The 2018 Audi SQ5 looks mean and switches to turbo power

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Audi's huge Q8 wasn't the only crossover introduced by the German automaker at this year's Detroit Auto Show. Right alongside it came the 2018 SQ5, the brand's high-performance midsize crossover. This newest version ditches the previous generation's supercharger in favor of a turbo for its 3.0-liter V6. The powertrain is similar to the one used in the latest S4 and S5.

Horsepower remains unchanged compared to the last SQ5 at 354, but torque sees a healthy increase to 369 pound-feet, and it's available anywhere from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm. The car itself weighs about 77 pounds less, too. It's a combination that should make the SQ5 pretty entertaining off the line.

Coupled to the turbo engine is an eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. Power delivery and handling can be enhanced with a Quattro sport rear differential that can shuffle power left and right to aid cornering. Audi says the torque vectoring system can send almost all rearward power to one wheel as necessary. The differential is available as part of the S sport package, which comes with other upgrades including air suspension. The suspension gives the crossover a lower ride height by default. Both height and firmness can be adjusted, and it offers an "offroad" position that raises the car for maximum ground clearance.

Inside, the SQ5 comes with a sportier interior than its Q5 counterpart. It comes with prerequisites such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel and more-bolstered seats. Audi also provides a Bang & Olufsen sound system and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The cabin experience can be further augmented with Audi's Virtual Cockpit LCD instrument panel, as well as driving assists such as a variable-ratio steering rack and adaptive cruise control that can handle stop-and-go traffic from 0 to 40 mph.

Audi will begin selling the new 2018 SQ5 here in spring of 2017. Pricing for it and the Q5 has not yet been released.

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