David O’Neill – SQ5 Review


Think “SUV” – yawn! Think “Diesel SUV” – narcolepsy sets in! Well, think again! The Audi SQ5 has arrived!!

Ebbett Prestige gave me an SQ5 to drive over the weekend. This included a trip to the beach and back so I had a good chance to test out the claims made by Audi that this car broke the mould. They weren’t lying.

I even took the family – and no one complained (mind you I think they are used to being tossed around in the car). This baby can go!!

Techo specs

It’s a 3.0 litre twin turbo diesel. It puts out 230k kW (313 hp or lots of grunt) and 650 nm of torque (lots of pulling power). The claimed fuel consumption is 6.8 litres/100km (didn’t find out – but it is fairly miserly). Audi reserve the “S” badge for their true sporting vehicles. Anyway enough of that – onto the good stuff…….

Audi Sq5 Open Road NZWhat’s it like?

I picked up the SQ5 on Friday afternoon and toddled back to the office. No dramas. It sounded quite burbly and I discovered Audi weren’t content to allow their customers to listen to a diesel, so they put a sound actuator in the exhaust system and passengers hear a V8 petrol noise rather than the clankety clank of a diesel – sounds naff but it actually works. It really sounds like a V8. Even from the outside it still sounds like a V8 because of a specially tuned exhaust. Think David Brown tractor with a modern twist.

Town and around

Around town it’s nothing special. It’s a nice car to drive – in fact it really is like a car, just that you sit up higher than usual. The cabin is luxuriously appointed – all the usual goodies. There is more than adequate seating for five people and a good sized boot.

Open Road

Everything changes when you get out on the open road. This baby goes like stink!! It accelerates like it really has got a V8 under the bonnet and it takes 5.1 seconds to go from 0 – 100 km/h. That is quicker than a Porsche Cayenne and a truck load of large engined V8s from across the ditch and a lot of other sports cars from Europe. It’s very quick. It eats hills like they weren’t there and goes around corners like a small three-door hatch.

It flew over to the beach and came back in similar style. It’s sure footed in the corners and with the shorter wheel base a bump in mid corner doesn’t jump it off the chosen line.

I was hugely impressed. Everything about it was pleasant and in addition, it had all the necessary attributes of a sports car with an ability to carry lots of luggage. The seats fold down in the rear so you can convert it to a large station wagon.

Not everyone will use the power, but it’s there if you want it. It can pass in tight places and go around corners even if they do come up too quickly.

Audi SQ5 NZ BeachThe initial number of SQ5s imported into New Zealand has been pretty much sold out and the Audi distributors are now looking at replacing the ordinary 3.0 litre Q5 with the SQ5 making it the only 3.0 litre option in the Q5 range.

For those of you who are interested, my run over to the beach and back saw me average 7.7 litres/100km/h. I wasn’t driving economically, so that’s a really impressive figure.


It’s not cheap but you are purchasing quality and to be frank the first diesel rocket released into New Zealand. I’ll bet the competitors are now scrambling to get something equivalent onto the market.


David O'NeillDavid O’Neill is a Hamilton born and Hamilton based Barrister. He was trained at Otago University. Apart from his 30 plus years in the law, he has a strong passion for cars and motor racing.David is married with four sons, three of whom share his same passion for cars, but none of whom have the financial ability to go racing as yet.

David’s love of fine motor cars extends to writing reviews on cars for two legal publications circulated throughout New Zealand. Additionally he races a car in the Targa NZ Series and is proudly sponsored by Ebbett Prestige of Hamilton.

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