Its mighty V6 TDI engine, and the advanced electrically powered compressor which so compellingly quickens its responses, have already earned the SQ5 TDI the distinction of being the first Audi SUV to wear the evocative S badge. Now both key elements have raised their game yet again in the new generation model, which combines improvements to that already highly acclaimed powerhouse with extensive modifications inside and out. These include the introduction to the cabin of the latest Audi touch-screen MMI Touch control and the availability of new next-generation digital OLED rear lighting as part of an exterior rework that brings the top tier SUV back up to speed with contemporary Audi design principles. On arrival in the UK in early 2021 the new generation model will be offered in two formats – SQ5 TDI and SQ5 TDI Vorsprung – the latter featuring a particularly comprehensive selection of indulgences and practical driver aids.
“It’s the immediacy of the power delivery as much as the sheer force of the acceleration that makes such a lasting impression in the SQ5 TDI,” says Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle. “Now that the formidable engine and independent electric compressor have been primed to perform even more readily and even more efficiently, and the successful SUV they power has been updated inside and out, the SQ5 TDI promises to be even more crushingly effective as a driver’s car and as an ownership proposition.”
In its latest incarnation, the 3.0-litre V6 at the heart of the new generation SQ5 TDI delivers 341PS and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of torque, the latter across a wider engine speed range between 1,750 rpm and 3,250 rpm. Peak power is also produced earlier than before, helping to propel the mid-size performance SUV from rest to 62mph in 5.1 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. An actuator in the exhaust system gives the V6 a particularly sonorous sound.
3.0-litre TDI with extensive modifications
Numerous detail enhancements have been made to the V6 3.0 TDI. Its original aluminium pistons have been replaced with stronger, lighter forged steel equivalents that not only reduce heat losses but also ensure combustion is faster and more efficient thanks to their newly introduced stepped recesses. The solenoid injectors used to inject the fuel operate with consistently high precision thanks to a new piezo sensor that monitors the closing of the needle. They can perform up to eight injections per work cycle, with injection quantities that are scalable with even greater precision. The maximum injection pressure is 2,500 bar.
The direct air/air intercooler that was originally located in the bumper has been replaced by an indirect water/air cooler in the inside V of the engine. The shortened intake air paths help to build up boost pressure quickly. The indirect intercooler is more effective and can even heat the intake air shortly after the engine is started in cold ambient conditions in order to reach the ideal combustion temperatures more quickly. This means that the exhaust gas cleaning system can respond more quickly to further optimise emission control.
The turbocharger now features a smaller and lighter compressor wheel that spools up with exceptional speed – a key factor in the engine’s spontaneous and high torque build-up – while the exhaust manifold also benefits from improved insulation, enabling the exhaust gas to reach the optimum temperature more quickly after a cold start.
MHEV and EPC: even greater efficiency and response
As before, the SQ5 TDI is able to strike its remarkable compromise between a performance that more than warrants the S badge and efficiency that is in step with modern-day demands thanks to its 48-volt mild hybrid system (MHEV) and electrically powered compressor (EPC).
The MHEV integrates a belt alternator starter (BAS), a lithium-ion battery that provides buffer storage and a 48/12-volt voltage converter. When the car decelerates, the MHEV system recovers up to 8 kW of power. It also enables the SUV to coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine switched off, after which time it is unintrusively restarted by the powerful BAS. The MHEV system has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres for every 62 miles driven.
The EPC intervenes whenever the exhaust gas flow provides too little energy to drive the turbocharger. A compact electric motor, which also uses the compact 48-volt system, accelerates the compressor wheel of the EPC to 65,000 rpm in roughly 300 milliseconds. In the latest generation SQ5 TDI the EPC is now used more frequently and across a broader engine map, and it makes its presence felt particularly strongly during step-off acceleration and when pulling away from low engine speeds. Its interaction with the MHEV, the turbocharger, the engine itself and the Tiptronic transmission has been further optimised in this latest application to make the abundant power and torque even more readily accessible.
Two SCR catalytic converters interact: the exhaust gas after-treatment
For exhaust gas after-treatment, Audi uses twin-dosing technology based on two SCR catalytic converters working together. The first of these is located directly behind the manifold in the exhaust gas system, where it also functions as a particulate filter. The second is located further away from the engine under the vehicle floor. Each of the converters covers different operating situations and exhaust gas temperature windows, and each is supplied with the AdBlue urea solution from a 24-litre tank.
Thanks to twin-dosing technology, the SQ5 TDI substantially undercuts the limits of the new “Euro 6d ISC-FCM AP” emissions standard, which also stipulates a dramatic reduction in NOx emissions in the real driving test conducted on public roads in everyday traffic situations. In the official tests, the latest generation SQ5 TDI proved capable of returning up to 34.4 MPG with CO2 output from 216g/km.
Shifting gear quickly and conveniently: the eight-speed Tiptronic
The significant modifications to the engine and ancillaries have been taken into account when configuring the new shift strategy for the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, which delivers fast and smooth shifts and incorporates a clutch that interrupts the power flow when the SQ5 TDI is in coasting mode with the engine switched off.
As with all S models, the output is channelled to the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, which in normal driving conditions distributes it between the front and rear axles in a 40:60 ratio. In the event that grip is compromised, the majority of the available torque is directed to the axle with the better traction. Up to 70 percent can flow to the front wheels and a maximum of 85 percent to the rear. During fast cornering, the wheel-selective torque control makes minor brake interventions at the wheels on the inside of the bend to maintain the best possible trajectory.
Sport differential: more torque, greater adjustability
As a further aid to adjustability, the sport differential which is standard for the SQ5 TDI Vorsprung actively controls the distribution of torque between the rear wheels. It sends more torque to the wheel on the outside of the bend that has better grip, literally pressing the car into the curve and reducing understeer considerably. The outer rear wheel also receives more torque when the car is accelerating out of tight-radius corners to further improve driving dynamics. A high-performance braking system, including six-piston S-embossed aluminium brake callipers on the front axle which grip discs with a diameter of 375 millimetres, provides consistently reassuring stopping power during more committed driving.
Supreme precision: the suspension
The suspension that supports quattro and the sport differential is no less sophisticated. The five-link front and rear set-up, which lowers the body by 30 millimetres versus the standard Q5, naturally has S-specific tuning and also features adaptive damper control with exceptionally wide operating parameters that enable it to very effectively prioritise cruising comfort, challenging cornering and everything in between.
Together with the sport differential (where fitted) and the engine, steering and tiptronic transmission, the controlled dampers are networked into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, which is fitted as standard. The driver can choose from six profiles which influence the operating characteristics of these systems: auto, comfort, efficiency, dynamic, offroad, and individual. A seventh profile, allroad, is available to drivers of the SQ5 TDI Vorsprung, which features S-specific adaptive air suspension – this air suspension adjusts the ride height of the body through five levels depending on the driving situation.
New accents: the exterior design
Sat low on its standard 20-inch wheels the remodelled Audi SQ5 TDI has a powerful stance, with striking details that give it an even more rugged appearance. Vertical fins provide structure to the large side air inlets on the front bumpers, and in the octagonal Singleframe grille that is specific to the S models, large octagonal honeycomb sections are linked by narrow bars. These have an aluminium finish, as do the fins on the air inlets. At the rear, a matte aluminium strip is integrated in the lower bumpers, below which are the diffuser insert and four chromium-plated oval tailpipe trims. SQ5 TDI Vorsprung models, with their larger 21-inch alloy wheels and additional black body detailing, are even more distinctive.
The latest lighting technology: Matrix LED headlights and digital OLED rear lights
Matrix LED headlights with automatic high beam and dynamic indicators are fitted as standard to both models, and the rear lights in SQ5 TDI Vorsprung versions also feature new digital OLED technology. The OLED rear lights are split into three tiles of six segments each, and at the point of order customers can select the light signatures these display from a choice of three, each with its own specific design for coming and leaving home. When the Audi drive select mode “dynamic” is activated, the lights also display a signature that is specific to this setting. The OLED rear light also has a proximity detection function that activates all the OLED segments if a road user approaches a stationary SQ5 from the rear to within a distance of less than two metres. The OLED lighting technology is also available as an option for SQ5 TDI models.
Black, grey or red: the interior
Inside, the SQ5 TDI can be finished in black, dark grey or red. Its electrically-adjustable sport seats featuring embossed S logos offer a three-mode massage function and are upholstered in fine Nappa leather with a rhombus pattern in contrasting stitching which is carried through to the seat edges and steering wheel. Brushed aluminium inlays bisect the dashboard and doors in SQ5 TDI models, while the SQ5 TDI Vorsprung is trimmed in carbon which is also optionally available for its standard counterpart.
At the rear, the standard “plus” version of the seat bench not only features a base that can be moved backwards and forwards to give priority to luggage or passengers, but also tilt adjustable seat backrests. Via the electrically operated tailgate, the luggage compartment has a basic capacity of 520 litres, increasing to 1,520 litres with the rear seat backs folded down. Roof rails in either aluminium in standard models or black in Vorsprung versions also maximise versatility, as does the SQ5 TDI’s capacity to tow trailers weighing up to 2.4 metric tons (braked, on a 12 percent gradient).
Operating system, infotainment and Audi connect
The new 10.1-inch MMI touch display, a central element of the MIB 3 modular infotainment platform, serves as the nerve centre of the new generation SQ5 TDI models. As an alternative to fingertip entry via the touch screen, the state-of-the-art system can also accept commands made via the multifunction steering wheel and using the spoken word thanks to advanced natural language voice control. If several drivers use the car, they can store their personal settings in up to six individual profiles. The 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit is naturally also standard and provides three different graphic layouts: Dynamic, Sport and Classic. In SQ5 TDI Vorsprung models it is also supplemented by a head-up display projecting important information onto the windscreen in the driver’s field of vision.
The internet-enabled Car-to-X services available as part of the standard Audi connect package can help drivers find parking spots on the roadside and warn of hazards such as slippery roads and fog on the route ahead. The Audi phone box is also on hand in both versions to connect smartphones with the vehicle’s aerial and charge them inductively. A digital connection between the car and the user’s smartphone can also be established using the myAudi app, which enables a number of features to be controlled remotely using the handset.
Convenient and precise: the driver assist systems
SQ5 TDI Vorsprung models feature a wealth of upgrades such as a Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System, a panoramic glass sunroof and electric steering wheel adjustment, as well as virtually the full complement of driver assistance features available across the Q5 range. Chief among these is the Tour Pack, which incorporates an adaptive cruise assist system that can assume responsibility for accelerating, decelerating and keeping in lane over long distances, and predictive efficiency assist to foster a predictive driving style with the goal of lowering fuel consumption, plus turn assist and collision avoidance assist functions.
Audi offers post Brexit price protection peace of mind
The announcement of the new SQ5 comes at a time when Audi UK is now offering added peace of mind to customers. Sections of the retail automotive industry in England had to close from November 5, however, Audi’s showrooms remain virtually available to customers, while ‘click and collect’ and home delivery services are in operation. Service departments also remain open to customers to provide essential servicing, maintenance and MOT work. Retails in Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to be open, while those in Wales reopened this week following a national lockdown.
In addition to this while, there is continuing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations Audi has stepped up and now guarantees it will not pass on any potential post Brexit tariffs for all orders placed before 17:30 on December 2, 2020. The move is aimed at giving buyers confidence and offering certainty in uncertain times*.