Audi SQ5: can performance diesels work?
Audi certainly seems to think so…
I’ve been in Munich this week driving something of a pioneering vehicle from the brand with the four rings.
It’s Audi’s SQ5 and it’s the German firm’s first ever diesel-powered S model, as well as the company’s first proper performance SUV. And no, the ridiculously torquey V12 TDI Q7 doesn’t count…
While it’s mighty quick for a vehicle more akin to something the size of a piece of farm machinery it left me thinking, is the SQ5 the start of a fast saloon revolution?
Despite the queue you’ll have to sit in at the fuel station it actually sounds like a butch turbocharged petrol V8 – things are starting off well I thought. Then I drove it – and that’s not a slight on the SQ5’s character.
The motor is great, even in a weighty 4x4. The chassis’ dynamics are limited due to ride height and mass, but drop the engine into an A4 and it’d turn a family saloon into the most efficient inter-continental ballistic missile ever envisaged.
Audi already put the SQ5’s 313hp engine into the A6, but in an A4 it’d surely be awesome. In the mid-size 4x4 it’s nearly as quick as the S4 saloon from 0-62mph – 5.1 plays 5.0 seconds to 62mph – so with less weight it’d blow the 3.0-litre supercharged V6 into the weeds.
Even in the SQ5, you’ll get 4.3mpg more out of it – think what it’d be like in a mid-size saloon. Petrol power wouldn’t get a look in.
We’ve had fast diesels from BMW and Audi before, but never one with a chassis to match. With a few tweaks, Quattro four-wheel drive and 40mpg-plus efficiency, it’s a pretty appealing proposition.
The 143hp 2.0 TDI A1 we had in a while back proves how a pokey diesel engine in a car with a surfeit of power over weight can be a hoot to drive.
Sure, you’ll always have your petrol purists craving high-octane aromatics rather than the soapy diesel sludge that sticks to your hands after a fill-up, but the way Audi’s 3.0-litre V6 BiTurbo engine revs and sounds could certainly change a few minds.
The diesel revolution has been in full swing for a while now, but maybe it’s time for diesel evolution. The dagger-dagger image needs to be updated and a super-performance diesel could be just the way to do it.
Go on Audi, I dare you…
Just to add to that, we now have an RS6, an whilst its 572BHP is crazy in an estate, the way it produces the power doesnt thrill any more than the new 3.0 twin turbo from BMW which can easily be tuned upto 410BHP!
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