Like the first generation SQ5, the basis for this model's well-rounded CV is a muscular V6 TDI engine, but the original car's BiTDI powerhouse was replaced a couple of years back by a unit supported by a single turbocharger, a separate electrically powered compressor for split-second response and a mild hybrid system to underpin the thrilling performance with appropriate efficiency. That engine's now been further tweaked to produce its peak power a fraction earlier and across a wider torque range. The result is mammoth maximum torque of 700Nm from barely more than idling speed, peak power of 341PS and a 5.1-second 0-62mph sprint capability. All that torque offers instant go, channelled through an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission to the road via quattro all-wheel drive. Like most Audis, the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
This car's electrically powered compressor is the ideal assistant for the turbocharger. It is active whenever the exhaust gas flow provides too little energy to drive the turbocharger, i.e. when starting off and accelerating in the low-rev range up to 1,650 rpm. Options include 'S-specific adaptive air suspension', Dynamic steering and a sport differential on the rear axle which actively distributes the power between the rear wheels during dynamic cornering.
In case you were wondering if a diesel 'S'-series model might sound a bit, well, dieselly, Audi has fitted the SQ5 with a specially developed sound actuator in the exhaust system which brings a bit of bass and purpose to the exhaust note. The SQ5 sports a broadly similar electromechanical power steering system to the rest of the Q5 range while sport suspension reduces its ride height by 30 millimetres. The Audi drive select driving modes system alters ride, steering, throttle and gear change timings. Needless to say, with the lowered ride height and low-profile tyres, this is one SUV that you won't want to be pointing at a rutted track.