Audi SQ5 Plus

Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, front, action
Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, front, static
Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, side, static
Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, rear, action
Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, rear, static
Audi SQ5 plus, 2016, interior

AUDI has been meeting the booming demand for SUVs with a range of odd vehicles.

Odd because all of its SUVs - designated Q models - come with an odd number after the letter Q. There's the Q3, Q5 and the biggest of them all, the Q7.

The only difference, before the imminent launch of the smallest of the range Q2 - who knows why they have broken the pattern and gone for an even number - is if you have a letter S before the Q.

Drive an SQ5 Plus, for example, and you step up to a whole new level of performance motoring.

The 3.0-litre SQ5 Plus is a twin-turbo diesel that packs a mighty punch. It's a rocketship of a car that drives more like a hot hatch than a spacious and tall SUV.

In fact the original SQ5 was the first diesel-powered Audi ever to wear the coveted high performance S badge but at the time it only delivered 309bhp.

The current tour de force V6 Plus model - introduced last year - boasts a hefty 340bhp with the power going through all four wheels courtesy of Audi's all-wheel-drive quattro system.

It's easily distinguishable from the standard Q5 model by its 21-inch five-twin-spoke star design alloy wheels and gloss black mirror housings, roof edge spoiler, rear diffuser and door handles.

And if you have any doubts just take a look inside. Unlike any of its siblings the Plus version has very distinctive diamond stitched fine Nappa leather upholstery, giving an almost quilted appearance.

The multi-adjustable front seats are electrically operated, heated and come with a memory function. Usefully the rear bench seat now slides backwards and forwards so you can increase the amount of boot space or rear leg room depending upon your needs.

The SQ5 Plus is a very practical SUV offering plenty of interior space and a generous luggage area - with up to 1,560 litres of space available - accessed via a power-operated tailgate.

Standard features include satellite navigation, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera.

At the same time it delivers genuine sportscar performance which sees it hit 62 miles per hour from rest in a fraction over five seconds.

But like all high performance diesels the beauty of this one is in its midrange pace, thanks to its 700Nm of torque. Slip the eight-speed gear shift into Sport and this SUV takes off like a scalded cat.

At the same time the cabin is so silent I had difficulty convincing some of my passengers it was a diesel model.

This is a car which is a delight to drive. It meets the everyday demands of family life in terms of space and functionality while at the same time offering the sort of performance which ensures that your motoring is anything but boring.

If you want to liven things up you can drive the car manually via paddles behind the steering wheel and you have the option of tailoring the performance and handling to suit you via Audi‘s Drive Select system, which offers the choice of economical, comfort, auto, dynamic or individual settings.

And despite its size and performance the SQ5 Plus is pretty economical, boasting almost 43 miles per gallon.

FAST FACTS

Audi SQ5 Plus

Price: £51,315

Mechanical: 340bhp, 2,967cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 5.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 42.8

Insurance Group: 44

C02 emissions: 174g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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