Audi SQ5 TDI is a performance diesel crossover we won't get

It has a 48-volt mild hybrid system, too

Audi SQ5 TDI
Audi SQ5 TDI / Image Credit: Audi
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There's no way this performance diesel crossover will be coming to the States, but the next-generation Audi SQ5 TDI is now official, and it has an electric component. Similar to the SQ7 TDI, this diesel powertrain includes an electrically powered compressor and 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The little compressor helps out in low revs when exhaust gas flow doesn't provide enough energy to drive the traditional turbocharger, eliminating that lag traditionally felt upon throttle tip-in on turbocharged cars. Audi says it's helpful up to 1,650 rpm.

The 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 produces 347 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, with Audi quoting "acceleration to highway speeds" (we'll assume 62 mph) in 5.1 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. Though this engine is found in non-performance vehicles, the crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and oil management were "specially configured" for the SQ5. There's also a "sound actuator" in the exhaust system that supposedly provides a better exhaust note.

As for the 48-volt system, it operates in a similar way to others — Audi says it simply refined the SQ7 TDI's setup for this diesel. Besides the performance-enhancing benefits described above, the 48-volt system saves fuel by enabling greater use of the automatic stop/start system, which shuts the engine off at up to 13.7 mph while coasting to a stop. Energy is recouped through regenerative braking and stored in a lithium-ion battery under the cargo floor.

Shifting is handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission with close ratios in the first few gears to get the big crossover moving quicker. Permanent Quattro all-wheel drive is the standard drivetrain setup, capable of sending as much as 85 percent of the power to the rear wheels. An optional sport differential provides torque vectoring to the rear wheels, greatly reducing understeer, according to Audi.

Suspension improvements are aplenty with a 1.2-inch lower ride height than the normal Q5. Adjustable dampers allow you to stiffen the suspension for better handling. Most everything else is normal Audi Q5 fare. Visual enhancements for the SQ5 TDI are noticeable but not outlandish by any means. The green paint pictured here is especially attractive. Germany will get this vehicle first, and it will go on sale starting at 67,750 euros, or about $77,000. That's far more expensive than our gasoline-powered SQ5, which starts at $52,400, but then cars are almost always cheaper here.

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