New Q5 model packs a mighty punch, as Edward Stephens discovers.
Any Audi model which has the letter S or RS on its badge means just one thing – the kind of high performance that gets your adrenalin flowing.
So the first diesel-fuelled model to get that designation must be pretty special.
And the new SQ5 TDI really is special in so many ways.
This new flagship of the Q5 range is powered by a 3.0-litre bi-turbo TDI engine and packs a mighty punch.
With 309bhp this high performance SUV will hit 62 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds and go on to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.
And any potential customers who might be a bit reluctant to be seen driving a diesel needn’t worry too much as a sound actuator in the exhaust system is designed to blur the edges between the diesel/petrol sound so you get a gruff exhaust note similar to a classic sports car.
Audi has done exceptionally well with the Q5 and the model now accounts for 44 per cent of sales of the big three German brands in this sector of the market. The new S version will be easily recognisable to enthusiasts because of its lower stance – the suspension has been lowered by 30mm – its extended roof spoiler, quadruple tailpipes and its 20-inch wheels with black brake calipers bearing the SQ5 logo.
In the cabin the predominantly black interior colour scheme is broken up with brushed aluminium inlays and grey instrument dials while electronically operated sporting leather seats hold you firmly in place.
The V6 diesel engine is mated to an eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox, affording not only exhilarating performance but also average fuel consumption of more than 41 miles per gallon.
The impressive fuel consumption is helped by keeping the vehicle’s weight down by using a mix of materials.
The bonnet and tailgate, for example, are made of aluminium as are some cross members.
On the road the SQ5 offers a superbly sporting drive while at the same time giving you the comfort of a large limousine and the grip of Audi‘s all-wheel-drive quattro system.
Despite its size you get car-like handling and pin sharp steering.
And like all Q5 models you have that extra height for good all round vision.
If you want to fine tune the ride even further you can specify Audi’s drive select adaptive dynamics system which is operated via the dashboard touch screen.
This allows you to set Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Efficiency modes, depending upon your mood.
The gear changes are seamless on this car and the response to any kick down is instant and rapid.
And with a hefty 650 Nm of torque the SQ5 is supremely flexible, particularly in the mid-range gears.
And while you enjoy the performance of a high speed sports car you also get the Q5s abundance of space, both for passengers and for luggage.
Like all good things, however, the SQ5 comes at a price. It will set you back £44,055 on the road, but as it’s a very special niche model you can at least be sure you won‘t be seeing too many others out there.