The Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI at a glance
Late party guest
They are the culmination of the most successful vehicle type in modern automobile construction: SUV coupés. Also known as crossover coupes. For many, however, they are simply lifestyle vices. Because to create an even more niche product from a niche that is owed to the zeitgeist per se is still nicely described as lifestyle.
In Ingolstadt they were at the party a little later, but now they also have an upper middle-class high-rise coupé on offer – even with a particularly powerful diesel engine. And while the latter is particularly astonishing with a view to Audi’s strategic orientation, it actually convinced us after 14 days in the test. Even at the gas pump.
The Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI is a show star with real talents
Visually, our Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI (combined fuel consumption: 8.5-8.1 l / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 223-212 g / km²) pulls out all the stops. Bright orange metallic alternates with elegant, but optional high-gloss black elements. Of course, the most powerful S-model can present itself particularly dynamically with hexagonal radiator grilles. With the chrome-plated four-pipe exhaust, whose covers are proverbial blenders in the good, younger Audi tradition, anyone can immediately identify it as the alpha of the series. Anyone who orders the high-sheen 21-inch wheels with red Audi Sport logos, which are subject to a surcharge, also removes any remaining doubts about their own automotive status.
In the interior, the insignia of power are distributed more subtly. Embossed logos on the fine leather sports seats, plus the obligatory diamond quilting. The package of carbon interior trim is of course nice to look at, but you should weigh up the surcharge carefully. The Bang & Olufsen sound system is beyond any doubt. Depending on the choice of title, it can play powerfully, but also knows how to resolve fine tones in great detail.
The new generation of infotainment is not free from weaknesses
The combination of a large navigation screen and digital cockpit also offers crystal-clear resolution. But doing without the tried and tested MMI rotary push button and switching to purely touch-based operation is not always a win. You can learn how to use the menu structure quickly, and the proper voice control also helps here, but the accuracy is significantly lower than with the old control unit, especially on poor road surfaces.
In the case of the “low” topic, the transition to the space available is a good idea. Because following the Sportback nature, the Q5 Coupé also saves from the B-pillar at the roof height to enable a more elegant rear outlet. But inside the room remains surprisingly generous. Especially if – as in the test car – you do without a glass roof, the rear of the Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI also offers enough space for adults. The same applies to the trunk, the volume of which, from 500 liters to the load compartment cover, is almost exactly the size of its conventional brother.
Not only loadmaster, but also loadmaster
However, the primary purpose of an S-Audis is not designed for maximum loading volume, but for maximum “loading volume”. The three-liter V6, which has been recently revised in detail, has two of them; an exhaust gas turbine and an electrically driven compressor for particularly rapid pressure build-up. What sounds good in theory does not always have the desired effect in practice. Because especially the Euro 6d ISC-FCM AP emissions standard pulls the teeth of the SQ5 TDI from the low revs.
Where it used to be possible to inject powerfully to boost the torque, today you have to pay close attention to the exhaust gas values. Incidentally, with the SCR twin dosing exhaust gas purification, Audi doesn’t let anything get burnt here and delivers one of the cleanest diesels on the market. The small moment of memory of the engine comes to light especially with dynamic driving style, because above all the irrepressible power that the 251 kW / 341 PS strong engine develops around the top, makes its start from the speed basement appear somewhat weak.
Sovereignty on the long haul is his absolute trump card
But once you are on the move, this fact is hardly of any consequence. Instead, it is replaced by an absolute sovereignty. Because the 700 Newton meters that the three-liter TDI distributes over a wide area to all four wheels, throw the orange SUV coupé forward at any time. The sprint time of a good five seconds to 100 km / h seems realistic and on the autobahn there are hardly any faster road users on this side of real sports cars.
And truly, the Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI is at home on the autobahn. The interaction between the powerful and yet very economical engine (test consumption: 8.7 l / 100 km) and the optional air suspension is absolutely remarkable. Despite the gigantic 21-inch rims, the Sportback rolls easily and smoothly and finds the right damper hardness in every situation. If you want, you can put together your preferred setup in the menu. We were very satisfied with the suspension on “Comfort” and the drive on “Dynamic”.
Because here you can enjoy the full potential of the drive at all times, but remain on the comfortable side when it comes to steering and chassis. You basically take away the show star’s airs and instead rely fully on his real talents.
The Audi SQ5 Sportback TDI is a car that was born out of the zeitgeist. But behind the lifestyle facade is not just an inflated high-rise coupé, the Ingolstadt-based man impresses with its internal and technical values. The diesel engine, believed to be dead, can once again deliver a more than impressive performance, its 341 hp and 700 Nm are always a source of driving pleasure. At the petrol pump, the Audi driver does not expect any nasty surprises either, as a brisk average of 8.7 liters per 100 kilometers proves. (Text and image: Fabian Mechtel)