The Audi SQ5, which has been updated for 2021, is now on sale in the UK with prices starting at £56,600. The high-performance, diesel-powered SUV comes with exterior design tweaks, modifications to the 3-litre V6 diesel engine and some extra on-board technology.
Chief among those modifications is the addition of mild-hybrid power, which uses a 48-volt electrical system to store energy normally lost while decelerating or braking. The system can store up to 8 kW of power, which allows the car to coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine off. According to Audi, the system can reduce the 336 bhp V6 engine’s fuel consumption by up to 0.7 litres per 100 km travelled.
Other changes to the SQ5 engine include new pistons, which allow faster and more efficient combustion, while a water/air intercooler has been fitted inside the ‘V’ of the engine. This allows the turbo to build pressure more quickly, and it can even heat the air when the engine is warming up, improving emissions.
Similarly, Audi has also fitted a smaller and lighter compressor wheel to the turbocharger, allowing the turbo to spool up faster and improving power delivery. And the attention to detail continues with the exhaust manifold, which has improved insulation to help it gain temperature more quickly.
More obvious changes, however, can be found on the surface, where Audi has fiddled with the car’s exterior design. Vertical fins have been added to the large side air inlets on the front bumpers, and large octagonal honeycomb sections in the grille are linked by narrow bars with an aluminium finish.
At the back, there’s a matte aluminium strip in the lower bumper, just above the diffuser panel and the four chromium-plated oval tailpipe trims. And high-spec Vorsprung models get larger 21-inch alloy wheels and additional black body detailing.
Inside, the SQ5 gets a new 10.1-inch touchscreen display as part of the new MIB 3 modular infotainment system. The system can be controlled through the screen, the steering wheel or voice control, and it works with Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display. Vorsprung models supplement this with a fighter jet-style head up display that projects information onto the windscreen.
Upgrading to the Vorsprung version, which also gets you a Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System, a panoramic glass sunroof and electric steering wheel adjustment, costs an extra £15,150, bringing the price to £71,750.
“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,” said Andrew Doyle, the director of Audi UK. “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.”