The whole purpose of an SUV defies outright performance, doesn't it? It sits high off the ground, is tall and is supposed to be torquey and lug loads, not tear race tracks apart. But, over the years, it's the Germans who've managed to prove us wrong. Mercedes-AMG shoehorned the orchestral V8 into the engine bays of everyday luxo SUVs giving us some seriously quick (and mostly frightening) machines. Audi however, hasn't strayed to the other side of the pond too often.
Well, looks like they've found a boat. After introducing the performance-spec Q7 - the SQ7 TDI, Audi has taken wraps off its younger sibling - the SQ5 TFSI. What's interesting to note, is that the first SQ5 petrol debuted at the Detroit Motor Show as well, back in 2013. Obviously, this hopped-up SUV is based on the new generation Q5 that was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show late last year.
The SQ5 looks just like its everyday sibling, save for a bit of garnishing inside out. What's different? Just the standard 'S' fare, that includes a set of aggressive bumpers with pronounced air inlets, brushed aluminium mirror caps and honeycomb detailing on the diffuser. The SQ5 trades all the chrome for a stealthy 'matte twilight gray'. Then there are those lovely 20-inch wheels, which we must admit looks the business!
Step inside, and it makes its sporty intentions amply clear. The posh-looking beige-laced interior now wears a dark theme. The seats are the bucket variety (draped in Alcantara/Leather or Nappa Leather), with contrast stitching that matches the ones on the leather-wrapped steering. Inlays are now brushed aluminium, and there's an option of speccing it with carbon fibre as well. The usual Audi goodies, such as an 8.3-inch display for the infotainment and the 12.3-inch TFT 'Virtual Cockpit' instrument cluster find their place on the SQ5.
Little details apart, it is as practical as the standard Q5. It gets a massive 610-litre boot which can be extended to 1550-litres by folding the rear seat away. And, just in case you get tired driving the SQ5, the seats have a pneumatic massage function too.
That said, we don't think you'd be tired of driving one. The 3.0-litre V6 engine, has more than enough go-power to keep you entertained for a long time. The turbocharged motor is good for 354PS and 500Nm, that gives it a 0-100kmph of 5.4 seconds and an electronically-limited top whack of 250kmph. All the goodies that help you stay in check and drive faster, such as adaptive air suspension, dynamic steering and the sport differential are on offer too.
Audi India could look at introducing the SQ5 to take on the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe. That should make for an interesting battle, don't you think?