2017 Audi SQ5 TFSI First Drive

Audi’s original SQ5 was both the first diesel S-model and the first of its Q-branded SUVs to be given the performance treatment, and it went on to be a resounding success here in the UK. Roughly a fifth of all MkI Q5s on our roads are powered by the 313hp/480lb ft biturbo diesel engine, showing that the Audi’s blend of pace and parsimony was a massive hit with customers.

For the second generation, though, the German company has decided to launch the SQ5 with a 3.0-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engine, borrowed from the Audi S4 and S5. There was a petrol version of the original SQ5 in other markets, but we only got the diesel here; so a TFSI SQ5 is something unusual. It also represents the first time any S-model Audi sold in the UK will have a choice of engines.

First drive of the Audi SQ5 TFSI
First drive of the Audi SQ5 TFSI

The SQ5’s V6 motor produces healthy outputs of 354hp and 369lb ft, to deliver 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and the de rigueur 155mph limited maximum. Yet the old SQ5 TDI had 313hp allied to 480lb ft, for a 0-62mph run of 5.1 seconds. Oh, and 41.5mpg, compared to the new TFSI model’s 34mpg. And then Audi went and did a ‘plus’ model too, with 340hp/516lb ft.

A diesel SQ5 MkII is on the way for 2018, but for now, what we have is a slower, thirstier version of what went before. Has Audi shot itself in the foot, then, or is there method to the German company’s seeming madness with the SQ5 TFSI?

First impressions

About the most contentious point of the SQ5’s design revolves around the utterly fake ‘quad exhausts’. You don’t h...