Audi has dropped the 3.0 litre TDI engine from its European SQ5 model as it uncovers the next- generation model at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. North American SQ5s have always had TFSI V6 petrol power, but now it appears all markets will receive an updated version of the 3.0 litre petrol motor already seen in the latest hot Audi S4 and S5 models.
The first ever Audi Q model to bear the ‘S’ badge adopts V6 TFSI power for the first time in the UK. Delivering 354PS and a peak 500Nm of torque across a wide range, the 5.4-second, 155mph SUV is expected to become available to order at the end of this month, ahead of initial deliveries in summer.A new combustion process developed by Audi makes the 3.0 TFSI particularly efficient, enabling it to return up to 34mpg combined in the NEDC – a CO2 equivalent of 189 grams per km. It is based on the so-called “B cycle” process in combination with high-pressure injectors centrally located in the combustion chambers. With its artificially shortened compression phase, the B cycle enables an engine process with a significantly higher base compression ratio. Combined with a power stroke that, while normal, is longer relative to the compression stroke, this allows for more efficient combustion and increased engine efficiency.
Under part load, the Audi valvelift system enables a very short intake aperture duration of 130 degrees of camshaft angle coupled with the early closure of the intake valve. This shortens the intake phase. At higher loads, the system switches to a camshaft contour with a longer opening time and a larger valve stroke. The engine then operates with a normal compression ratio and maximum throughput.
The turbocharger, which replaces the mechanical compressor of the previous engine installed in the S4 and S5 predecessor, operates according to the twin-scroll principle. The exhaust branches of the two cylinder banks run separately in the exhaust manifold and in the turbocharger housing, and only merge before the turbine wheel. This technology improves the flow characteristics for more spontaneous turbine response, and is key factor behind the early and powerful development of torque.
The turbocharger is located within the 90-degree V of the cylinder banks. Accordingly, the exhaust side is on the inner side of the cylinder heads and the air intake on the outer side. This arrangement enables compact construction and short gas flow paths with minimal flow losses, thus the 3.0 TFSI responds extremely spontaneously and directly.
The V6 TFSI engine weighs just 172 kilograms and thus 14 kilograms less than the previous supercharged engine. Made with an aluminium alloy using the complex sand casting process, the cylinder crankcase features integrated, thin-walled cylinder liners of grey cast iron. In combination with the newly developed rings for the aluminium pistons, this reduces friction.
The crankcase and the cylinder head have separate coolant circuits. After a cold start, the switchable water pump controls the flow of coolant through the engine so that the oil comes up to its operating temperature as quickly as possible. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and bathed in coolant. This helps the engine to heat up quickly. When the engine is warm, the system reduces the exhaust temperature. The result is lower fuel consumption, particularly when under higher load.
A fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic transmission transmits the power in the new Audi SQ5. The lower gears feature short ratios, while the upper gears are long to reduce revs and fuel consumption. Provided that the function is activated in Audi drive select, the transmission automatically switches to freewheeling mode as soon as the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator at speeds between 34mph and 99mph for even greater fuel efficiency.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive contributes to the balanced handling. During normal driving, it distributes the engine power with a slight rear-axle bias. When necessary, the lion’s share of the power is sent to the axle with the better traction. Wheel-selective torque control is active on all types of surfaces. During dynamic cornering, the software function slightly brakes the inside wheels. The car turns itself into the curve ever so slightly. Turn-in behaviour remains neutral longer, and handling is stable, precise and agile.
The optional sport differential further optimises handling by actively distributing torque between the rear wheels via two superposition stages. It sends more torque to the outside rear wheel when accelerating out of particularly tight radii, making the Audi SQ5 even more agile. The sport differential literally pushes the car into the curve, nipping understeer in the bud. Its management is integrated into the Audi drive select control system, and it runs over a central control unit, the electronic chassis platform.
A five-link suspension front and rear lays the foundation for the compelling driving characteristics of the new Audi SQ5. The complex design provides for greater stability at the limit and combines increased agility with significantly improved comfort. The standard damper control features a particularly wide spread between comfort and dynamic.
The adaptive CDC dampers (continuous damping control) are integrated into the Audi drive select system along with the engine, steering, tiptronic and optional sport differential. This lets the driver control the characteristics of the engine and suspension over several modes. The S-specific adaptive air suspension is available as an option. This system allows the driver to adapt not just the damping, but also the ride height to the respective driving situation.
The new electromechanical power steering with S-specific tuning is an important contributor to the driving dynamics of the SQ5. Optionally available is the dynamic steering, which varies its gear ratio depending on the speed and steering angle.
255/45-series tyres are mounted on the standard 20-inch, cast aluminium wheels. 21-inch wheels are available as an option. Audi Sport offers exclusive 21-inch wheels for further differentiation. Up front the SQ5 sports black (optionally red), six-piston, fixed-caliper brakes with an S logo and 350mm discs.
The new Audi SQ5 also picks up the driver assistance systems from the broad, high-tech portfolio of the Audi Q5.The predictive efficiency assistant provides specific driving tips to helps the driver save fuel. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) including traffic jam assist can handle some of the steering work in slow-moving traffic. Audi active lane assist makes it easier to stay in lane. Distance warning alerts the driver when the distance to a vehicle drops below a safe distance.
Cross traffic assist rear, the exit warning system, collision avoidance assist and turn assist are other new features for safety in everyday traffic. The same is true for the pre-sense systems: Audi pre sense city is standard. The system warns the driver about pedestrians and vehicles, and initiates automatic emergency braking within system limits. Park assist, the camera-based recognition of traffic signs and hill descent control round out the features.
Infotainment and Audi connect
As standard, the SQ5 TFSI is fitted with the top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus infotainment system with MMI all-in-touch and an 8.3-inch display. The system recognises handwritten input as well as touch gestures familiar from consumer electronics, such as zoom. It also provides haptic feedback to input. One element is Audi connect, which connects the new SQ5 to the internet via LTE. Audi connect enables convenient roaming in Europe for many connected infotainment services with its permanently installed SIM card – the Audi connect SIM with a flat data rate. Users can also book data packages for the Wi-Fi hotspot, which also include EU roaming.
With the package “Audi connect safety & service including security & convenience” the SQ5 also offers Car2X services. In the event of an accident or breakdown, customers in an appropriately equipped vehicle receive help automatically or at the push of a button via the emergency call and online roadside assistance services.
Furthermore, the vehicle security & convenience services enable users to easily lock and unlock the SQ5 via the MMI connect app on their smartphones. Customers can also check vehicle’s status and use additional services such as Car Finder and information about the next service appointments or warning messages.
The MMI operating logic is based on the flat hierarchies used in today’s smartphones, and it offers such features as intelligent free-text search. The natural-language voice control function also recognises inputs from everyday speech.
Serving as an additional third operating level in the new Audi SQ5 is the leather-covered multifunction steering wheel. Audi can deliver a newly developed head-up display as an option. It projects relevant information onto the windshield – including from driver assistance systems – as symbols and numbers that can be perceived quickly.
One highlight of the display and control concept is the optional Audi virtual cockpit. It displays all key information in razor-sharp graphics on its 12.3-inch monitor. Views available to the driver include an S-specific sport mode centred around the rev counter.
The Audi phone box, another optional feature, connects the smartphone to the on-board antenna by near-field coupling and simultaneously charges it inductively using the Qi standard. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System with new 3D sound is available for hi-fi fans. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the car.
The new Audi SQ5 is 4,671 mm long, 1,893 mm wide and 1,635 mm tall. The wheelbase is 2,824 mm. The SQ5 has a kerb weight of 1,995 kilograms, 35 kilograms less than its predecessor. The body features an intelligent material mix of aluminium and extremely high-tensile-strength steels.
Even when stationary, an array of details underlines the dynamic characteristics of the new Audi SQ5. The bumpers up front and in the rear are complemented by more strongly contoured, S-specific air inlets and the diffuser with a honeycomb grille. Another S-specific feature is the radiator grille with double aluminium slats and contrasting trim elements in matt twilight grey. The S logo with red rhombus is used in numerous locations to set additional accents.
LED technology is standard for all lighting functions. The dynamic indicators ensure a high recognition factor. In profile, aluminium-look exterior mirrors gleam and door trim strips finished in the body colour underscore the model’s exclusivity. The rear bumper houses the S-specific twin exhaust tailpipes of the dual-branch exhaust system and an aluminium diffuser clasp. The exterior colour panther black is also reserved exclusively for the new Audi SQ5.
The dark-toned interior welcomes the driver and passengers with illuminated door sills bearing exclusive S logos. Contrasting stitching on the leather steering wheel and sport seats create a dynamic and elegant ambiance. The S sport seats are upholstered in fine Nappa leather with diamond pattern and a pneumatic massage function. Brushed aluminium inlays are standard, with a variety of wood applications and an exclusive carbon inlay available as options. Aluminium-look shift paddles enable the driver to quickly shift the tiptronic’s gears. The pedals and footrest are finished in stainless steel.
The rear seat bench plus in the new Audi SQ5 is split into three segments. Longitudinal and seat back angle adjustment are optional. Depending on the position of the rear seat bench, the luggage compartment has a standard capacity of 500 to 610 litres. When the rear bench is folded down, this volume grows to 1,550 litres.
In addition to its 20-inch, cast aluminium wheels in a 5-twin-spoke star design, LED headlights and privacy glass with acoustic glazing for the front windows, the SQ5 TFSI is also equipped as standard with S-specific damper control, high beam assist and fine Nappa leather upholstered electric seats. Naturally, the eight-speed tiptronic is mated to quattro permanent all-wheel drive.