New Audi SQ5 is

petrol - but diesel

is coming

Audi SQ5, 2018, nose
Audi SQ5, 2018, front, action
Audi SQ5, 2018, front, static
Audi SQ5, 2018, side
Audi SQ5, 2018, engine
Audi SQ5, 2018, instrument panel
Audi SQ5, 2018, interior
Audi SQ5, 2018, rear
Audi SQ5, 2018, boot

AUDI'S dynamic SQ5 made its name with a diesel engine under the bonnet - but now all that's changed.

The second generation Audi SQ5 is petrol powered, boasting a new turbocharged V6, 354ps TFSI engine which pushes this SUV effortlessly from standstill to 62 miles per hour in just 5.4 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.

The engine is the successor to the one first used in the Audi S4 and S5 performance flagships and is capable of delivering up to 34 miles per gallon in the big SUV thanks in part to its special freewheel mode.

But Audi hasn't turned it's back on diesel for the SQ5. I have it on good authority that there will be a new diesel version next year.

Whether it will run alongside the new petrol model or replace it remains to be seen.

In the meantime drivers looking for an SUV with attitude are well catered for with the new TFSI model which starts at just under £52,000.

But like all Audis you can spec it up to suit your individual taste - at a price.

The model I drove briefly at one of the German luxury car company's events had a superb range of some 13 optional extras on board including 21-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display and superior headlights but the on-the-road price was £60,285.

It's a price unlikely to phase Audi buyers, however, as the marque goes from strength to strength boosted by the fact that 30 per cent of all car sales in the UK now come from premium brands.

In fact over the next 24 months Audi is planning to introduce no less than 21 new models - including a Q8 - as it launches a massive sales offensive.

The new SQ5 carries 35kg less weight thanks in part to new body architecture and comes with a seamless eight-speed tiptronic gearbox.

Even in normal Drive mode it packs a mighty punch but slip the gearshift into Sport and it becomes a rocketship of a car that drives more like a hot hatch than a spacious and tall SUV

If you want to liven things up even more 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 yourself via Audi‘s Drive Select system, which offers the choice of economy, comfort, auto, dynamic or individual settings.

As you put your right foot down hard there's a roar from the twin exhausts which turns heads but under normal motoring this is one of Audi's quietest cars.

Despite its powerful performance the SQ5 has superb functionality, boasting 550 litres of luggage space with the rear seatbacks in position and 1,550 litres with them folded down.

And if the exterior is powerful and business-like the interior is luxury all the way with electrically adjustable "S" Sport front seats in fine Nappa leather with a very distinctive diamond stitching pattern, a fully digital instrument cluster and a 180watt sound system with 10 speakers.

In a marketplace dominated by the demand for SUV models the new SQ5 is among the best of the best.

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