Plus-size model

Audi SUV adds urge and glam­our

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - CRAIG DUFF

AUS­TRALIA’S fastest diesel SUV has gone Plus-sized with an abil­ity to han­dle more curves with more verve.

The Audi SQ5 has led the per­for­mance diesel SUV pack since it launched in 2013 and now, 12 months out from a new model, the Plus vari­ant has landed with en­hanced out­puts and safety soft­ware, a sports dif­fer­en­tial and plenty of bling.

The ex­tra per­for­mance (mid-range ac­cel­er­a­tion; the of­fi­cial 0-100k/h sprint is un­changed at 5.1 sec­onds due to the ex­tra weight) and up­graded kit come at a price — $108,900 be­fore on-road costs.

That’s $13,000 more than a nor­mal SQ5 but in­cludes unique 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers, adap­tive cruise con­trol with au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, gloss black exter­ior high­lights, leather-trimmed seats and in­stru­ment bin­na­cle and car­bon-fi­bre in­te­rior in­lays.

The in­te­rior is no­table for not be­ing no­table. Be­yond the diamond-pat­terned leather seats, the seven-inch touch­screen looks small against newer ar­rivals in the mid-sized SUV class and the driver’s in­stru­men­ta­tion hasn’t grad­u­ated to Audi’s su­perb “vir­tual cock­pit” digi­tised dis­play. It still looks and feels re­fined, just not very spe­cial. One thing spe­cial about the SQ5 Plus is its abil­ity to get up and go. There’s no short­age of ac­cel­er­a­tion on tap at any revs and the eight-speed auto is quick to re­spond to de­mands for more urge. The auto needs to be good, though, given the Plus’s per­for­mance edge is re­stricted to a small rev range.

Peak torque — all 700Nm of it — is on tap from 1500rp­m2550rpm. The SQ5’s 650Nm kicks in from 1450-2800rpm.

Max­i­mum power of 250kW is ex­tracted from 4100rp­m4300rpm in the Plus whereas the SQ5 taps its 240kW from 3900rpm-4500rpm. En­thu­si­as­tic driv­ers may ap­pre­ci­ate the Plus’s torquevec­tor­ing sports dif­fer­en­tial. The vast ma­jor­ity will buy it be­cause it is bet­ter ap­pointed.

Short of a back-to-back test with a reg­u­lar SQ5 it is hard to de­ter­mine (on pub­lic roads) just how ef­fec­tive the tricky diff is at help­ing the car cor­ner by push­ing torque to the out­side rear wheel.

Put that down to the SQ5’s all-wheel drive grip and firm sus­pen­sion that keep it hus­tling at an in­sane clip in the first place. Seat-of-the-pants im­pres­sion is that Audi’s per­for­mance SUV flag­ship feels faster on cor­ner exit and when over­tak­ing.

It is ef­fort­less and bru­tally ef­fec­tive, backed by de­cent brakes and di­rect steer­ing.

The eight-speed hangs on to gears in dy­namic mode.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.