Sporty and powerful: the new generation of the SQ5 TDI

4 min read
Nov. 12. 2020
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Even sharper, sportier, and more efficient: The optimized Audi SQ5 TDI now looks even more impressive. Its V6 three-liter diesel engine with an output of 251 kW (341 PS) delivers its power smoothly and forcefully. The sharper design underlines the sporty character of the sport SUV. Rear lights featuring the new digital OLED technology are available as an option for the top Q5 model.

The SQ5 TDI has a successful track record. Its first generation, which was launched in the fall of 2012, already marked the starting point for a success story – as the first Audi S model powered by a diesel engine.

In its latest extended version, the three-liter V6 boasts an output of 251 kW (341 PS) and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of torque. The wide engine speed range can be used continuously between 1,750 rpm and 3,250 rpm. The 3.0 TDI develops its power earlier and more forcefully than before. It accelerates the top model of the Q5 product line from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.1 mph) in 5.1 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). An actuator in the exhaust system, as fitted to the first SQ5 TDI, gives the V6 a sonorous sound.

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.

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.

As before, the SQ5 TDI is able to strike its remarkable compromise between 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 and electrically powered compressor .

The MHEV integrates a belt alternator starter, 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.

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 with exceptionally wide operating parameters that enable it to very effectively prioritise cruising comfort, challenging cornering and everything in between.

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.