Audi’s all-new Q5 crossover was in full view during the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. This marked another opportunity for the media and consumers alike to get a better look at one the German brand’s newest models, and one of its best-selling nameplates.
But while Audi was also teasing its next crossover, the full size Q8, the automaker did bring yet another special crossover to NAIAS — the second-generation 2018 Audi SQ5.
As the high-performance variant of the completely redesigned Q5, the new QS5 looks the part with aggressive styling. The latest generation Q5 already boasts a sleek silhouette, with a flat, coupe-like roof line and strong shoulders. The new QS5 adds to that design with its unique grille, side mirrors, and S model rear roof spoiler. Sculpted, three-dimensional LED headlights flow in harmony with the clamshell hood up front. Outback, LED taillights with dynamic turn signals add to the sporty look.
Aside from its new sheetmetal, perhaps the biggest change to the SQ5 from its predecessor comes under the hood. For 2018, the SQ5 will ditch its supercharger in favor of a turbo for its 3.0-liter V6. A similar switch has already been adopted for the latest S4 and S5.
Despite the mechanical update, horsepower remains unchanged at 354 hp. Torque was been bumped up to 369 pound-feet. Notably, Audi has also shaved 77 pounds from the SQ5’s curb weight, which will undoubtedly make this generation more sprightly.
Power is routed through an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and is sent to all-four wheels through Audi’s venerable Quattro all-wheel drive system. As part of the S sport package, an available Quattro sport rear differential can send power left and right to aid cornering. Other options include an air suspension, which can lower the ride height and can be adjusted for driving conditions. It even provides an “offroad” mode which maximizes the SQ5’s ground clearance when needed.
Like the exterior, the interior of the SQ5 is of course a bit sportier than the standard Q5. It features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, more-bolstered seats, and even a Bang & Olufsen sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — all standard.
Audi’s cutting-edge Virtual Cockpit LCD instrument panel is available. Also available is a slew of driving aids such as a variable-ratio steering rack and adaptive cruise control that can handle stop-and-go traffic from 0 to 40 mph.
With more power, a more efficient powertrain, less weight, and fresh styling, the all-new SQ5 will undoubtedly set a new standard in the luxury performance crossover segment when it arrives this spring. Pricing has yet to be released.