Audi has reintroduced its sporty SQ5 SUV after a six-month hiatus, but the previous petrol engine has been swapped for a mild-hybrid diesel unit.
The first-generation version of the Audi SQ5 was diesel-only, but the second-generation model introduced in 2017 was powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.
As with many German performance cars, the petrol SQ5 was killed off last year by the new WLTP emissions regulations. Audi suffered more than most from the new WLTP rules, with large numbers of all its models withdrawn from sale. Sales plunged by more than 40% for the last quarter of 2018 and were still down by about 30% in January this year.
Almost all of Audi’s performance ‘S’ and ‘RS’ models had to be removed from sale for failure to meet WLTP requirements. Most of them are still not available to order from Audi dealers, although the TT RS has recently returned.
The new Audi SQ5 TDI is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel engine churning out 342bhp and 700Nm of torque. This helps the SQ5 to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.9 seconds and keep going to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Power is sent to all four wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The engine also features 48-volt mild-hybrid technology to help reduce fuel consumption when coasting or idling. The unit also uses electrically-powered compression adopted from the larger SQ7’s engine, which helps to ensure a rapid power delivery with no turbo lag.
Audi has adopted a toned-down approach with the SQ5’s styling, with few differences over the standard Q5. It does, however, feature revised bumpers, an aluminium finish to its front grille and 20-inch alloy wheels to set it apart from the Q5. Panther Black paint is also exclusive to the SQ5.
Two trim levels will be offered on the model – SQ5 TDI and SQ5 TDI Vorsprung.
Standard equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, Nappa leather sports seats, LED lights and a digital ’Virtual Cockpit’, while Vorsprung grade adds matrix LED headlights, park assist and a head-up display, to name just a few of the extras.
Sales for the Audi SQ5 TDI are expected to start in the spring, with prices to be announced nearer the time.
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