Detroit Motor Show – The Q5 was the first Audi SUV to wear an S badge, so it’s logical that the star of the second-generation Q5 line-up is the new SQ5, making its world debut this week at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.
Boasting a three-litre turbopetrol V6 with claimed outputs of 260kW and 500Nm, driving all four through an eight-speed tiptronic transmission with a slight rear-axle bias under normal conditions and automatic free-wheeling, it’ll launch to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds, says the maker, and top out at an electronically limited 250km/h.
Nevertheless, Audi also quotes a nominal fuel-consumption figure on the NEDC cycle of 8.2 litres per 100km/h, thanks to newly developed ‘B cycle’ inlet cam timing that reduces both lift and duration under part load, then switches to full-tilt boogie at high revs.
The new V6 also has a twin-scroll turbo – sitting on the exhaust manifold in the 90 degree V of the cylinder banks – in place of the previous generation’s supercharger. However, even though they’re inside the same casting, the exhaust manifolds from the two banks run separately until just before they enter the turbo housing, significantly reducing turbo lag and improving bottom-end torque.
Wheel-selective torque brakes the inside wheels going into fast corners for neutral turn-in, while an optional sport differential, controlled by the electronic stability programme, actively sends more torque to the outside rear wheel when accelerating out of tight corners, to reduce understeer.
Adaptive damping is integrated into the drive select system along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and optional sport differential settings; optional adaptive air suspension (available on on this model) also lets you adapt ride height to the driving situation.
Standard kit includes 20 inch alloys shod with 255/45 radials, over 350mm discs with six-piston front callipers in black or (optional) red; several different designs of 21 inch rims are available for a few dollars more.
LED lighting is standard throughout, and the new SQ5 has all the gizmotronics of the 'standard' Q5, starting with a predictive efficiency nanny that provides driving tips to help you save fuel, and including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist to help you stay in your lane, and distance warning so you don’t rear-end the car ahead of you.
There’s cross traffic warning for coming out of driveways and entrances, collision avoidance and pre-sense, which warns you about pedestrians and vehicles – and hits the brakes if you don’t – as well as park assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition and hill descent control.
The SQ5’s virtual cockpit displays the key driving information on a programmable 31cm display; a special ‘sport’ mode centres the display around the rev-counter.
The range-topping MMI Navigation Plus infotainment package – including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – is monitored by a 17.5cm central screen, and recognises handwritten input as well as tablet and smartphone-style touch gestures. Download the MMI app and you can remotely lock and unlock the car from your phone, check its status and keep an eye on warning messages, such as when the next service is due.
An optional ‘phone box’ connects your phone to the on-board antenna by near-field coupling and inductively charges it at the same time using the Qi standard, and a new Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system is available for hi-fi fans.
The cabin is trimmed in fine nappa leather, with contrast stitching in a special diamond pattern; the power-adjustable sports seats also have a pneumatic massage function. Aluminium-look shift paddles and stainless-steel pedals are standard, as are brushed-aluminium trim inlays; carbon-fibre and a range of wood-veneered trim elements are available as options.
The new SQ5 will be released in South Africa, along with the rest of the second-generation Q5 range, during the third quarter of 2017.