Hot on the heels of the second-generaion Q5 range, Audi has unveiled the sequal to its successful SQ5 performance SUV.
The original SQ5 TDI was a surprise success story, holding the title of Audi best-selling Q5 variant for a time in Australia, by combining a high-performance diesel engine, taut sports suspension, and a family-friendly SUV body in a way that captured the hearts - and wallets - of thousands of buyers around the globe.
A successor to the original SQ5 made its official debut in Detroit on Monday, where the brand's US arm unveiled a sharpened version of Audi's second-generation Q5 SUV.
The car features sportier styling compared to more prosaic Q5 variants, beefed up with more aggressive bumpers, LED lights and 20-inch alloy wheels, as a well as a cabin dressed-up with sports seats, Alcantara trim, and a racey flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Optional equipment includes variable-height air suspension and a dynamic pack with a performance-tuned rear differential.
While European and Australian versions of the original SQ5 were powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, North American customers uniquely recieved a supercharged petrol V6 shared with the previous Audi S4 sedan.
America's new SQ5 TFSI follows a similar theme, sharing a turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol V6 with the S4 that sends 260kW and 500Nm to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The brand has confirmed that the petrol-powered SQ5 TFSI will be sold outside the US, arriving in Europe mid-year.
The petrol model is expected to be joined by a new SQ5 TDI powered by a more powerful development of the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 used in the 200kW Q7 SUV.
It is not clear which models will be offered in Australia, which has a proven appetite for high-performance vehicles.
Audi says the new model can hit 100km/h in 5.4 seconds, which makes it slower than the outgoing SQ5 Plus which is powered by a high-output diesel V6 tuned to 250kW and 700Nm and can hit the same benchmark in 5.1 seconds.
While the original SQ5 debuted as the only performance car in its class, the new model will have to contend with stiff competition from the 270kW Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the range-topping BMW X4 and its 230kW of diesel power.
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