Updated Audi SQ5 TDI arrives with performance boost, new tech

Audi has updated its SQ5 performance SUV for 2021, ushering in performance improvements, design tweaks and new technology throughout. 

Following the lead of the standard car, the SQ5’s subtle styling changes include new vertical air intakes at the front, a lightly reshaped grille and a tweaked rear end. 

The SQ5 TDI retains its mild-hybrid 3.0-litre V6, but revisions to the engine itself, as well as to the energy recuperation system, are claimed to boost efficiency and performance. 

The outgoing car’s aluminium pistons, for example, have been swapped for lighter forged steel items that are claimed to reduce heat loss and “ensure combustion is faster and more efficient” with the aid of newly introduced stepped recesses.

Additionally, the fuel injectors are said to operate with greater precision and a shortened air intake for the intercooler helps the turbocharger to build boost more quickly. 

Power output is slightly down, at 336bhp, compared with the current car’s 342bhp, but Audi claims the 516lb ft of torque is available across a wider rev range – 1750rpm to 3250rpm – and peak power arrives earlier than before. The SQ5 can still dispatch the 0-62mph sprint in 5.1sec and achieve an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. 

As for the 48V mild hybrid system, tweaks to the electrically powered compressor – which drives the turbocharger when exhaust gas flow is too low – mean the turbo’s performance is more noticeable at low speeds and during step-off acceleration.

Audi claims the revised powertrain “substantially undercuts the limits of the new Euro 6d ISC-FCM AP emissions standard” and brings a “dramatic reduction” in NOx emissions, with the introduction of selective catalytic reduction for the exhaust system. The SQ5 TDI can achieve 34.4mpg on the WLTP cycle and emits 216g/km of CO2. 

As before, the SQ5 is equipped with a performance-oriented suspension tune that drops the ride height by 30mm compared with the standard car and brings six available drive modes: Auto, Comfort, Efficiency, Dynamic, Off-road and Individual. Top-rung Vorsprung trim features a sports differential for torque distribution across the rear axle. 

Inside, the updated SQ5 receives Audi’s latest-generation MMI 10.1in touchscreen, which runs the new MIB 3 infotainment software and can also be controlled using voice commands or buttons on the steering wheel. Vorsprung trim adds a head-up display, Bang & Olufsen sound system, panoramic glass sunroof and electrically adjustable steering wheel. 

Prices begin at £56,600 for the standard SQ5 and rise to £71,750 for the Vorsprung edition. Details of the updated Q5 TFSI e – equipped with a 362bhp petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain – have yet to be revealed.