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Audi SQ5 TDI returns to Australia for 2021 in strictly limited numbers

John Law

Months before the arrival of the mid-life upgrade to the Audi Q5, the German manufacturer has sent 240 examples of the pre-facelift SQ5 diesel to Australia.

  • 240 examples of the Audi SQ5 TDI diesel are on sale in Australia
  • The engine produces 255kW/700Nm and sprints 0-100km/h in 5.1sec
  • There is a host of standard equipment for the $104,900 price

The decision to make the second-generation Audi SQ5 sports SUV a petrol-only proposition was sour news for many buyers of the original SQ5 – a crossover that thrilled many with its pacey but efficient diesel V6.

Overseas the second-gen SQ5 could be had with petrol or diesel, but for Australia, it was a 260kW/500Nm three-litre turbo petrol V6 or nothing. Until now, that is.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2021 interior
The only interior colour choice for the SQ5 TDI special edition is black nappa with carbon trim.

More or less on the eve of the arrival of the facelifted, upgraded Audi Q5 range, the German manufacturer has seen fit to send a batch of 240 diesel-powered second-gen SQ5 TDI models to Australia to appease diesel performance SUV aficionados.

Priced at $104,900 before on-road costs, the SQ5 TDI wades into battle with the BMW X3 – in high-spec 30d inline-six diesel form and inline-six petrol M40i specification – and the petrol-only Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.

The three-litre V6 diesel under the bonnet of the SQ5 TDI produces very healthy outputs of 255kW of power and 700Nm of torque – a huge 200Nm gain against the outgoing petrol, while the diesel loses just 5kW when compared to the gasoline-fed version.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2020 country road
The TDI is faster than the outgoing petrol-fed SQ5 TFSI.

As you’d expect for a diesel, claimed fuel consumption falls drastically, from 8.7L/100km of premium-octane petrol in the SQ5 TFSI to just 6.8L/100km of diesel in the SQ5 TDI.

The diesel is even the faster of the two – a surprising result for some – with the TDI lopping 0.3sec off the TFSI petrol version’s 0-100km/h sprint time: the SQ5 TDI will do it in 5.1 seconds.

The rest of the drivetrain is the same, with a ZF-sourced eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox changing gears smoothly while a Quattro all-wheel-drive system distributes torque to all four wheels.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2021 front
The blacked-out SQ5 TDI special edition.

Keener drivers will want to consider the optional $2,990 Quattro sport rear limited slip differential, too.

What’s included in the SQ5 TDI special edition?

Included in the limited-run SQ5 TDI for 2021 are a black exterior trim package, matrix LED headlights, carbon interior trim, and massage function added to the Nappa leather front seats.

The SQ5 TDI special edition lists from $104,900, compared to $101,136 for the regular TFSI car.

The diesel builds on a generous standard spec that includes a panoramic sunroof, heated seats, extended leather, Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker stereo, acoustic glazing, head-up display and wireless smartphone charging.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2020 dirt road
We recommend the optional air suspension for the best ride-handling balance.

Inside the cabin, the SQ5 TDI retains the same cabin architecture which means an 8.8-inch infotainment screen – not touchscreen – 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Despite being a limited-run batch there are also a couple of options you can choose to add to the 2021 SQ5 TDI. Audi specifies standard adaptive dampers on steel springs as standard, but we think the optional air suspension is money well spent at $2,150.

Buyers will be able to pick other wheels as well, and heated/cooled cup holders for $350. Naturally, there is a raft of exterior colours to choose from, though the interior is black or black.

Audi SQ5 TDI 2021 taillight
Audi expects the 240 examples of the pre-facelift SQ5 TDI to sell well.

Audi dealers are taking orders for the SQ5 TDI special edition now, but the 240 units are likely to sell out fast.

Still, if you do miss out, you won’t have to wait long for the facelifted Q5, which brings a coupe-SUV SQ5 Sportback body style into the fray as well. The facelifted SQ5 will be diesel only, with the petrol disappearing from the Australian market.