Vijay Pattni18 June 2012

Audi SQ5 revealed at Le Mans

As the R18 Hybrid takes the crown at La Sarthe, meet the diesel-flavoured sports SUV

When we tested the Audi A6 BiTurbo last year, a flicker of astonishment shelved our innate distrust of diesel-power. A 3.0-litre twin-turbo capable of propelling the A6 from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds? Madness!

And thus, Audi has deemed it prudent to fit this rather delectable oil-burner into the Q5, packaged with something else rather momentous sewn onto its rump: a little ‘S' badge. Sense that minor shockwave? That's because this is the first ever diesel-powered Audi ‘S' model in the history of the four rings. Take note.

Gallery: the new Audi SQ5

Unveiled at Le Mans - where, incidentally, a diesel-electric Audi R18 thundered to a win - this new SQ5 delivers that Teutonic sledgehammer of 310bhp and 479lb ft of torque (between 1,450rpm and 2,800rpm) to the quattro system via an eight-speed auto ‘box. Get all the buttons sellotaped in the appropriately sporty settings - and mash the accelerator - and you'll experience 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.

Oh, and Audi promises some aural fireworks too, thanks to a "specially developed sound actuator in the exhaust system", which you can listen to in the video below. Suffice to say, it's doesn't sound like a diesel. It sounds... fruity. Deeply fruity.

The SQ5 sits 30mm lower than its non-S stablemates on 20in wheels, and you'll also noticed the new platinum grey single frame grille, roof spoiler, modified bumpers, aluminium-look mirrors and a complement of S-orientated stuff inside; sports seats, plush trim, aluminium pedals, S-badging on the sills, etc.

And yet, despite its obvious sporting bent, Audi reckons it'll return 39mpg. A few caveats to achieving this may apply, mind. It'll be available to order in October 2012, with a starting price of around £45,000, and first deliveries are expected in Spring 2013.

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