The Audi SQ5 TDI has been revealed at the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hour race, a model that becomes the German brand’s first S-branded SUV and its first S-branded diesel.
Audi has been using the world famous endurance event in recent years to prove diesel power and performance aren’t mutually exclusive, and the SQ5’s statistics are promising.
The Audi SQ5 TDI produces 230kW and 650Nm from a twin-turbocharged direct fuel injection 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which blasts the all-wheel-drive SUV to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds before a top speed of 250km/h is reached.
That sprint time shaves 1.4 seconds off the current fastest model in the Q5 range, the 3.0 TDI, and it should sound good thanks to the inclusion of a sound actuator in the SQ5’s exhaust system.
The SQ5, which produces its maximum torque from just 1450 up to 2800rpm, can also tow up to 2.4 tonnes.
Engine stop-start is among a range of efficiency technologies that help restrict fuel consumption to an official 7.2 litres per 100km.
The Audi SQ5 TDI gains a sports suspension that lowers the ride height by 30mm compared with other Q5s, and it sits on 20-inch wheels as standard with buyers able to pay extra for 21-inch wheels.
Buyers can also choose Audi Drive Select that includes variable ratio steering. An eight-speed auto is standard.
A predominantly black interior stays in keeping with Audi’s other S models, and features electrically adjustable sports seats made from leather and suede-like Alcantara and brushed-aluminium trim inlays that can be swapped for other styles featuring wood and carbonfibre for an extra charge.
SQ5 logos are used liberally, featuring on the steering wheel, gearlever, door sill plates and seat headrests.
Externally, SQ5 badges are also found on the grille, tailgate and front brake calipers.
The lower ride height, quad exhaust pipes and sportier-looking grille and bumpers mark this Q5 out as a performance variant of the mid-sized SUV’s range while maintaining the car maker’s tradition for retrained visual aggression.
The SQ5 is revealed just a couple of months after a 265kW, high-performance concept of the company’s smaller SUV, the Audi RS Q3, was shown at the Beijing motor show.
The Audi SQ5 TDI will be released onto the European market in early 2013. Audi says the vehicle is under consideration for Australia, and would seem a shoo-in considering the popularity of SUVs.