RE­FINED POWER: THE AUDI SQ5 REDEFINES THE SPORTY SUV SEC­TOR

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

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - JACK EVANS

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 choice will ap­pear.

Un­der the bon­net sits a 3.0-litre tur­bocharged V6 petrol churn­ing out 349bhp and an im­pres­sive 500Nm of torque.

There’s no doubt­ing it has per­for­mance on its side, as well good looks and plenty of badge ap­peal.

Where the old SQ5 tri­umphed was its abil­ity to com­pro­mise be­tween per­for­mance and ev­ery­day us­abil­ity – and it would ap­pear that this lat­est car has pulled off the same trick.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

The SQ5 looks neatly re­freshed over the car that it re­places. It ben­e­fits from LED run­ning lights up front, sat ei­ther side of a chrome grille that is more prom­i­nent than ever.

The satin sil­ver wing mir­rors re­main as a trade­mark ‘S’ car style cue, and the over­all ef­fect is one of un­der­stated per­for­mance.

One neg­a­tive can be found when you move to the back of the car, how­ever. Look closely and, rather than find­ing four in­di­vid­ual ex­haust pipes, you’ll see four blanked-off plas­tic pan­els.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

Be­cause the SQ5’S per­for­mance makes no im­pact on the stan­dard Q5’s size, it still re­mains an im­pres­sively spa­cious place to be.

There’s plenty of room for both front pas­sen­ger and driver, while those in the rear get a good amount of leg and head­room.

Boot space sits at 610 litres, ris­ing to 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded down.

This is around the av­er­age mark for the seg­ment, with the Mercedes GLC of­fer­ing 610 litres of seats-up lug­gage room, ris­ing to 1,600 litres with them set flat.

It’s a great car if you’re look­ing for plenty of prac­ti­cal­ity, but within a rel­a­tively com­pact-sized car.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

From the mo­ment you step into the SQ5, you’re aware that it’s set up slightly dif­fer­ently to a stan­dard SUV.

The flat-bot­tomed sports steer­ing wheel with pad­dle shifters feels more pur­pose­ful, while the throaty grum­ble emit­ted once you press the red starter but­ton en­sures that you don’t mis­take the en­gine un­der the bon­net for a stan­dard 2.0-litre diesel.

The car’s per­for­mance is im­pres­sive. Upon heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion, there’s a good amount of shove, with the Quat­tro all-wheel-drive sys­tem en­sur­ing that there’s no wheel spin no mat­ter what the con­di­tions.

Sur­pris­ingly, the ride is also very good de­spite the 21-inch al­loy wheels.

Of course, around town it feels rather firm, but the by-prod­uct of this setup is very lit­tle body roll. It means you can cor­ner flatly and with­out fuss, even at higher speeds.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Prices for the SQ5 start at around the £50k mark. How­ever, our car, fit­ted with op­tions such as a sports dif­fer­en­tial, 21-inch al­loy wheels and adap­tive cruise con­trol came in at £60,285. There’s no mis­tak­ing it – the SQ5 is a pricey 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.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The SQ5 would be ideal for the fam­ily car owner who doesn’t want to for­sake an in­volv­ing drive for prac­ti­cal­ity.

It looks rel­a­tively un­der­stated, per­forms well and yet 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.

“The car’s per­for­mance is im­pres­sive. Upon heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion, there’s a good amount of shove, with the Quat­tro all-wheel-drive sys­tem en­sur­ing that there’s no wheel spin no mat­ter what the con­di­tions.”

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