IN these days of electrification, hybridisation and ICE-free cars, it's a bit of a surprise to come across a full-fat diesel.
Of course, oil-burners are still popular with serious mudluggers, but here we're looking at a stylish SUV which is more at home parked outside Claridges than scaling the side of a mountain.
While many makers have shied away from diesels, even in 4WD form, Audi has returned to the formula for a convincing blend of performance, reasonable economy and all-round usability.
The SQ5 Sportback, a mid-size coupe-style five-seater, gets a 3.0-litre turbo V6 that propels it the benchmark 62mph in around five seconds. That's quick.
But more significant than the outright punch is its low end power which comes in at sledgehammer proportions. With 341bhp and no less than 700Nm torque, it has serious clout.
From the outside it looks pretty restrained with similar styling, bar subtle spoiler and side skirts and big black grill, to the regular Q5 Sportback.
And like its lesser brother, it's a practical family motor with bags of leg and shoulder room front and back. Luggage space is about average for the breed with 500litres available before the backseats are folded which boosts capacity to nearly 1500litres.
The rakish hind-quarters do little to detract from the model's carrying capacity.
Anyone fearful of reduced refinement due to its diesel power, need have no concern. Even under full throttle or at tickover the SQ5 purrs rather than grumbles and as the revs grow, a somewhat aggressive but sporty snarl is emitted. A far cry from the diesel clatter of old.
It corners strongly and almost without roll, and the eight-inch wide, 20-inch alloys shod with low profile tyres grip tenaciously.
They do, however, tend to track white lines and pick out the multitude of road imperfections that beset most British routes. There's a lack of feel from the steering which is a shame because this is very much a driver's car.
Ultimate cornering limits are higher than normal road users are ever likely to require, and the Quattro four wheel drive system ensures all the power reaches its correct destination, so no unseemly wheelspin.
An eight speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with steering wheel paddles takes care of the gear changing slickly and smoothly.
Despite the considerable performance available, fuel consumption was impressively miserly, hovering around the 30mpg mark with a best of 35.5mpg over a brisk country run.
The cabin is pure Audi, no bad thing. High grade plastics, quality leather and solid switchgear together with the latest technology can offer produces a stylish and classy working environment for driver and passengers alike.
Electrically adjustable sports seats with Nappa leather trim do their job perfectly and a heads-up display together with B&O sound system lend a sense of occasion to travelling in the SQ5.
Bearing a price tag north of Â£60,000, there's a generous list of standard kit on board - leather flat-bottom steering wheel, heated seats, LED interior lighting, heated front seats and reversing camera. It still leaves the possibility of optional extras such as the comfort and sound pack at Â£1,395 and park assist plus, which costs £300.
The striking district green coachwork - a Â£675 extra - proved a huge hit with onlookers and really suited the car.
2,967cc, V6, 341bhp diesel engine driving all 4 wheels via automatic gearbox