A stroll by means of the car parking zone of my gun membership reveals the same old assortment of autos utilized by outdoorsmen—F250s, Ram 1500s, Silverados, Tahoes, Grand Cherokees, Colorados, Tundras, and Explorers. You’ll additionally see the occasional Vary Rover. However sooner or later, I observed one thing totally different tucked in between a pair of full-size SUVs—an Audi Q5.
In some methods, it was like recognizing Waldo, and after a sporting clays competitors one afternoon I noticed the Audi’s proprietor wiping down his over-under within the lot. I requested him, “How do you just like the Q5?”
“Adore it,” he mentioned.
“Not a typical alternative, is it?”
“No,” he mentioned. “However there’s a technique to my insanity.”
In sum, he defined he didn’t want a full-size SUV or pickup (“simply too large”), and a compact pickup didn’t match his life-style.
“I’m all about efficiency,” he lastly mentioned, whether or not it’s shotguns, fly rods, or automobiles. The car he wished needed to carry his looking and fishing gear, and it wanted to have the ability to deal with dangerous climate (therefore the all-wheel drive), however it additionally wanted to carry out on the street within the method to which he was accustomed. And that meant he wished to expertise the joys of a car constructed to reward driving talent.
So, after I had the chance to drive the brand new 2018 Audi SQ5 (basically a sportier model of the Q5) final week on Vancouver Island, I jumped on the probability.
And, now I do know what that Q5 proprietor was speaking about.
That includes a brand new three.Zero-liter TFSI (turbocharged gas stratified injection) V6 engine, the SQ5 produces 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque between 1370 and 4500 rpm. The eight-speed tiptronic transmission permits the engine to ship low-end torque in addition to fast, easy shifts. On condition that a lot of the driving was on two-lane roads in hilly terrain, I appreciated the flexibility to rapidly reap the benefits of protected passing lanes round lumbering tandem-trailer gas vans and RVs.
Like different autos within the Q5 household, the SQ5 advantages from Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive. However the S bundle amps that up with a “sport” rear differential that splits torque between the rear wheel, serving to the driving force to deal with dicey conditions resembling snow and dust.
The chassis and suspension have additionally been refined to supply an improved experience, and the brand new SQ5 consists of an air suspension choice that may elevate and decrease the physique top by a little bit greater than an inch. Doing so lowers the profile on the freeway for improved efficiency and raises it once you want a bit of additional room whereas on a gravel street or entry path to a trout spot.
Additionally new, the inside affords a bit extra space in comparison with the earlier era. Meaning extra rear legroom and shoulder room, in addition to elevated cargo capability when the second-row seats are folded down.
And like higher-end autos as of late, the SQ5 will be had with a full complement of leisure and knowledge options. The navigation portfolio is particularly fascinating. Maps will be had on a stand-alone panel that protrudes from the center of the instrument panel. After I requested why it was positioned there, Amelia Tremendous-Morrison, supervisor of product communications, mentioned it was to assist preserve the driving force’s eyes on the street reasonably than wanting down. However she additionally famous one other function in what she known as “Audi’s digital cockpit”—a “sport” show mode.
“This function is exclusive to the SQ5,” she mentioned. “It brings the tachometer and speedometer entrance and heart of the show. You’ll additionally see a full-color heads-up show that initiatives related driving info straight within the driver’s sight view.”
I also needs to add that the navigation maps will be projected in the identical house, one other method to preserve the driving force’s eyes firmly on the street. It’s a pleasant, and far appreciated, contact, particularly on the winding roads I drove.
As you may count on, efficiency at this degree has a price. The bottom degree SQ5 begins at $54,300. The mannequin I drove goes for $65,800. However when you think about high-end GMC Denali will now prime $70,000, the SQ5 delivers lots for the cash. It’s absolutely not for everybody, however for those who prize efficiency above all else, it’s price a detailed look.