The second-generation Audi SQ5 will offer a very different driving experience when it lands in Australia in the second half of 2017.
One of Australia’s best-selling fast SUVs with around 3900 sold since its April 2013 introduction, the SQ5’s USP has been its powerful and characterful 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, which produces up to 250kW/700Nm in ‘Plus’ guise and propels it to 100km/h in just 5.21sec.
The new SQ5, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, adopts petrol power for the first time with the 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 from the Audi S4 making its way under the bonnet. Producing 260kW/500Nm, the 0-100km/h claim lifts by three tenths to 5.4sec.
Previously, the petrol-powered SQ5, which used a 3.0-litre supercharged V6,was limited to diesel-averse markets such as the US, however should a new diesel version arrive – currently there is no word if that is the case – it is unlikely to appear locally.
The new SQ5 retains an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the quattro all-wheel drive has a rear bias and the ability to brake the inside wheels during cornering to quell understeer. An optional sports rear differential, which first appeared on the SQ5 Plus, further improves handling with the ability to send more torque to the outside rear wheel.
Adaptive dampers make an appearance for the first time and along with the engine, steering, gearbox and sports differential (where fitted) can be adjusted through Audi’s Drive Select system. Wheels are 20-inch standard, 21s optional, while the front brakes are upgraded from single-piston to six-piston calipers.
As you’d expect, the new SQ5 is also a technological tour de force, with a full suite of active safety systems – adaptive cruise, collision avoidance, lane assist, park assist etc. – and an MMI infotainment system that can recognise handwritten input, touch gestures and voice control.
Users can now lock and unlock the car using their smartphone while Audi’s virtual cockpit turns the instruments into a 12.3-inch colour display, in addition to the regular 8.3-inch display.
Local pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the SQ5’s Australian launch.