Previously available singularly with a 230kW/650Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine – which will arrive in Australia in April – the performance 3.0 TFSI SQ5 will officially debut at next week's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
Audi confirmed that the reason the 3.0 TFSI SQ5 will be produced in LHD only is due to the preference for petrol engines in key markets such as China and the United States.
Although the supercharged 3.0 TFSI engine (below) has long served in 245kW/440Nm guise in the Audi S4, S5, A6 3.0 TFSI, and Q7 3.0S, and more recently in 200kW/400Nm spec in the Q5 3.0 TFSI, for the first time in any Audi, the SQ5 raises outputs to 260kW and 460Nm.
As with the Q7 only, the SQ5 mates the petrol V6 to an eight-speed auto – all other Audi models, including the regular Q5, utilise a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Quattro all-wheel-drive is, however, standard on every four-ringed vehicle that utilises the blown engine.
With peak torque delivered from 4000-4500rpm, and peak power on song from 6000-6500rpm, the SQ5 3.0 TFSI shifts from standstill to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds, onwards to a 250km/h top speed. The claimed slurp in combined conditions is 8.5L/100km, with corresponding 199g/km of CO2 emitted.
Although the petrol shares the oiler’s top speed, it is 0.2 seconds slower, and 1.3 litres thirstier.
Despite this, the petrol Audi SQ5 is billed as a new “top of the line” model, indicating that it will be priced above the previously range-topping diesel SQ5.
Both variants share the same 20-inch alloy wheels and suspension lowered by 30mm compared with regular Q5 models, the single external change being with the badging – ‘TDI’ on the rear bootlid is replaced with ‘V6 T’ on the front flanks. The petrol engine nomenclature is curious given that the petrol SQ5 is supercharged, not turbocharged.
With either fuel type, BMW has no performance answer to the Audi SQ5 in its X3 range. An ‘M X3’ is, however, highly likely in the future, powered by the company’s triple-turbo six-cylinder diesel engine.
According to Audi Australia corporate communications executive Shaun Cleary, the SQ5 “might dip under the $100,000 mark” when the diesel-only model arrives here in April, which would make it the fastest-accelerating SUV on the market for less than six figures.