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Audi considers hot SQ5 diesel for Oz

Lowdown talk: Audi’s bi-turbo diesel SQ5 rides 30mm lower than a standard Q5 and can be specified with 21-inch alloy wheels.

High-performance diesel SUV battle hots up with unveiling of Audi’s twin-turbo SQ5

18 Jun 2012

AUDI has returned BMW’s fire in the high-performance diesel SUV market with the SQ5 TDI, which the company claims can punch its way to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds yet sip just 7.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

Ingolstadt’s first diesel S model – which has a top speed of some 250km/h – is yet to be confirmed for Australian release, but Audi Australia corporate communications executive Shaun Cleary told GoAuto the company is "very interested in this exciting new model".

"The success of the Q5 model range in Australia and our country’s appetite for performance models in general means that we’ll look very closely at it if or when the opportunity arises," he said.

If it does come here, it will eventually become flagship for the facelifted Q5 range that is due to arrive Down Under this summer.

Powered by the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel engine that debuted in the European market A6 BiTDI earlier this year, the SQ5’s power output of 230kW is complemented by a 650Nm slug of torque available between 1450rpm and 2800rpm.

These compare with the facelifted Q5’s standard 3.0-litre V6 TDI that produces 180kW and 580Nm, 4kW and 80Nm more than the current model.

The hot Audi diesel produces 50kW and 90Nm less than the triple-turbo straight-six diesel used in M50d variants of the BMW X5 and X6 that will launch in Australia next month.

However the smaller, lighter Q5 makes more of the available performance, shaving at least two-tenths of a second off the 0-100km/h times posted by the BMWs while being up to 0.5L/100km more fuel-efficient.

The SQ5’s engine sends power to the road via an eight-speed automatic transmission (with aluminium-look paddle-shifters) and Audi’s Quattro torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.

7 center imageSports suspension lowers the body by 30mm compared with a standard Q5, with the wheelarches filled by 20-inch (or optional 21-inch) alloy wheels, behind which sit black S-badged brake callipers.

Other visual clues to the SQ5’s performance include modified bumpers, a roof spoiler and aluminium-look door mirror housings while the grille has a platinum grey finish with seven aluminium-look double crossbars.

Inside are power-adjustable front sports seats, upholstery that features a mix of Nappa leather and suede-like Alcantara, a sports steering wheel, brushed aluminium trim strips and pedals, white instrument needles and S branding dotted around the cabin – including the infotainment system’s welcome screen.

As with the A6 BiTDI, the SQ5 features a speaker in the exhaust system to give it a note more akin to a petrol-engined sportscar.

The SQ5’s European price of €58,500 is similar to that of the larger Q7 with the 3.0-litre TFSI V6 petrol engine, which sells in Australia for $95,700 plus on-road costs.

It comes hot on the heels of the 265kW RS Q3 concept that was unveiled at the Beijing motor show in April featuring a boosted version of the five-cylinder turbo-petrol engine from Audi’s TTRS sportscar.

Despite being more powerful and smaller than the SQ5, the RS Q3’s claimed 0-100km/h time is one-tenth slower at 5.2 seconds due to a lower torque figure, estimated to be in the region of 450Nm.

The SQ5 was unveiled at the Le Mans 24-hour race that took place in France over the weekend, in which the podium was an all-Audi affair.

First and second places were taken by the new diesel-hybrid R18 e-tron Quattro racers, while one R18 Ultra took third and the other set the fastest lap, but lost 12 laps due to a couple of offs that required repair work.

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