It takes a lot to stand out in the luxury crossover class. For its part, Audi is opting for the time-honed approach of more power, adding 77 horsepower to the Q5's 3.0-liter V-6 to make 349 in the 2014 SQ5 that will be shown at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Unlike the SQ5 TDI, the SQ5 at the Detroit auto show is powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine producing 349 hp between 6000 and 6500 rpm. We've seen versions of this engine in other Audis like the A5, A6, A7, A8, and Q7. The U.S.-spec SQ5's torque has been upped to 347 lb-ft between 4000 and 4500 rpm; the 2013 Q5 3.0T we tested had 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. While Audi claims the SQ5 will accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds, we're guessing that's conservative considering we tested the Q5 3.0T completing the sprint in 5.5 seconds.
The Audi SQ5's top speed is limited to 155 mph, and like the Q5 3.0T, it uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (the SQ5's AWD has torque-vectoring tech). The current Q5 is EPA-rated at 18/26 mpg city/highway, and we wouldn't expect much of a change with the Q5 lineup-topping model.
With the Q5 3.0T already selling for $44,795 before options, expect the SQ5 to start in the low $50,000 range when it arrives in the U.S. in third quarter of 2013.
Park an Audi SQ5 near a lesser Q5 and you may notice the sporty crossover has been lowered 1.2 inches. The shocks have been retuned and although 20-inch wheels are standard, we'd recommend going for the 21-inchers. The SQ5 also offers two crystal-effect paint colors: Estoril Blue (pictured) and Panther Black. The retouched grille has gray accents, and the side mirrors' bright silver finish stand out. There's a rear spoiler as well -- if you're going for a stealthy look, consider the black exterior paint.
Inside, the SQ5's instrument cluster has gray dials with white numbers and, of course, the shift paddles and pedals have a bright aluminum-like finish. Audi gives SQ5 owners a choice of interior trims to contrast against the leather and Alcantara sport seats.
So Audi won't send to the U.S. the diesel-powered SQ5 TDI but with the gas-engined SQ5, the automaker has a special crossover to compete with the sportiest luxury SUVs out there, from the BMW X3 xDrive35i to the Volvo XC60 R-Design with Polestar. Now that the Q5 is Audi's second-best-selling vehicle behind the A4/Allroad, it's clear the automaker wants to maintain momentum. With the Q5 lineup soon to include everything from a turbocharged I-4 to a diesel and a hybrid, Audi now has a performance crossover flagship.