Audi SQ5 a spicy SUV

Audi SQ5, 2017, front, action
Audi SQ5, 2017, side
Audi SQ5, 2017, rear, action
Audi SQ5, 2017, interior
Audi SQ5, 2017, TFSI engine
Audi SQ5, 2017, boot
Audi SQ5, 2017, rear seats
Audi SQ5, 2017, instrument panel
Audi SQ5, 2017, badge

THERE'S no disputing that when it comes to making superb sports performance Sports Utility Vehicles then German car makers dominate.

The latest models simply ooze quality all round, inside and out, along with having the latest and best on-board technology and engineering available.

Audi is the latest to spice up this bag of goodies with the arrival of thenew SQ5 SUV which for starters has a newly developed V6 3.0-litre TFSI 349bhp twin-scroll turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet along with quattro all-wheel-drive.

In reality this car is a spruced-up performance version of the latest Q5 and the SQ5 will appeal to those drivers demanding more in road-going performance along with all the associated engineering and technical extras that Audi's Q range always conjures up.

With an on-the-road asking price of £51,200 it follows the route of the rest of the Q range in offering a host of new design and technology features - but this time with a petrol engine and not the popular 3.0-litre TDI turbo diesel as in its predecessor.

Neverhteless, Audi UK has confirmed that an oil burner option will arrive later.

Weighing some 35kg less than last time around (thanks to a lighter aluminium and steel composite body shell) the new SQ5 is all about performance.

The V6 engine delivers 349bhp in such a quite and unassuming way with its power peak but also offering 500Nm of torque that stays on tap from 1,370rpm through to 4,500rpm.

This relates to an acceleration of 0 to 62mph in 5.4 seconds (top speed is limited to 155mph) but equally important for Q car drivers is its mid-range acceleration for overtaking which again is impressive.

The SQ5 performs such manouevres in delightfully subtle manner without any real fuss or commotion.

Yes, there's a nice growl from the exhaust when accelerating hard but overall this 3.0-litre engine is so quiet and refined.

Should you be left wanting a more sporty performance then push the Sport mode driving button and the SQ5 accelerates quicker, stiffening up noticeably for better cornering with less body roll.

Push the comfort auto mode button and the response is equally impressive offering a more relaxed, long distance kind of motoring and again proving itself no slouch when it comes to performance driving.

This SQ5 is as one would expect from Audi today a well balanced car (it sits 30mm lower than the standard model) with nicely weighted steering and although it has adaptive suspension as standard in my book it's well worth paying the extra £1,000 for air suspension.

The set up does provide a much better ride, whether driving sportily or cruising along at motorway speeds on long journeys - it does make a difference on those 20-inch alloy wheels.

The other big plus factor on the SQ5 is the well-proven VAG made eight-speed tiptronic transmission where the lower gears have ideal short ratios leaving the upper gears longer to help save on fuel.

Officially the turbo petrol SQ5 is rated at 34mpg with CO2 emissions of 189g/km - not at all bad for a high performance SUV.

The automatic gear movement up and down the box is quick, refined and so quiet but for those drivers who like to do their own thing the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel are both ideally positioned and offer great response in changing gear.

Interior-wise this SQ5 is like is stablemates offering plenty of quality with supple Nappa leather seats plus strong and solid feeling plastics and switches. Neat stitching gives the inside a smarter finish and standard metal pedals round everything off on the sporty side.

Standard equipment includes Audi's MMI Nav plus infotainment system included which again is so simple yet efficient to use thanks to a single, rotary dial controller plus some shortcut buttons positioned between the two front seats.

All models have head-up display as an option.

Other standard features are Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, electric seats and front and rear parking sensors, all-weather LED headlights, cruise control, stop-start and overall the SQ5 stands out everywhere in terms of the cabin interior and standard features.

As with any car in this class today there's a host of options available and special packs so owners can personalise their model more but overall the technology improvements and more subtle changes made on this latest model make it far better than its predecessor.

Some drivers may be initially disappointed there's no diesel version available at launch but for the meantime this excellent 3.0-litre petrol engine should more than satisfy motorists in this sporting niche sector.

At £51,200 it's a tad more expensive than its two main rivals from Porsche and the Mercedes but it would be money well spent in my view.

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