Driving the Audi SQ5 in Munich
It’s the usual: Comfort – for soft everything; Auto – the car decides what’s best; Individual – you decide if you want the steering on Dynamic and the suspension on Comfort; and Dynamic – everything is set to extreme… well, at least as extreme as Audi’s gentle culture will allow. But in this SQ5, Dynamic also seems to open some flaps in the exhaust pipe. So the deep rumble becomes a wee bit louder and now you get some rasps and burbles along with the soundtrack.
This is the most incredible soundtrack you can hear out of a diesel engine right now. The 6.0-litre V12 in the Q7 sounds very much like a diesel. And while the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel that BMW makes is smooth and pleasant, it doesn’t sound as macabre as the thing under the SQ5’s hood.
The rest of the car? It’s fun without being precise or even feigning precision. With such a mesmerising engine, I did think I might have actually discovered a baby Porsche Cayenne. But as I took the exit on to the autobahn, the SQ5 finally gave in to its Audi genes. Immensely heavy understeer. I was barely doing 50kph, but a sharp turn into the curve that leads to the autobahn produced every single embarrassing screech that is ever possible out of a front axle trying to hold on to a corner. That’s because Audi is among the remaining few big boys who still mount their engines on rather than a bit behind the front axle.