Monday, January 7, 2013

New Car: 2014 Audi SQ5

We’re guilty of frequently complaining about the U.S. market not getting the coolest of automakers’ offerings or the same seemingly endless powertrain options that the rest of the world—especially you, Europe—is regularly afforded. German manufacturers, in particular, offer a much wider portfolio of vehicles in their home market. But the saying goes that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Take the Audi SQ5 TDI, for example. In Europe, the crossover is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel that produces 313 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. It’s impressive and we want, but cannot have, one. But at the 2013 Detroit auto show, Audi is debuting another SQ5. This one will be available on U.S. shores, it consumes gasoline rather than diesel, and is propelled by the brand’s most powerful supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 yet. 

A lesser version of this V-6 is available in the standard Q5, where it produces 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. In fact, every 3.0-liter V-6 in Audi’s lineup could be considered lesser than what’s under the hood of the SQ5. Here, the mill serves up 354 hp and 347 lb-ft. (That’s 21-hp more than the same engine makes in the S4 and the S5.) Thanks to those increases in output, Audi says that the SQ5 will get from 0 to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds, and its top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. By contrast, Audi says the plebeian Q5 3.0T takes 6.0 seconds to reach 60 mph, and it’s limited to 130 mph. Audi claims a combined fuel-economy number of 21 mpg, which is the same as the combined EPA estimate for the standard Q5 3.0T. That number is likely a result of the optimistic European testing cycle. EPA estimates should become available closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date. 

Like all other Q5 models offered in the U.S., the new SQ5 uses a ZF-sourced eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and power is transmitted to all four wheels. The suspension is lowered by 1.2 inches and fitted with firmer springs and shock absorbers. Twenty-inch wheels fitted with 255/45 tires—an option on the Q5 3.0T—are standard on the SQ5, while 21-inch wheels on series-40 rubber are offered as an option and are exclusive to the S model. If the European-market diesel-powered SQ5 is anything to go by, roadholding grip should be spectacular. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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