It’s got the gear for fun behind the wheel, plus drive modes for comfortable cruising and off-road adventures

Audi began making the Q5 compact luxury crossover in 2008, first unveiling the production model at the Beijing Auto Show that same year. Initially offered with a 2.0-liter TFSI, 2.0-liter TDI, and 3.0-liter TDI powerplant, the Q5 got a facelift in 2012, at which time the engine lineup was greatly expanded. A year later, Audi introduced the SQ5 performance variant. Engine options included a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 diesel, making the SQ5 TDI the first Audi S model to offer an oil burner, as well as a boosted 3.0-liter gas engine. Now, following the release of the second-gen Q5 at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Audi has introduced the second-gen SQ5 at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The updated fun-to-drive luxury crossover enters the 2018 model year with higher performance hopes thanks to new adaptive air suspension, as well as a smattering of extra peak power from a new turbo V-6. The styling was also updated, while a slew of available driver’s assist features and modern infotainment round out the changeover.

Let’s talk about what’s under the hood first. Replacing the outgoing 3.0-liter TFSI is a different, “all-new” 3.0-liter TFSI. With direct injection and a turbo strapped on, the new powerplant makes 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, besting the old engine by 5 horsepower and 23 pound-feet, respectively. While five ponies isn’t exactly something the write home about, the extra torque produced low in the rpm band should make a notable impact when it comes to driving dynamics. As before, an eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox handles the cogs, while standard quattro AWD makes the traction.

To put the torque to better use, Audi also updated the suspension at both ends. Under the nose is a new five-link set-up, featuring lightweight construction and more precise inputs. The steering can be also be optioned with a dynamic ratio, which will either vary the steering quickness based on speed (higher speeds equal a slower ratio, lower speeds have a quicker ratio), or based on driver-selectable settings.

Enthusiasts looking to max their Audi’s fun factor should investigate the available S sport package. This option throws on a new rear differential specifically designed for sporty driving, with active torque distribution that can send nearly all available rear torque to one side or the other, making for a more engaging experience behind the wheel. And, for the first time ever on the SQ5, 2018 models with the S sport package will come equipped with a new sport adaptive air suspension system.

Read on for all the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Audi SQ5.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5

Sport Adaptive Air Suspension

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension Drivetrain
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Probably the biggest news in this generational changeover is the available adaptive air suspension. As a replacement for the standard adaptive suspension components, the air ride system can quickly and easily adjust the ride height by as much as 30 mm (1.18 inches). That means you get a lower and meaner height for aggressive driving, or, if so inclined, a higher stance for off-roading. The air suspension can also adjust the damper firmness, as controlled by the standard Audi drive select system. Available settings include “Comfort,” “Auto,” “Dynamic,” and “Individual,” all of which should be pretty self-explanatory.

Tweaked Styling

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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As far as aesthetics are concerned, the SQ5 is more or less visually identical to the standard issue Q5 that was just revealed in Paris a few months back. That means you get the characteristic Q language roundness, plus a wavy shoulder line that plumps up the fenders a bit. Up top is a coupe-like roofline. In front is the dominating Singleframe grille, finished in platinum gray with aluminum-colored horizontal slats. More aluminum colorization is used for the side-view mirrors, while the 3D headlights utilize LEDs for illumination. More LEDs are used for the taillights.

A Larger Cabin Space And The Latest Infotainment

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Interior
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Inside, you’ll find an easily recognizable layout, with simplified controls (read – fewer hard buttons) and a prominent display high and center on the dash. The front seats get nice side bolsters, as well as available diamond stitching for the upholstery, while trim materials include brushed aluminum and available carbon fiber. More importantly, there’s more space on the rear bench, with both leg and shoulder room now expanded. The rear cargo area is also bigger when the second row is folded down flat.

Infotainment controls use MMI touch technology and handwriting recognition. Bang & Olufsen provide the tunes with 3D sound capability, while smartphone support includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Behind the steering wheel is the available Audi virtual cockpit, the brand’s digital gauge offering, which also gets a special “sport” display setting that expands the tachometer and speedometer, while adding a boost gauge and lap timer. Google Earth assists in navigation, and there’s 4G LTE connectivity.

Looking Forward With Driver’s Assists

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension Drivetrain
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Finally, no modern luxury mobile would be complete without a few autonomous features thrown into the mix. For the 2016 SQ5, Audi pre sense city comes as standard, which includes automatic emergency braking when detecting a potential collision with vehicles and pedestrians at speeds up to 52 mph. There’s also standard Audi side assist (basically blind spot monitoring), rear cross traffic assist, and pre sense rear for backside collision detection. Optional features include adaptive cruise control with an automatic stop and go feature, which will apply the brakes and throttle in heavy traffic situations at speeds up to 40 mph. It’ll even assist with the steering.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension Drivetrain
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Drivetrain Specifications

Engine 3.0-liter TFSI® V-6
Horsepower 354 HP
Torque 369 LB-FT @ 1,370 – 4,500 RPM
Transmission eight-speed tiptronic
0 to 60 mph 5.0 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Drive type Quattro AWD
Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension Exterior
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Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 111.2
Length (Inches) 183.9
Height (Inches) 64.4
Width (Inches) 74.5

Press Release

With increased power, a new turbocharged V6 engine and a more progressive, sporty design, the all-new Audi SQ5 makes its global debut at the North American International Auto Show. New for 2018, the second-generation SQ5 offers a full suite of available driver assistance systems and advanced infotainment features, combined with a dynamic driving experience, to set a new standard in the luxury performance crossover segment.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi SQ5

Featuring an all-new 3.0-liter TFSI® V6 engine, the Audi SQ5 produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, between a broad 1370 – 4500 rpm range. The eight-speed tiptronic® transmission is well suited for the low-end torque of the turbocharged V6 and its eight gears provide quick, smooth shifts.

Every Audi SQ5 is standard-equipped with quattro® all-wheel drive, offering high-precision and dynamic handling through active torque distribution to both axles. As part of the available S sport package, the SQ5 with quattro® sport rear differential can offer an even more dynamic driving experience by actively splitting torque between the wheels of the rear axle, with the ability to direct nearly all torque to one wheel, helping maximize driving dynamics.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION

For 2018, a newly developed front and rear suspension allows for both a sporty driving experience and more comfortable ride for long distances. The new front five-link suspension with lightweight construction offers greater steering precision and excellent handling through optimized steering-rack placement direct at wheel centers.

The available S sport package also includes, for the first time on the SQ5, a sport adaptive air suspension, which lowers vehicle height by 30 mm (when in auto mode) compared to the standard adaptive suspension. The air suspension system allows for adjustment of both the ride height and the firmness of the dampers, and is controllable via the standard Audi drive select.

Along with the standard four drive select modes – comfort, auto, dynamic and individual – the available sport adaptive air suspension also adds both an allroad and a lift/offroad mode, which raise the air suspension for increased ground clearance when needed.

Also available on 2018 SQ5 models is dynamic steering, which offers a variable steering ratio that adjusts based on vehicle speed and the Audi drive select setting. At higher driving speeds, dynamic steering helps to improve straight-line stability, and at lower driving speeds, a more direct steering ratio is utilized to help increase steering response for easy maneuvering.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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DESIGN

The 2018 SQ5 mirrors the Q5’s distinctive Audi “Q” SUV design language, with a flat, coupe-like roof line coupled with a strong, wave-design shoulder line and pronounced wheel arches which emphasize the standard quattro® all-wheel drive.

The SQ5 is characteristically recognized by its sporty design differentiators including a platinum gray Singleframe® grille with aluminum optic double horizontal blade bars, aluminum optic exterior side mirrors, and S model rear roof spoiler. Sculpted, three-dimensional LED headlights flow in harmony with the clamshell hood to the wider horizontal rear of the vehicle and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals.

The interior offers improved space compared to the previous generation, with more rear legroom and shoulder room, as well as increased cargo capacity with the second row seats folded down. The SQ5 is also standard equipped with a three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel, sport front seats with available diamond stitching, standard matte brushed aluminum inlays or available carbon atlas inlays and standard stainless steel door sill inlays with S badging. The asymmetrical center console of the interior creates a driver-focused cockpit while a small number of controls with expanded functionality helps bring a greater ease of operation into the SQ5.

Audi Adds More Fast To The SQ5 With Extra Torque, New Air Suspension High Resolution Interior
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INFOTAINMENT & DRIVER ASSISTANCE

The new SQ5 also offers advanced infotainment options including MMI® touch® with handwriting-recognition technology, Bang & Olufsen® sound system with 3D sound and standard Audi smartphone interface, which provides Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto integration. Also available is the Audi virtual cockpit, which helps make viewing and navigating via the large Google Earth™ images supported with 4G LTE (where available) easier on the driver’s eyes. Unique to SQ5, the virtual cockpit features a “sport” display mode, which brings the tachometer and speedometer to the front and center of the display and adds a boost gauge and lap timer. Also available is a full-color head-up display which projects relevant driving information directly in the driver’s field of vision.

In addition to infotainment and connectivity features, the SQ5’s advanced driver assistance systems are designed to help drivers navigate the road and traffic with increased confidence. Standard Audi pre sense® city, an automatic emergency braking system, can help detect stationary vehicles and pedestrians, and if necessary, initiate full braking at speeds of up to 52 mph when a potential collision is detected. Standard Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housing and includes rear cross traffic assist, which supports the driver when reversing out of perpendicular space, and pre sense rear which helps monitor the traffic following the vehicle.

Also available is adaptive cruise control with stop & go automatically maintains distance from the vehicle in front, including braking and accelerating. Between 0-40 mph, traffic jam assist combines acceleration, braking and steering guidance, which can help decrease the stress of driving in congested traffic.

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