Audi’s slick new SQ5 highlights the ‘sport’ in sport utility vehicle thanks to its punchy turbocharged V6 and well-sorted agility.
A Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) has a tough job. A good one has to be able to fit a family of five comfortably, has enough stowage space and be able to tackle the occasional rough-roading.
A great one, however, has to double up as a sports car for power-hungry car buyers who crave the sort of performance that would shame most hot hatches at the lights.
The new Audi SQ5 is case in point of a potential great, which has the toughest of tough jobs to do.
Screamer and a teaser
It shares the same omnipotent turbocharged V6 powerplant as the S5 Sportback, capable of 349bhp and a warping 500Nm of torque. And even with its larger proportions and heftier weight, the SQ5 takes just 5.4 seconds from 0-100km/h, a mere 0.7 seconds slower than the S5 Sportback.
To put it into perspective, the SQ5 is even quicker than the updated Volkswagen Golf GTI, which does the job in 6.4 seconds.
It’s a highly entertaining experience being in the driver’s seat when you plant your foot firmly down on the accelerator, feeling the full might of its grunt available from just 1,370rpm.
In doing so, the 1,870kg machine will leap forward with an urgency not known to most of its kind and serenade you the song of its sweet, raspy V6. A massive gap is then all that’s left between the SQ5 and the rest of the traffic previously surrounding it.
The SQ5 isn’t just the result of Audi pumping muscle and steroids into the regular Q5 either. Its slick new go-fast SUV also feels exceptionally buttoned down and taut when you’re man-handling it from turn to turn.
This dynamical prowess is, however, not without sacrifice.
On the firmer side of comfortable
Its tallish body nestled on a stiffly sprung chassis and suspension setup does equate to a rather bumpy ride. It shouldn’t pose much of a problem for the driver considering the decision on the SQ5 alone but passengers expecting a lush ride may not be as pleased.
Thankfully, the cabin of the SQ5 is a spacious and nice enough place to appease even the most disgruntled of them. If any won’t stop complaining, chucking them in the 550-litre boot may help.
As we’ve come to expect from Audi, the SQ5’s interior is impeccably assembled and materials look and feel of high quality. Carbon fibre trims and an attractive steering wheel that’s a joy to hold tops it off, as is the custom in any sort of expensive, high-performance vehicle today.
All in all, the new Audi SQ5 makes a compelling alternative for the slightly more expensive Porsche Macan S.
It may certainly not be as exciting to drive, but it’s more modern and a better put-together package than current rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class 43 AMG. The one area where the SQ5 falls short is simply in visual drama but it executes its tough job of being a performance SUV near flawlessly.
Photos by Low Fai Ming