Audi chose the occasion of the Le Mans 24-hour race, where the brand's R18 race cars finished 1-2-3-5 last weekend, to introduce the latest addition to its high-performance S model lineup.
As the new top model in the recently revised Q5 utility vehicle series, the Audi SQ5 TDI is the first S model to be powered by a diesel engine.
It's essentially the same 3.0-litre V-6 used in the A6 TDI Avant, rated at 313 horsepower at 4500 rpm and a stump-pulling 479 lb-ft of torque, over the range from 1450 to 2800 rpm.
Coupled to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, it can accelerate the QS5 from 0-to-100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds, according to Audi estimates. It has a governed top speed of 250 km/h.
But its average fuel consumption (on the Euro cycle) is a penny-pinching 7.2 L/100 km.
Deviating from normal practice, in which a twin-turbo's turbochargers each feed one cylinder bank, in the SQ5 the two are connected in series. The common rail direct injection system develops as much as 2,000 bar of pressure and injects as many as eight shots of fuel into the cylinders per cycle.
The 3.0 TDI biturbo has a sporty exhaust sound that is further modulated by an actuator in the exhaust system – in effect, a loudspeaker, in a short side channel.
The SQ5 is available in just two body colours – Estoril Blue and Panther Black – and the interior features S-exclusive design cues.
With cargo capacity of up to 1,560 litres and a tow rating of up to 2400 kg (5,291 lb), combined with all that torque, the SQ5 has the makings of an excellent tow vehicle.
It will go on sale in European dealerships during the first quarter of 2013, but alas, there are no current plans to offer it for sale in Canada. Pity!