Audi has finally added an Audi SQ5 TDI to the Q5 range. The diesel-burning SUV was popular a few years back when Audi offered it for the previous generation. With the market currently lukewarm on diesel engines, the move seems a little out of step with demand. Yet who can complain when it comes with 700 Nm of torque.
The SQ5 follows the setup of the SQ7 diesel with an electronic compressor and turbocharger. The 3.0 V6 TDI engine produces 347 hp and 700 Nm as a result. As with most high-end Audi’s, the SQ5 TDI uses a 48-volt main electrical system which runs the electric powered compressor (EPC) and a mild hybrid system. The power is stored in a compact lithium-ion battery located beneath the luggage compartment floor.
The compressor helps out when the gas flow is too slow to power the turbocharger, eliminating the traditional turbo-lag. Audi fit the compressor unit in the intake air path downstream of the intercooler and close to the engine. A small electric motor accelerates the compressor wheel to 65,000 rpm in roughly 300 milliseconds, producing a relative boost pressure of 1.4 bar. Clever engineering.
The Audi SQ5 TDI also gets an MHEV system (mild hybrid electric vehicle). An alternator connected to the crankshaft recuperates energy during deceleration. The energy is stored in the lithium-ion battery and distributed throughout the car. Lifting off the accelerator between 55 and 160 km/h also sees the car either recuperate, roll at idle with the clutch disengaged or coast with the engine off for up to 40 seconds.
Power is routed through an eight-speed gearbox with quattro as standard. A centre locking differential allows for a 40:60 front to rear axle power distribution ratio. The differential can channel as much as 70 percent to the front or 85 percent to the rear. An optional sports differential is available at the rear too.
Connecting the Audi SQ5 TDI to the tarmac is a five-link suspension system. The body sits 30 millimetres closer to the ground compared to the standard model. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system offers the usual modes. 20-inch wheels are fitted as standard with 21-inch versions available as an option.
Inside, the Audi virtual cockpit is available as an option. A 12.3-inch display shows S-specific rev counters and menu options. An 8.3-inch display sits in the centre with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an optional Bang & Olufsen Sound System.
The SQ5 TDI comes with double aluminium slats for the grille, and contrasting trim elements in twilight grey matt. The red rhombus of the S logo permeates the design. LED headlights are standard and the exterior mirror housings and the clasp on the diffuser are finished in an aluminium-look finish. The exterior colour, panther black, is also available exclusively on the SQ5 TDI.
The Audi SQ5 3.0 TDI will arrive at dealerships during the Summer with a base price of 67,750 euros.