Making its international debut in Detroit, the new 2014 Audi SQ5 is a gasoline-powered alternative to the existing SQ5 TDI turbodiesel model currently sold only in various European markets. While sharing many of the key visual cues and mechanical enhancements with its oil-burning alter ego, this new U.S.-bound variant - the first SQ5 to be fitted with a gasoline engine - was specifically tailored to appeal to buyers in North America, South America, South Africa, China, Japan and several other Asian countries.

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In place of the 3.0-liter TDI V6 that makes 313-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of peak torque, Audi's latest high-performance crossover SUV gets its motivation from the automaker's supercharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6 that churns out 354 horses and 347 lb-ft of torque in this installation and is backed by an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with dual program modes and steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles. Power is shipped to each tire via a performance-tuned Quattro full-time all-wheel-drive system with sufficient gusto to send the Audi SQ5 from 0-62 mph in just 5.2 seconds on to an electronically capped top speed of 155 mph.

          Also: Audi SQ5 TDI Exclusive Concept

To ensure it can put that motive might to best use the new Audi QS5 also features a full sport suspension with stiffer spring and shocks along with a significantly lower (nearly 1.2 inches) ride height. The SQ5's standard electro-mechanical power steering can be upgraded to Audi's stepless dynamic assist system while its baseline 20-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 performance tires can be bumped to a 21-inch package with even lower-profile rubber. The SQ5's extras roster also includes the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.

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The Audi SQ5 will be offered in two exclusive crystal-effect finishes when it hits showrooms here in Q3: Estoril Blue and Panther Black. Unique exterior elements include a custom grille treatment with bright horizontal bars and an aluminum insert, Xenon-plus headlamps, LED running lights, a roof spoiler, gloss-black accent package, aluminum-finish side mirrors and roof rails, a stainless-steel loading sill protector and "V6 T" fender badges. The performance theme carries also into the SQ5's well-appointed cabin. Power-adjustable front sport bucket done in Pearl Nappa leather and Alcantara, bespoke white-on-gray gauges, aluminum accents and aluminum-finish sport pedals are all standard in a passenger compartment framed in black. However, buyers also can choose from four other leather colors, Carbon Atlas or Piano Black trims and a Moon Silver headliner.

Pricing for the 2014 Audi SQ5 will be released closer to its on-sale date.


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