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Audi SQ5 2013 review

EXPERT RATING
7.5

We recently jumped out of the stunning Audi A6 3.0 Tdi (diesel) biturbo performance sedan, now this... Audi's SQ5 medium size SUV with the same engine.

Like the sedan, the SQ5 is quick -- the quickest production diesel SUV on the planet to be exact and capable of stopping the clocks in around 5.1-seconds for a 0-100kmh sprint.

That from a fully equipped luxury vehicle tipping the scales at nearly 2.0 tonnes. And it's pitched at a tempting $89,400.

TECHNOLOGY

The engine is a V6 with two turbos, a smaller variable geometry unit and a larger single scroll helping it achieve 230kW/650Nm, the latter from a low 1450rpm. It makes light work of propelling this chunky but handsome looking customer off the line or pretty much anywhere else simply by pressing the right foot. Instant go --  like a rocket sled with no discernible peaks or troughs.

The feeling could almost be marketed as a sideshow ride. And if that's not enough, you won't be bothered by incessant visits to the servo to refuel because this genuine performance vehicle is capable of returning 6.8-litres/100km. Try getting that from your HSV or FPV with which the SQ5 shares a similar performance potential -- more, thanks to that mountain of torque.

Sub 7.0-litres/100km fuel use means the SQ5 qualifies for a reduction in the Luxury Car Tax which partially helps the price. That impressive economy is due to technology such as energy recovery, engine stop/start and a regulated oil pump that only operates on an as needed basis. Audi also utilised clever thermal management under the bonnet to further cut fuel use.

Adding icing to the cake is a sound actuator in the exhaust system that bestows the SQ5 with a deep baritone voice unlike any other diesel we have driven. No rattle, no clatter, no turbo whistles, just a raunchy growl. Great stuff.

Drive goes to all four wheels (quattro) via an eight-speed auto transmission with paddle shift. Stiffer S sport suspension lowers the body by 30 mm, and 255/45 tyres are mounted to the 20-inch wheels.

Multi mode drive select is part of the package offering calibrations for comfort, dynamic, auto and individual. The SQ5 looks a lot like other Q5 -- with more attitude and a purposeful stance. Big wheels and tyres, subtle body add ons, some body brightwork and a different grille set it apart. Still gets the attention grabbing LED daytime running lights along with a raft of other lighting systems.


DESIGN

Inside is a study in leather and good Germanic taste. The superb dash, dash not only looks the biz but is totally functional in a way other luxury vehicles fall down due to over complexity.

Heck, we could actually use the myriad functions that include MMI plus navigation and media system, voice control and Bluetooth phone and audio. Driver assist features include a rear camera, hill descent control and park assist, tyre pressure monitor along with the drive select system.


DRIVING

Our 300km drive of the SQ5 was punctuated by repeated use of the extraordinary roll on acceleration. It's an addictive feeling. The vehicle is just the right size too -- fits easily in the average garage and there's plenty of luxury kit to make you feel good. It goes around corners like a sports car and with the drive select system, you can dial up ride quality, steering feel and throttle response.

A launch package is available for a snip under $15 grand that includes many desirable options including the recommended dynamic steering.


VERDICT

Look out BMW and Merc. And everyone else, for that matter.

Pricing guides

$39,490
Based on 17 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$32,490
Highest Price
$44,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 TDI Quattro 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $27,100 – 35,860 2013 Audi SQ5 2013 3.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
3.0 TDI Quattro Launch Edition 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $31,900 – 41,800 2013 Audi SQ5 2013 3.0 TDI Quattro Launch Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5