- Post is under moderation/ #2017-Audi-SQ5 / #Audi-SQ5 / #Audi-Q5 / #Audi-SQ5-Typ-80A / #Audi-Q5-Typ-80A
Audi’s sportiest mid-sized SUV has swapped diesel power for petrol. Is it a change for the better?
It is a rare diesel that finds unanimous approval within the walls of evo, and the original SQ5, for all its 479lb ft of torque and associated thundering pace, never quite hit the spot. Customers like diesels though, and Audi sold 62,000 first-gen SQ5s worldwide following its 2012 debut. They made up a high proportion of UK Q5 sales too, which is probably why there always seems to be one sitting six microns from your rear numberplate on the M1.
Diesel is taking a lower profile within the VW Group these days, so it’s not a surprise that a petrol engine is now available in the SQ5 for the first time. In fact it’s currently the only engine choice for the Q5. Specifically, it’s the same turbocharged 3-litre V6 you’ll find in the S4 and S5, with an identical 349bhp and 369lb ft.
While the power output is higher than that of the old SQ5, by 40bhp, the petrol unit develops less twist and consequently isn’t quite as smart off the mark. Crossing the 62mph threshold takes 5.4sec – hardly night and day to the old car’s 5.1sec, but a deficit nevertheless, and down on a Mercedes-AMG GLC43’s 4.9sec too.
The engine is still a class act, pulling from very few revs with a creamy and insistent force all the way to the 6400rpm red line. Thumb the Drive Select switch into Dynamic and throttle response becomes admirably crisp, while changes from the eight-speed Tiptronic auto are intelligent enough that you rarely feel the need to trouble the aluminium-effect paddles behind the steering wheel unless you’re really pressing on.
The silken drivetrain and hushed cabin make the SQ5 a deceptively fast car, just like its diesel predecessor, but therein lie two problems. Firstly, the old diesel offered more of a boot in the kidneys if you were to stand on the throttle at any revs in any gear. And secondly, it all feels a little undramatic. Some will appreciate the SQ5’s refinement, but a more rousing soundtrack and a little less linearity to the power delivery would add more fizz.
Just as the drivetrain is held back by its lack of drama, so the SQ5’s chassis is held back by that old bugbear of Dynamic Steering – an option, but one fitted to our test car. Even in Dynamic mode it’s ultra-light around the straight-ahead, giving an almost nervous feel at speed, with little resistance to work against. You need to wind on a fair degree of lock before any real weighting appears, and feedback fails to make itself known whatever kind of cornering you’re undertaking.
That’s a shame, since there feels like a fundamentally sound chassis underneath the SQ5. Like other recent Audi S models, the SQ5’s balance feels more neutral and adjustable than before. Body roll is kept to a minimum too, without doing too much damage to what feels (on smooth German tarmac, at least) like a pliant ride, one that improves further in Comfort. There’s good grip too, and light work is made of direction changes.
But the SQ5 is not a class-leader. A Porsche Macan S still provides more to entertain the keen driver, and a GLC43 indulges you with a little more character (and noise) for its corresponding lack of Ingolstadthoned polish. Both are cheaper than the Audi, too.
All is not lost, however, as Audi plans to launch another diesel SQ5 in the future. It’s hard not to imagine that eclipsing the petrol in terms of performance, and it should bring about a welcome improvement on the petrol model’s 34mpg combined economy figure, too. And for all our apathy towards diesels, there was something rather appealing about the old SQ5’s gravelly tone and lowdown punch.
‘The silken drivetrain and hushed cabin make the SQ5 a deceptively fast car’
TECHNICAL DATA FILE / Specification / #2017 #Audi SQ5 Typ-80A
Engine V6, 2995cc, turbo
Power 349bhp @ 5400rpm DIN
Torque 369lb ft @ 1370-4500rpm DIN
0-62mph 5.4sec (claimed)
Top speed 155mph (limited)
Weight 1870kg (190bhp/ton)
Basic price £51,200
+ Styling, deceptive pace, fine chassis
- Overly light, feel-free Dynamic Steering; lack of excitement
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BEHIND CLOSED DOORS #Audi-SQ5-Stance / #Audi-Q5-Stanced
3.0 BiTDI SQ5 killing it on 22” rims with lashings of carbon and 570lb ft of torque #Carbon-Clad #Audi SQ5. Built away from the social media limelight and unveiled without warning, Ian Kelly’s impossibly stanced SQ5 is a daily driver with details to die for. Words: Alex Grant. Photos: Si Gray.
As a global melting pot of ideas, a live feed of projects and a route to finding obscure parts, you’d struggle to argue that the scene would be a better place without the internet. But for all the good it’s done, there’s one thing that the rise of forums, social media, and updates on every detail has robbed us of: surprises.
That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a good build thread or finally getting to see the end result in the metal when it rolls into its first event. But those show-stopping projects, patiently and quietly put together out of the digital limelight and unveiled without warning, are becoming a real rarity. Which makes them all the more remarkable when they do happen.
When we first met Ian Kelly back at Ultimate Dubs in #2014 we’d got no idea how he’d managed to keep this one quiet. In six months, he’d turned a box-fresh SQ5 into the talk of the show without even hinting at what he was up to: an impossibly low static drop over 22-inch wheels on a car nobody else had modified to this level in the UK. Impressive not only because the work needed to get it there was more than worthy of a project thread but also because it’s his daily drive.
“I’d only told a handful of people that I’d bought the car,” Ian recalls. “The plan was always to keep it under wraps until it was ready for its first show. That was quite a challenge given I used it daily – especially once it was lowered. It was spotted a few times but nobody knew who the owner was.”
Just under three years later and it’s lost none of its impact, the studio lighting picking out every crease of the carbon-accented, Zaino’d bodywork and two-tone Rotiform DUS wheels. But it’s more than just a one-trick car; the result of 15 years of developing ideas, this might just be the ultimate nu-wave build. Ironically, for someone who’s never gone for project threads, that’s something you don’t fully appreciate without understanding the work that’s got into it.
Even Ian admits it almost never happened. Having moved out of an S3, he’d got far enough down the road of planning a Tiguan build that he’d even bought a Golf R bumper to graft onto it. But the performance, economy and rarity of the e big Audi was too good to pass up. “The key thing about the SQ5 for me was the engine,” he explains. “I wanted big power and torque but without having the fuel bills of a petrol car as my daily commute is 100 miles. Plus the fact the car was so fresh. Apart from the odd Q5 in Japan and the US no one was really modifying them.”
Plans had started coming together before this car had numberplates. Ian is good mates with Paul Brown at C6 Carbon, having worked together on his previous cars, and they’re used to bouncing ideas off each other. For the SQ5 the route ahead was pretty obvious: the biggest drop, with the largest wheels that would fit, and enough carbon fibre to make a Formula One car feel inadequate. But getting there without the backup of other Q5 owners’ shared solutions to problems was never going to be simple.
Even the car itself was a leap of faith. “I’d never even driven a Q5, let alone an SQ5,” Ian says. “Some would say that was pretty risky on such an expensive car but I knew I’d love it. It came from Bath Audi, which is a long way from my home in Newcastle, but the drive back home was fantastic. The exhaust note on the 3.0 #V6 #BiTDI in Dynamic mode is like a screaming petrol V8. I was hooked.”
Ian didn’t make things easy, starting out with a static drop and a need for custom parts to get it as low as the picture in his head. Si Sweetland at StillStatic put him onto Alois Hankover at AH Exclusive parts in Germany to build a 150mm H&R Race Kit for the Audi; the first of its kind, it took two attempts to bring the back end low enough, and caused problems he didn’t notice at first. For example, taking several inches out of the ride height gave it excessive negative camber, lunching a set of tyres in a couple of thousand miles (the same also happens with the A4 and A5). “Everything was very much experimental at that point because nobody else was modifying the SQ5 or Q5,” he says. “I imported a set of 034Motorsport front upper control arms in the hope this would resolve the issue… it didn’t. The kit simply isn’t designed to run on cars as low as mine was, so we had to redesign them and C6 machined a new set to work with our specifications.”
Even this didn’t fix all the problems. Filling the arches with 10.5x22-inch Vossen CV-T wheels highlighted a total lack of clearance, with suspension components hitting the frame on bigger bumps. Getting the ride height where he wanted eventually meant ditching the rear anti- roll bar and making some ‘adjustments’ to free up extra space.
“The front and rear chassis modifications mean we can run the biggest drop of any Q5 or SQ5 to date, and it can drive this low static. The trouble was, having got the ride height how I wanted, it was too low to run daily. I was scuffing the fuel tank, so I had to change to air. People thought I was anti-air as I’d resisted it for so long; I wasn’t, I just hadn’t needed it until that point.” The end result of that two-year trial and error is a setup which Ian reckons is pretty much perfect. Paul at C6 Carbon modified a set of airbags to fit the shortened H&R dampers Alois had built for the car, and the kit is controlled via Air Lift 3P management. He drives it as low as it was when it was static but lifts it over tank- scraping obstacles when needed. Not that it’s finished yet. “We’ve got plans for some more front chassis development,” Ian laughs.
“It just depends when we can fit it all in.” There was, at least, plenty of room to be greedy with wheel sizes. It’s still remembered on the Vossens it was wearing when it broke cover, but they spent only a year on the car before Ian moved on to the set he’d wanted from the start. “I had been a fan of Rotiform from day one and had been chatting to Brian for a while about changing to a set of three-piece wheels,” he says. “They were going to be the main change for the car in 2015 and they were fitted just before MIVW. It totally changed the look of the car, adding more class to it. The centres are painted the same dark black bronze as the Vossens.”
As easy as it is to get wrapped up in that hard-earned stance, it’s only part of this car’s talents. Ian and Paul’s collective eye for detail is woven through every part of the SQ5. For example, they deleted the chrome before Audi offered that as an option and replaced the seat belts and all the stitching with yellow matched to the brake calipers – one of the few bits of colour left on the outside. Both bits you can miss at a glance.
Harder to miss, though, is the acres of carbon fibre. Ian had started working with C6 Carbon when he was building his old S3 but the SQ5 took that carbon skinning obsession to an all-new level. We’re even talking boot hinges, the inside of the armrest, even the end caps of the dashboard – parts that are usually out of sight. Everything got treated the same way, with Paul using a larger weave than usual and rotating the roll 45 degrees which means the weave follows the line of the car instead of being diagonal.
Actually, Paul’s had such a big hand in the project that he’s the only other person who gets to drive it. When it made the trip to MIVW last year with its new RS6-style front bumper, it was Paul who’d fitted it while Ian was on holiday in Ibiza. It had also meant a week of frustration when the new bumper’s paint didn’t match, and a last-minute rush before heading for Valkenburg.
But it seems Paul likes a challenge; so when Ian opted for seamless air tanks for the boot install, there were no corners cut with the layer you can actually see. Paul skinned the tank in a single sheet of carbon fibre – a job which would usually take three pieces. As we said, it’s as much about what you don’t notice at first, as what grabs you at a glance.
Ian’s had his hand in where possible, though, as he explains: “The air install was my first attempt at air and hardlines. It didn’t go to plan first time and after a set of PTC cartridges later and numerous lengths of tube, the air install was finally in. Then the management just wouldn’t fire up. Paul eventually found the issue after chatting to Phil James at the Install Company. Somehow the loom was wired incorrectly from the factory. It’s never easy.”
With 313bhp and 480lb ft of torque, and 62mph out of the way in around five seconds, big performance upgrades were never really on the shopping list. Ian’s swapped to an APR intake and custom DTUK map which takes power up to 370bhp and 570lb ft of torque without denting economy for commuting. He then treated the bay to plenty of matte carbon fibre to bring it in line with the rest of the car.
Which means – even with a two-year-old daughter and a wedding to pay for this year – life shouldn’t get in the way of SQ5 ownership any time soon. Just as well, really, as it almost happened the other way around. Ian’s fiancée Karen went into labour while he was at Edition 38, leaving him frantically shuffling of the showfield before sprinting back to Newcastle to get there in time. Having poured so much effort into the Audi, 2017 is all about the final details rather than big changes – the priorities, for now, are elsewhere.
“It’s great taking it all in when it’s parked-up at shows – I love how complete it is yet how simple. There are so many details that most people miss and that is how I wanted it, and how it should have left the factory.” So it’s part of the family now then? “Karen, my fiancée doesn’t mind it although she does say it’s ‘daddy’s silly car’ to our daughter… read into that what you will,” Ian laughs.
Of course, that’s not stopping him planning further ahead. So, what’s next? “I have a plan for a new car. However, I’m not going to say too much… all will be revealed once the car is ready to show, just like the SQ5,” Ian smiles.
We love this new-wave Audi, not just for what Ian has done to it but because it’s right out of the old-skool – built the way projects used to be before the internet made every nut, bolt and late night public. For that, Ian, we salute you. Now close those garage doors and get building!
“Everything was very much experimental because nobody else was modifying the SQ5 or Q5”
“There are so many details that most people miss and that is how I wanted it”
Dub Details #ARP / #Rotiform / #Audi-SQ5 / #Audi-Q5 / #Audi-SQ5-3.0-BiTDi / #Audi-SQ5-Tuned / #Audi / #Audi-Q5-8R / #Audi-SQ5-8R / #Audi-MLB /
ENGINE: 3.0 BiTdi diesel, #C6-Carbon / #APR-intake , #DTUK-Tuning-Box (370bhp, 774Nm), one-off C6 Carbon strut brace, C6 Carbon slam panel and scuttle panel, one-off C6 Carbon R8 washer bottle cap, R8 coolant cap and oil cap
CHASSIS: 10.5x22” forged #Rotiform-DUS , 265/30 Nankang NS2 tyres, #H&R 150mm #RSS-Race coilovers modified to run airbags on C6 Carbon CNC hardware, Air Lift Performance 3P management, C6 Carbon front upper control arms, C6 Carbon chassis development, rear anti-roll bar deleted
EXTERIOR: #Xenonz-UK RSQ5 front bumper conversion, C6 Carbon grill surround, C6 Carbon crash bar, C6 Carbon side blades, C6 Carbon rear diffuser, exterior trim painted black
INTERIOR: Yellow seat belts and stitching, C6 Carbon dash/door trim, sill trims, seat backs and seat sides, RTA Fabrications #Air-Lift-3P controller holder modified to fit into the ashtray, C6 Carbon air install with Speciality Suspension one-piece seamless tanks, C6 Carbon acrylic/carbon illuminated #Air-Lift manifold plate, C6 Carbon fire extinguisher #Air-Lift-Performance-3P
SHOUT: My fiancée Karen and daughter Grace, my family, my friends, Paul at C6 Carbon, Simon at StillStatic, Alois at AH Exclusive Parts, Brian at Rotiform, Steve and Rod at RA Bodyshop, Simon at Syco Graphix, Matt at Only Charged Dubs, Parm at Car Audio Security, John at Bespoke Leathering, Richard for CAD work, RTA Fabrications, Zeeshan at Xenonz UK Ltd, John at Zaino Europe
The perfect daily? We’re struggling to think of many cars on the road today we would rather have for the daily drive!
There’s just something so badass about slammed SUVs isn’t there? Imagine seeing this in your rear view… GET OUT OF MY WAY!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNEW #Audi-SQ5 UNVEILED Say goodbye to the diesel, as Audi’s hot SUV gets a 3.0 V6 turbo, with 354bhp… / #Audi-Q5 / #Audi / #2017 / #MLB-Evo / #Audi-MLB-evo / #Audi-Q5-FY / #Audi-SQ5-FY
The SQ5 has been a huge success for Audi and the recently unveiled second-generation model looks set to be an even more enticing prospect. The big news is that the diesel engine has been dropped in favour of the 3.0 V6 turbo unit from the S4/S5. That means this mid-sized SUV will produce 354bhp and 500Nm, and be capable of the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.4secs. With plenty of midrange shove, mated to quattro drive, that should make the SQ5 a very rapid machine. Power is delivered via an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox, with Audi drive select modes allowing the driver to tailor the characteristics to their own tastes.
As well as the class leading quattro drive system, a sport differential and active air suspension are both available as options, controlled by the drive select module.
Styling wise, the new A5 architecture is a subtle evolution of the previous model and the SQ5 continues the understated, yet purposeful design language of the original model. The new family grille, which is wider and shallower, blends into the new headlights, while S-specific air intakes help distinguish the SQ5. At the rear, quad tailpipes are built into the lower valance for a very clean look. LED lights with dynamic turn signals are standard. The press shots show a Misano red model with black details, which looks particularly effective. Panther black has been reserved exclusively for the SQ5. The stock model comes with 20in wheels but 21s can be specified in five different designs, as an option. The interior is kitted out with leather/Alcantara seats, an S-multifunction steering wheel with fine Nappa available, as well as a range of attractive inlays.
No word on pricing yet, but the SQ5 should be available from the middle of 2017. We’ll keep you updated.
Subtly aggressive styling is key.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationABT #Audi-SQ5 360bhp Super-Q5 / #ABT #Audi-Super-Q5 / #2016 / #Audi-Q5 / #Audi-SQ5-ABT / #Audi-Q5-ABT /
The first diesel Audi to wear an S badge receives the ABT treatment, taking power to 360hp and 710Nm. Above: Practical, fast and good looking the ABT Super-Q5 has it all. Words Davy Lewis. Photography ABT.
A year ago, if you’d asked me what I thought about an S-model Audi with a diesel engine, I’d have said, “No thanks.” After all, the S models have always been the hot versions with a turbo-four, V6 or V8 petrol lump. They’re designed to appeal to driving enthusiasts; people who care about things like the noise of the engine and the way the power is delivered.
Then I drove an SQ5 and changed my mind. Although the Q5 is a great car in its own right, the SQ5 takes things to another level. With a powerful 3.0 Bi-TDI V6 engine, it’s a bit of a monster, kicking out a very healthy 313hp and 649Nm from the factory. With plenty of S extras, including revised suspension, exterior and interior upgrades, it offers rapid real world performance, all wrapped up in a highly practical and good looking package.
But with so much latent potential in that #Audi 3.0 Bi-TDI engine, it’d be a shame not to liberate a bit more power. This is where ABT comes in. Their latest package for the SQ5 – the aptly named Super-Q5 – has been carefully developed to deliver more power and torque – without affecting your warranty. The ABT Power ‘New Generation’ tuning system increases the various parameters, including fuelling and boost, to imbue the SUV with strong figures. Namely 360hp (365hp for the SQ5 Plus) along with a solid 710Nm of torque. To put that into perspective, a B8 S5 makes 440Nm, while a C7 RS6 produces 700Nm in stock trim. The Super-Q5 trumps both of these powerful and well respected RS models.
ABT claims the SQ5 will hit 60mph, from rest, in under five-seconds, which is pretty rapid for such a big vehicle. A top speed of 162mph is also impressive for something so large. Mated to the 7-speed tiptronic box, it makes for the kind of easy to use firepower that’ll surprise a lot of supposedly faster cars.
The 3.0 V6 also makes a decent noise considering its diesel configuration. Certainly compared with a 2.0 TDI unit, the sound is far meatier and you can really hear the V6 in action. With a performance exhaust, these things really can sound impressive at full chat.
ABT has then added the usual refinements to further enhance the desirability of the SQ5. The most notable of which is the wheels. Being a relatively big vehicle, the SQ needs something impressive to fill the arches. Wheels available are the CR, DR, ER-C and FR in 9x20, 9.5x21in and monstrous 10x22in diameters, and in a range of different colours. To make the most of the new alloys, wheel spacers can be ordered from 30 to 70mm for that nicely stanced look. With ABT height adjustable springs, the SQ5 can be lowered up to 30mm at the front and up to 35mm to the rear giving a more sporty ride – as well as better aesthetics.
An aero package is also available for the SQ5, which is made from the same high quality PU that Audi use for their OEM parts. As ever, it’s fairly subtle and just enough to enhance the looks without derogating from Ingolstadt’s original lines. There’s a new front splitter and grille, door strip attachments and a rear wing, which all add some muscle to the SQ’s lines. A wide arch kit is also available for those wanting the ultimate, broad shouldered look.
The package will of course fit the recently launched SQ5 Plus, although power is slightly up with 365hp. As with all ABT packages, the Super-Q5 kit is all very high quality and would make a desirable addition to any SQ5. As a rapid, comfortable and easy to live with daily driver, that also has plenty of room inside, it really does take some beating.
Top: Wider arches are an option if you want to add some muscle to the SQ5.
SPECIFICATION ABT Super-Q5
3.0 #Bi-TDI , #ABT-Power ‘New Generation’ tuning system
Transmission 7-speed tiptronic
Suspension ABT height adjustable sports springs -30mm front, -35mm rear
Wheels and Tyres 9x21in ABT alloys with Continental tyres
Exterior ABT aero package comprising front lower splitter, grille, door mouldings, rear wing, optional wider arches
Interior Full SQ5 spec with ABT mats
Tuning contacts / ABT UK www.richtersport.co.uk
“ABT claims the SQ5 will hit 60mph from rest in under 5secs...”
Top left: 3.0 Bi-TDI V6 kicks out 360hp and 710Nm. Above: 22in wheels are available. Left: Interior is stock SQ5, which is no bad thing.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.