U.S. version of Audi’s SQ5 to run on gas, not diesel

Audi SQ5 gray background front three quarter viewAudi unveiled the SQ5, a performance version of its Q5 crossover with a 3.0-liter TDI diesel, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in June, but the company’s plans have changed. Despite a recently announced blitz of TDI diesel models in the U.S., Audi will equip the SQ5 with a gasoline engine for the American and Chinese markets.

Audi isn’t saying why it made the change; the only reason we know about the gasoline SQ5 is because a parts catalog was leaked. What we do know is that, whatever is under the hood, the SQ5 will be the first crossover to wear Audi’s “S” performance badge.

As with the SQ5 TDI, the new version’s engine displaces 3.0 liters. However, it comes from Audi’s TFSI line, and has one supercharger instead of two turbochargers. From the specs, this looks like the same engine Audi puts in its A6 midsize luxury sedan.

The gasoline-powered SQ5 is expected to produce 354 horsepower, compared to the TDI’s 313 hp. With the extra power, it should be interesting to see if this SQ5 can best the TDI’s 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 kph) time of 5.1 seconds.

The only available transmission will be a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, which will send power to all four wheels through Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

If Audi really does sell the SQ5 in the U.S., it will reportedly import the petrol powered model only. That seems like a safe bet on the company’s part: Americans have not given diesel the widespread acceptance it has in Europe, and the SQ5 is already an unusual proposition.

Audi SQ5 gray background rear three quarter viewMost performance crossovers are based on larger chassis and use raw power to overcome the laws of physics. The Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 M, and Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG defy their SUV bulk with mind-bending performance numbers.

The SQ5 will have plenty of power (the most powerful stock Q5 only has 270 hp), but it won’t be as bombastic as those larger crossovers. With its smaller packaging, the SQ5 will be more about finesse and balance.

It will be interesting to see whether this new crossover permutation grows into a new market segment, or whether Audi customers ask for more S4s instead.

Audi has not announced a release date for the SQ5 but, with the Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows coming up, the company has a couple of good opportunities to showcase a new addition to its U.S. lineup.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!