Audi is injecting an extra dose of performance into the next-generation SQ5. Expected to arrive next year, the SQ5 will share its basic platform with the brand new, second-generation Q5 that was introduced last month during the Paris Auto Show.
Handling isn’t one of the current SQ5’s strongest points, so engineers were clearly instructed to make the upcoming model noticeably more dynamic to drive than its predecessor. To that end, the crossover will be available with a sports differential tuned to allow skilled drivers to kick out the rear end on a track and drift around a corner. It won’t be a full-on drift mode, however, so enthusiasts will need to control the oversteer.
British magazine Autocar has learned Audi is considering offering the SQ5 with the rear-wheel steering system that’s available at an extra cost on the bigger SQ7 sold in Europe. Another high-tech feature that could trickle down from the company’s range-topping SUV is the electric turbocharger that’s fed by a 48-volt electrical system, according to Autocar, though the magazine points out stuffing too much tech into the SQ5 might end up making it prohibitively expensive.
Power for the U.S.-spec SQ5 will come from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine borrowed from the S4 and the S5. The six-cylinder will deliver 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. In Europe, the SQ5’s volume engine will likely be a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 tuned to generate over 300 horses thanks in part to the aforementioned electric turbo.
We expect to see the new Audi SQ5 in the metal for the first time during next year’s edition of the Geneva Auto Show. It will begin to arrive in showrooms in time for the 2018 model year, so start honing your drifting skills.