THERE’s a lot in a name and having the words Audi SQ5 splashed across the front single-frame grille of your car should give you some serious street cred. Are you wondering why?
Well, traditionally, the S models hint at an expressive sportiness and that’s certainly the case with the SQ5. However, this isn’t an S-car in the conventional sense; it’s the German dealer’s first SUV offering to wear the S-badge and, the first diesel.
Yes, finally we have an oil burner with as much stomp as its petrol-burning siblings. The cauldron brewing under the hood is the mammoth 3.0 TDI, which stole our hearts after it first appeared in the A7.
Boasting 230kW of brazen power and 650Nm of pure unrepentant torque, this twin-turbo powertrain knows exactly what it is… a quick-fire diva whose raw pace can catch you unawares as it travels from standstill to 100km/h in a claimed 5.1 seconds and will continue galloping to a limited top speed of 250km/h.
The SQ5 seems to defy the laws of physics as the large 2 967cc engine - with its rich baritone voice - relentlessly pushes the Audi forward. Admittedly, the handling doesn’t complement the engine as well as one would like. Sure, it’s fitted with the renowned quattro system but the chassis isn’t as dynamic as one would’ve hoped.
That said, if you can keep in mind that it’s an SUV, while feeding it through some of the twisties, you will be impressed with the burst of power and the feedback the electromechanical power steering offers.
The SQ5 is also fitted with a sports suspension, which sees the body lowered by 30mm. The car rides on 20-inch, five parallel-spoke design wheels (standard), which will severely limit its off-road prowess.
Inside, the Audi wears the usual S-badge attire, as it’s all dressed in black trim and standard with Alcantara leather, brushed with aluminium inlays.
Hinting at its sporty nature are the grey instrument dials, complemented by white needles that move freely across the rev range. The aluminium-look treatment is given to the pedals and the shift paddles.
Ultimately, the SQ5 is humble in its approach. While it might wear the S-badging with pride, it doesn’t beg for attention and definitely isn’t a showboat. It drives nicely and gets the job done and if you’re looking for some smiles, prodding the accelerator pedal is sure to get the hair on the back of your neck standing up, as the acceleration takes you by surprise.
The Audi does reveal a maturing sensibility and it will be interesting to see how it fares against the Porsche Macan, in the near future.