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First Audi SQ5 details emerge

Ps and Qs: Audi’s second-generation Q5 has officially launched overseas in three variants, but more are on the way including a successor to the hugely popular SQ5.

Two engine options and air suspension for next Audi SQ5, but RS Q5 unlikely

30 Nov 2016

WITH the second-generation Audi Q5 now out in the open and on its way to Australia later in 2017, all eyes have now turned to a successor to the performance-focused SQ5 that has sold consistently well in Australia since its introduction in 2012.

The German car-maker is remaining tight-lipped about any details regarding a gen-two SQ5, but the first morsels are starting to emerge following the official launch of the sub-S variants in Mexico last week.

Speaking to GoAuto at the international launch, Q5 powertrain development engineer Rolf Kronstorfer offered a glimpse into the 2017 SQ5 and revealed the optional air suspension that is available for the TDI and TFSI versions will be rolled out as standard for the flagship.

“A big step for SQ5 will be the air suspension,” he said. “Air suspension wasn’ t available until now.” Rather than simply transplanting the same adaptive setup from the Q5 into the SQ5, Mr Kronsorfer explained that the sportier variant would have additional Dynamic Drive settings to sharpen handling as well as the other comfort, auto and sport modes.

Like the current SQ5, Mr Kronsorfer said that the new version would not have a bespoke engine but would use a fettled version of a unit found in other Audi models.

“The SQ5 engine will be one of the modules that are available for other cars as well. There will be changes but it won’t be a completely new engine that is just focused on this car because it doesn’t make sense.” A 3.0-litre V6 diesel is already confirmed to come Down Under which could provide the basis for the next SQ5 following in the footsteps of the first-gen version, but a second petrol-powered SQ5 is also a possibility.

In the first generation, the SQ5 was only offered as a diesel in Australia, but a version powered by the S4 supercharged V6 was made available for other markets and GoAuto understands the new version will apply the same recipe.

Given the success of the oil-burning SQ5 in Australia, it is likely only the diesel version would be offered in local showrooms, but Audi Q5 product marketing manager Michael Claus explained that the various global markets were difficult to predict.

“Things are changing these days and you will have these engine mixes that are moving constantly,” he said. “Not only because of what we read in the press and the issues we are having but there is a constant shift.

“There is no guarantee that markets will stick to just one engine type. It’s constantly evolving and we always adapt to what’s happening.

“We have written an amazing success story in the Q5 generally but SQ5 has been a success story within the success story. We would be ill advised if we did not continue the success story.” While a repeat of the tried and tested SQ5 appears to be an easy decision for Audi to make, an even spicier version wearing RS badges would have to take a significant step up in performance, according to Mr Claus, but the final call lies with the company’s specialised performance branch.

“Our customers have really high expectations and we put the limit of what an RS Q5 has to have very high. Our own standards and what makes a car an RS car is really, really high.

“If you want any derivative to be an RS model you have to have the right engine, suspension and design, but it’s up to our colleagues at Audi Sport to decide what engines are we going to bring, to what car and to what market.” One RS Q5 powertrain possibility lies under the bonnet of the larger SQ7 SUV and a mighty stump-pulling 900Nm V8 diesel which might just slot into a Q5 thanks to the shared MLB Evo platform, but Q5 total vehicle technical development engineer Alexander Riedel dashed any hopes for an RS version in the near future.

“Maybe it could be but when you look at the Q7 also we said there was space for an SQ7,” he said.

“The SQ7 V8 diesel makes sense because its economical and powerful but we don’t think there is a customer for RS.” For now, the only RS SUV in the Audi line-up remains the RS Q3 which uses same five-cylinder turbo engine from the RS3 Sportback and while some pundits have suggested the small crossover is not worthy of the esteemed RS moniker, Mr Riedel said the model was carefully positioned.

“At the Q3 and the RS Q3 there was the possibility to have that five-cylinder in that class platform so it was just a technical option.

“In my opinion the RSQ3 is correctly positioned, the SQ5 could not be an RS Q5. It would need more (power) for an RS.”

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