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Audi SQ5 review: Hurry up and Q

But this spacious, well -appointed SUV competes in a crowded segment of rival alternatives.

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Audi SQ5.

Singapore

WITH the Lion City being one of the most densely-populated places on Earth, queuing is pretty much a fact of life. But it is tricky choosing a good queue. Short queues can be deceiving too, and can sometimes end up far more ponderous than longer ones.

In the car realm, Audi makes it easy to choose the fastest "Q": The SQ5.

"Q" denotes the German luxury brand's range of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers, while the "S" indicates that the SQ5 has more firepower under its bonnet than a regular, garden-variety Audi.

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As the name suggests, the SQ5 is based on the Q5 SUV, which recently debuted its second-generation version in Singapore with major improvements in most areas.

The heart of the S matter though, is the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, which churns out 354 horsepower. That is a generous figure, but the real meat is in the grunty 500 Newton-metres of torque made in a particularly broad spread.

In practical terms, it means the SQ5 is impressively responsive to the demands of your right foot, and you never have to worry about being able to pull off that overtake. A trip up to Malaysia with its wider open roads would be where the SQ5 can stretch its legs and help you save time.

While the V6 engine isn't particularly musical or dramatic, the SQ5 adds another accolade to its list of positives by being fun to chuck around as well, almost like an oversized hot hatch.

Even better is the fact that it delivers a dynamic edge without making its occupants gnash their teeth. While the standard 21-inch wheels deliver a firm ride, it is still comfortable as far as modern SUVs are concerned; the car never degenerates into a jiggling five-person jack-in-the-box.

Switch the drive mode to "Efficiency" or "Comfort" and the SQ5 undergoes a convincing personality change. It is then that you will realise that the car is quite refined and civilised, and that this balance of qualities is quite rare in performance SUVs.

If you are stuck in Singapore traffic, the spacious, tech-packed cabin will help you pass the time, as it otherwise has all the room and practicality of the regular Q5. Opt for the active cruise control (a S$5,000 option) and it will even take the pain out of stop-and-go traffic too, by automatically following the cars in front of you.

If all that sounds worth "Q-ing" for, it is also worth noting that this is a very hard-fought segment. The SQ5 faces fierce competition from the closely-matched Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the more fun but costlier Porsche Macan S; BMW's new X3 M40i is also on the horizon.

Still, the SQ5's range of capabilities and user-friendliness means a buyer won't have very much fast-queue envy at all.


Audi SQ5

Engine 2,995cc, 24V, V6, turbocharged
Power 354hp at 5,400-6,400rpm
Torque 500Nm at 1,370-4,500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h
0-100km/h 5.4 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.7L/100km
CO2 200g/km
Price S$306,000 with COE
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