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Audi SQ5 practical all-rounder big on performance

Audi SQ5 is now powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol engine for seriously sporty performance. Picture: Audi

Audi SQ5 is now powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol engine for seriously sporty performance. Picture: Audi

Audi/Dean Smith

The SQ5 is the hottest version of Audi's Q5 currently on sale. Jack Evans finds out how hot it really is.

Shame the four 'exhausts' are blanked-off plastic panels. Picture: AudiShame the four 'exhausts' are blanked-off plastic panels. Picture: Audi

What’s new?

The Audi SQ5 was the German manufacturer’s first diesel S-badged car it had ever created. With oil-burners being given something of a bad reputation in recent years, this latest SQ5 comes as a petrol only – though it’s likely that a diesel will be quietly introduced later.

Under the bonnet sits a 3.0-litre V6 turbo petrol churning out 354PS and an impressive 500Nm of torque. It has performance on its side, as well good looks and badge appeal. The old SQ5 triumphed with its ability to compromise between performance and everyday usability – this latest car has pulled off the same trick.

Audi SQ5 flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the sporty feel. Picture: AudiAudi SQ5 flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the sporty feel. Picture: Audi

Looks and image

The SQ5 looks neatly refreshed over the car it replaces. It benefits from LED running lights either side of an even more prominent chrome grille. Satin silver wing mirrors remain a trademark ‘S’ car style cue, and the overall effect is one of understated performance. One negative is found at back end – rather than finding four individual exhaust pipes, you’ll see four blanked-off plastic panels – hardly the performance touches you’d expect.

Space and practicality

Good leg and headroom in the back of the Audi SQ5. Picture: AudiGood leg and headroom in the back of the Audi SQ5. Picture: Audi

Because the SQ5’s performance makes no impact on the standard Q5’s size, it’s still impressively spacious. There’s plenty of room for front passenger and driver, while those in the rear get a good leg and headroom.

Boot space sits at 610 litres, rising to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down. It’s a great car if you’re looking for plenty of practicality in a relatively compact car.

Behind the wheel

Audi SQ5's boot is  610 litres, rising to 1,550 litres. Picture: AudiAudi SQ5's boot is 610 litres, rising to 1,550 litres. Picture: Audi

Step into the SQ5 and you’re aware it’s set up slightly differently to a standard SUV. The flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with paddle shifters feels more purposeful, the throaty grumble when you press the red starter button ensures you don’t mistake the engine for a standard 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

Performance is impressive but the Quattro all-wheel-drive system ensures there’s no wheelspin no matter what the conditions. The ride is also very good despite 21in alloy wheels. Around town it feels firm but the by-product of this set-up is very little body roll so you corner flatly, without fuss, even at higher speeds.

Value for money

Prices start at £51,200. However, our car, with options such as a sports differential, 21in alloys and adaptive cruise control came in at £60,285. There’s no mistaking the SQ5 is an expensive car. However, its all-round usability and effortless performance does make it a great everyday SUV, and one that would be ideal for those who want plenty of practicality backed up with a sports car drive.

Final say?

The SQ5 looks relatively understated, performs well and has enough space for four to travel in comfort. It’s also quick enough to give an everyday sports car a run for its money, while offering all the build quality you could want from an Audi product.

TECH AND SPEC

Price: Audi SQ5 £51,200

Engine: 3.0-litre, 354PS, V6, turbo petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 5.4 seconds; top speed: 155mph

MPG: 34 combined

CO2 emissions: 189g/km

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