be stored for different drivers, and the SQ5 TDI also offers car-to-X services through the Audi connect system. The Audi phone box connects phones with the vehicle’s antenna and can charge them inductively and the optional Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System with 3D sound provides an extraordinary sound experience. Even the good old radio gets the premium treatment, the hybrid radio switching automatically between FM, DAB and online streams to find the best reception.

Of course the SQ5 TDI comes with all of the advanced driver assistance and safety systems from the Q5, including adaptive cruise assist, turn assist, collision avoidance assist, and exit warning.

At time of writing, the exact Australian specification for the new SQ5 TDI had yet to be confirmed, but given a high lev el of specification has always been a feature of the model in Australia, performance enthusiasts have everything to look forward to when the new SQ5 TDI touches down in 2021. 

The SQ5 TDI wants for nothing in terms of connectivity, infotainment and cutting-edge automotive technology