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First Look: 2018 Audi SQ5

Ingolstadt uncorks the latest hot model of its moneymaking crossover

The Audi SQ5 has always been a sleeper, and the latest generation model, which was just unveiled at the 2017 Detroit auto show, is no different. Like the new 2018 Audi Q5 it’s based on, the new 2018 SQ5 is both lighter and more powerful than before. It also boasts all of the latest safety and infotainment technology that has made the A4 sedan a standout.

Under the hood is Audi’s 3.0-liter 354-hp turbocharged V-6, shared with the S4 sedan, which replaces the old supercharged V-6. The all-new engine makes a hearty 369 lb-ft of torque that’s available as early as 1,370 rpm. Gear changes come courtesy of an eight-speed automatic transmission. Audi claims the SQ5 will sprint from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds.

All-wheel drive is standard on the SQ5. As with the new A4 and S4, a revised suspension design and lightweight materials are said to improve its handling and ride. The base SQ5 comes with Audi’s adaptive sport suspension, but opt for the S sport package and you get a new adaptive air suspension that can lower the ride height by 1.2 inches.

Consistent with recent S models, the SQ5 wears the usual package of sportier design cues. A darkened front grille, aluminum side mirrors, more pronounced rear roof spoiler, and LED lighting combine with larger wheel arches for a more aggressive and hunkered-down look. Inside, there’s a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, Audi’s lovely virtual cockpit, sporty bucket seats, and available diamond-stitch pattern leather. All of Audi’s other goodies, like 4G LTE connectivity with Google Maps, driver assistance systems, and redesigned center stack all work through the brand’s well-sorted MMI controller.

Judging by the success of the last-gen Q5 and SQ5, we can expect Audi to do very well with this new lineup, which can now go head-to-head with the Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and BMW X4 M40i. Pricing will be available closer to launch this spring, but it should ring in around $55,000 judging by last year’s sticker.

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