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First Look: 2014 Audi SQ5 Performance Crossover

Audi’s most powerful V-6 yet.

by on Jan.08, 2013

The 2014 Audi SQ5 will get the most powerful version of the maker's 3.0-liter V-6 yet offered.

Some things are worth waiting for, or so one hopes in the case of the 2014 Audi SQ5 performance crossover making its debut at the Detroit Auto Show next week. It’s the long-awaited production version of the Q5 Custom Concept first revealed way back in 2009 – with some much-needed updates, of course.

Developed specifically for the U.S. and a handful of other markets, the new top-of-the-line version of the Q5 crossover is capable of sprinting from 0 to 100 kmh – 0 to 62.5 mph for the metrically challenged – in just 5.3 seconds, with an Autobahn-ready top speed of 250 kmh (155 mph).

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If there’s any surprise, it’s the fact that Audi has waited until now rather than bringing over the diesel-powered SQ5.  Volkswagen’s luxury subsidiary has big plans to expand its diesel line-up but apparently didn’t think Americans are ready to accept the idea that oil-burners not only can deliver great mileage but also quite a punch off the line.

So, what we’ll see here (and in Canada and China) is a Q5 variant powered by a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 making 354 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque.  The supercharger gets an added boost by being paired with twin intercoolers.  The basic engine is found in the standard-issue Q5 making “just” 272 hp and 295 lb-ft. In the SQ5, look for combined fuel economy to come in around 21 mpg, the maker estimates.

The engine is paired with an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox and power is delivered to all four wheels.  Notably, the SQ5 makes use of Audi’s advanced torque vectoring system. Rather than pushing through a turn, a common complaint among performance buyers about all-wheel-drive, torque vectoring can shift torque, as needed, to actually help steer through a corner.

Audi lowers the chassis about 1.2 inches to keep it more fully planted, while the springs and shocks have been appropriately retuned for a more taut and sporty ride.  Meanwhile, the SQ5 has been outfitted with stock 20-inch wheels, with optional 21s on the dealer checkbox.

The 2014 Audi SQ5 will also be offered with an optional dynamic steering system featuring a steplessly variable ratio.  It can be switched using the Audi drive select controls which also adjust such features as throttle tip-in and shifts.

Visually, the new SQ5 gets a distinctive platinum gray radiator grille, distinctive bumpers and roof spoiler and V6 T badges on the fender.

The interior, meanwhile, is finished in black, though a contrasting Moon Silver headliner is available, as are power-adjustable sport seats finished in Nappa leather and Alcantara.  Pedals and shift paddles are done up in a shiny aluminum-look finish, and the SQ5 instruments feature white numerals on gray dials.

Look for the 2014 Audi SQ5 to reach U.S. showrooms during the third quarter of the year.  No pricing has yet been announced.

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2 Responses to “First Look: 2014 Audi SQ5 Performance Crossover”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    I doubt many folks who buy SUVs or Cross-overs even know what “pushing thru a turn” actually is. Torque vectoring is a good idea to improve handling however and compensate for driver error. I don’t know how popular this model will be with a premium price tag?

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      I’m confident they will find a market. Look at the AMG versions of Mercedes SUVs.

      Paul E.