THE upcoming Audi SQ5 will dump the old model’s torque-laden 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine for a slightly more powerful petrol one that’s slower, less fuel efficient and likely to cost a lot more.
The German luxury carmaker has revealed the next generation of its performance-honed SQ5 overnight at the Detroit Motor Show, and instead of the 250kW/700Nm diesel of the Plus version, the all-new S-badged Audi Q5 SUV will feature a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 making 260kW/500Nm.
And in another big break with convention, the petrol V6 will dump the engine’s traditional supercharger in favour of lighter twin-scroll turbocharged induction that produces maximum torque from 1370-4500rpm. In contrast, the diesel engine it will replace produced its peak torque in a narrow band between 1500-2550rpm.
However, the jump to a petrol engine – thanks to Dieselgate, the previous engine’s fuel of choice remains a dirty word in the US – means that despite the new MLB platform that underpins it, the petrol-engined SQ5’s 0-100km/h performance slows by 0.3sec to 5.4sec compared with the diesel-engined model.
Fuel use, meanwhile, should jump more than 20 percent to about 8.3L/100km. That means when the new SQ5 arrives here some time late this year, buyers will be slugged with a significant luxury car tax impost for the first time.
Similar to the trend sweeping other luxury carmakers, Audi has tucked the turbocharger inside the engine’s 90-degree bank, placing the exhaust manifolds inside the block while the intakes sit on the outside.
According to Audi, the short gas flow path generates minimal flow losses, allowing the engine to respond “extremely spontaneously and directly”.
Audi is also keeping the eight-speed torque converter automatic - the only gearbox capable of handling the engine's higher torque figure.
The SQ5’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system will feature a rear bias under normal driving conditions, while an active torque vectoring system using the car’s brakes will send “the lion’s share of the power to the axle with better traction” when necessary, the carmaker says.
Audi lists a rear sport differential as an option which sends more torque to the outside wheel during cornering, enhancing agility. “The sport differential literally pushes the car into the curve, nipping understeer in the bud,” Audi says.
Underneath, the SQ5 features a five-link suspension front and rear, offering what Audi claims are greater stability, agility and improved comfort. Dampers adjust on the fly as standard, with a “particularly wide spread” between its comfort and dynamic settings that also adjust the ride height.
As well as bespoke bumpers, the second-generation SQ5 sports more contoured air intakes and a diffuser with a honeycomb grille. The rear bumper sports twin exhausts on either side.
The new Mexican-built SQ5 will tip the scales at less than 1900kg thanks to 35 kilograms of weight savings via the jump to the new platform.