Audi’s Q series, that would be their line of SUVs, has an S sub-brand that focuses on more performance oriented options. Their latest, the 2018 Audi SQ5, just took it’s debut bow at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.
The Q series breaks down into three models: The Q3, the Q5, and the Q7. Essentially, that comes across as “small, medium, and large.” Right now, we’ll be looking at the sporty version of the Q5, the SQ5.
The 2018 SQ5 is motivated by an all-new, 3.0-liter TFSI V6 engine, cranking out 354 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The torque curve is particularly broad-shouldered, producing all that grunt from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm. Said power and torque is put to the pavement via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission that Audi says “is well suited for the low-end torque of the turbocharged V6.”
Naturally, the Audi SQ5, like all Audis, is standard-equipped with quattro all-wheel drive.
The 2018 Audi SQ5 has a newly developed front and rear suspension. The new front five-link suspension is lightweight and said to offer greater steering precision and exceptional handling. Audi engineered the placement and performance of the steering-rack accordingly.
The SQ5 sport package also includes, for the first time on the model, an adaptive air suspension. The air suspension system can lower the vehicle height by 30 mm compared to the standard adaptive suspension. This air suspension system allows for the adjustments of both the ride height and the firmness of the dampers (shocks, as we call them in America) and is controlled via the Audi drive select.
Drive Modes & Steering
The Audi drive select has four modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual. If you opt for the available sport adaptive air suspension, you can also choose from an allroad and a lift/offroad mode. The allroad and lift/offroad modes raise the air suspension for increased ground clearance when needed.
Say, dealing with berms while heading up for a ski weekend.
Audi has also tweaked the aforementioned steering on 2018 SQ5. A dynamic steering package is available, which offers a variable steering ratio that adjusts based on vehicle speed and the Audi drive select setting. So at higher driving speeds, the system improves straight-line stability, while at lower driving speeds, there is a more direct steering ratio. This helps increase steering response for easy maneuvering.
In other words, parking is made a lot easier while still retaining great highway manners.
So the SQ5 hits the Goldilocks zone in a rather nice and sporting way. Not too big. Not too small. And it can go, turn, and stop better than your average SUV. We thought it was a nice addition to the North American International Auto Show.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.