The new SQ5 features Volkswagen Group’s latest MLB Evo platform and is all new for 2018. Featuring a 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged V6 engine, replacing the previous supercharged model, it features the exact same 354 horsepower, however, it’s now accessible lower down the rev range. Torque has also been increased from 470Nm to 500Nm, and is also made available substantially lower down. You can feel it as well, with an effortless surge of torque pushing you to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds through the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive.
On the outside of the SQ5, you really need to be an Audi expert to spot the difference between the previous generation and the new one. It’s very much a tale of evolution from the design team on this one. A few changes have been made to areas such as the grill, bumpers, and wing mirrors, as well as the roof spoiler and diffuser. Inside the Virtual Cockpit is now available, which in my opinion offers the best TFT display in any car today – if that’s what you’re into. There’s also little features that let you know you’re in an “S” model, such as the S display on the virtual cockpit and the red light trim around the starter button. Not to mention S logos around the cabin. It’s enough to let you know you’re in something special without being over the top.
The quality is second to none in this price range and is what we’ve come to expect from the four-ringed manufacturer. Fine Nappa leather washes the cabin, engulfing you in sumptuous luxury, doors close with that infamous solid thud, reminding you this car is German, and state-of-the-art technology is absolutely everywhere. Up front, the driver and passenger have an airy and open cabin, with a commanding view of the road. The back, while spacious, can be a little tight for 3 full-grown adults. However for two adults and maybe a child in the centre, the shoulder room shouldn’t be an issue. The rear seats can also be slid forward and back or folded down to increase the boot capacity.
So I know you’re wondering what it’s like to drive. Well, for all intents and purposes, the SQ5 drives like a performance SUV should. It’s firm when you need it to be, soft when you want to cruise, and although more than capable of handling some dirt, you wouldn’t want to mess up those gorgeous 20-inch wheels.
A button on the steering wheel allows you to change the settings of the transmission and suspension damping, which really makes a difference to the way it drives. I preferred dynamic mode with the transmission in sports mode. Throttle response was improved and turbo lag minimised, although if you need to accelerate quickly, the transmission sometimes struggles to keep up while the turbo boost builds, culminating in a slight delay between what you want the vehicle to do, the noise it makes, and then the actual action. Coming to a stop is effortless and cornering is precise without the hint of being nose heavy.
The SQ5 not only looks great but has the performance to match its sharp lines. It’s comfortable, sporty, and has more tech then you’d know what to do with. Audi has really outdone themselves this time.