Vijay Pattni11 July 2012

First drive: Audi SQ5

This is Audi’s first ever ‘S’-badged diesel model. School-run mums, rejoice!

Audi SQ5

You're a moron.

Probably, but how so?

You've referenced an Audi ‘S' in the same line as 'diesel'.

And?

You can't get a diesel 'S' model Audi.

Oh yes you can. This, you cynical, invisible questioner, is the first ever diesel powered 'S' model Audi.

Is this the dawn of the apolcalypse, then? Diesel-performance cars?

Not really, you luddite. The Audi Q5 has consistently outsold its rivals and will shift a load of these in this spec. And anyway, BMW has already started with its diesel M performance line and the fabulous M550d.

Gallery: Audi reveals new SQ5

I'm not convinced.

How does 313bhp and 479lb ft of torque from a lovely twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre V6 convince you? It'll top out at 155mph and, get this: 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds.

Wow. That's quicker than...

Yes, something like a Porsche Boxster S.

What's it like?

When we tried it in the A6, it was good. In this, they've added a sound actuator in the exhaust and piped in the noise to the cabin. At low revs, and this is no lie, it sounds like a muscle car. Also, it's really quick; far quicker than you need in a car like this; tonnes of pace, making overtaking farming machinery or doddery superminis a breeze, rather than a chore. Runs out of steam a bit early mind, so better to utilise that torque band (between 1,450 to 2,800rpm).

Why so powerful? Only a lunatic would want to drive an SUV like a sportscar?

Well, there's loads of grip, body roll isn't too bad (considering you're in an SUV), and the steering - at least in ‘dynamic' mode - feels really meaty, chunky and heavy.

But?

There's not much feel. And it's too artificial. And it's all very effortless. And unexciting. And... Audi-ish. Surely an 'S' should add some excitement? The chassis is competent, just not very communicative. Hairy-fisted enthusiasts might be disappointed.

Anything else?

The new Q5 range gets a lovely new 2.0 TFSI petrol with 225bhp and 258lb ft of torque; it's a zingy, feisty little thing that's happy to be thrashed. You must thrash it. There are also some styling upgrades on the outside, and that interior is, as you would expect, magnificent, and as well built as a German submarine.

That sounds ominous.

It's not. For the most part, it's a big gentle elephant, happily chuntering along until you require expediency; then, it's got genuine pace. Only thing is, if Land Rover brought out a hot Evoque, would you care about this car? The answer is no, you wouldn't.

How much will it cost me?

£43,015, available October 2012

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