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2021 Audi SQ5 TDI diesel detailed: Less power for oil-burning BMW X3 M40i and Mercedes-AMG GLC43 rival

Audi's new-look SQ5 TDI will launch in the second quarter of next year, and be sold alongside the petrol SQ5 TFSI.

Audi’s latest SQ5 TDI performance SUV will make less power than it did before, but is expected to be a permanent fixture in the Australian line-up when it arrives in the second quarter of next year.

Audi Australia is just launching the pre-facelift version of the SQ5 TDI this month, priced at $104,900 before on-road costs, but has limited available stock likely due to the imminent new version.

However, Audi Australia is yet to clarify its plans for the performance diesel SUV, stating that “further information on pricing and specifications details will be announced closer to launch”.

Retaining the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 engine as before, the new SQ5 TDI makes 4kW less power, meaning a 251kW output. Torque, meanwhile, remains unchanged at 700Nm.

However, peak power and maximum torque are now available much earlier in the rev range from 1750-3250rpm, while the zero-to-100km/h acceleration time carries over as before (5.1 seconds) despite the power deficit.

Sending drive to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, the new SQ5 will also return a fuel consumption rating of 7.0 litres per 100km, which is slightly higher than the 6.8L/100km figure of the previous car.

Why the change in power and fuel economy? The engine pistons are now made from forged steel instead of aluminium to reduce heat loss, but also weigh more.

Also new in the update is a water-to-air intercooler, a shorter intake and a turbocharger with a smaller compressor for less lag.

Exhaust gases are also fed through two catalytic convertors for less pollutant tailpipe emissions that meet the latest Euro 6d standards, though with Australia forgoing any such regulations, the twin-dosing technology might be omitted for local vehicles.

Carrying over from before is the 48-volt mild-hybrid system that can recoup up to 8kW of power on deceleration that can be used for to save up to 0.7L/100km of diesel.

The system also makes use of an electric powered compressor to help spool the turbo faster.

Fitted with S sport suspension with adjustable dampers, the SQ5 is 30mm lower than the standard Q5, while a rear sports differential is available for further improved cornering ability.

Differentiating itself from the old SQ5, the new model wears new headlights, honeycomb grille and front fascia, while quad-exhaust pipes are now fitted instead of fake vents.

Inside, the SQ5 sports illuminated door sills, electronically adjustable front sports seats, leather and Alcantara trim, a 10.1-inch multimedia display and 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, as well as safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and exit warning.

Lifting the electronic tailgate will reveal a boot capable of swallowing 520 litres, which can be expanded 1520L with the rear seats folded down.

The new SQ5 TDI will be sold alongside the petrol-powered SQ5 TFSI that uses a 260kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged V6.