ALTHOUGH THE SQ5 is all-new, it looks uncannily like a replay of the old model, despite Audi having teased its length out by 42mm and made it narrower. An extra 9mm in height doesn’t sound like much but it has released extra rear headroom, although the additional 13mm in the wheelbase doesn’t seem to have bought much extra rear legroom - it’s okay but nothing more. But the new Q5’s bones have helped the SQ5 shed an impressive 130kg in weight, thanks to a matrix of aluminium and lightweight steels in the body and in components such as the steering and suspension.

The car’s silhouette is reassuringly familiar to those wedded to the old model, even if the grille has been given the Q7 treatment. And if that disappoints some, 1.6 million bought the old model - and they’ll no doubt go just as nuts for this version. The big changes are to be found under the bonnet, where you’ll find a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 developing 349bhp between 5400 and 6400rpm and 369lb ft or torque from just 1370rpm. This potency, combined with the car’s weight loss, delivers 0-62mph in 5.4sec In reality the SQ5 doesn’t feel sub-six seconds quick, thanks in no small part to the level of refinement Audi has built into the car. The SQ5’s is a remarkably civilised cabin to travel in - from the diamond-stitched nappa leather upholstery and a choice range of soft-touch finishes to the metal inserts, it oozes quality. This is backed up by a level of ride composure and control that never feels under duress, with well suppressed wind and road noise. This may be a performance-orientated machine but it’s every inch the big-mile weapon.

Our test car wore 20-inch rims rather than the undoubtedly more imposing 21-inch options. The 20s should prove the more popular option in the UK and other countries where roads come with cambers, potholes and scarring, unlike those around our Munich test route, which were as wrinkle-free as Bella Hadid. But they probably won’t be. If this all sounds a bit anaemic for an Audi wearing an S badge, don’t fear; the new V6 has a hearty throb that rises to a purposeful growl under hard acceleration, and its output - paired with the SQ5’s fine chassis and unerring traction - makes all those tricky corners you regul
arly drive suddenly that much easier.

It’s just a shame the steering keeps you almost entirely removed from what’s going on beyond the SQ5’s leather-lined cocoon. Its action is nuance-free and just too light, a little too eager on turn-in, and breeds a tendency to make constant nibbly inputs at motorway speeds to stay on target.

Prices start at £51,200 and the SQ5 should be in your local dealership now. If you value feedback and interaction above all else, it should probably stay there. But for a quick SUV, it’s undoubtedly talented.