Last year, we spent some time with the Audi SQ5, the most powerful version of the standard Q5 SUV. While we weren’t in love with it, we felt it was a good car. Apparently, not everyone feels that way, especially some of Audi’s competition. At the recent product launch of the ALPINA B5 Touring in Australia, ALPINA Product Chief commented on the SQ5, claiming not to like it very much. Which makes sense because the SQ5 TDI will take on the ALPINA XD3 (pictured above).
“They started to produce a new SQ5 with a TFSI engine – and it was rubbish.” said ALPINA exec Thomas Cornu, claiming this current-gen car to not be as good as the old diesel-powered version. The room began to laugh but he wasn’t exactly joking. “Really, it’s not a good car, and the press was not good, and the car is not selling well – especially in Australia. It’s very low [sales] numbers, and that’s why… in Europe and Australia they are bringing the SQ5 TDI back again in 2020.”
Audi is indeed bringing back the diesel-powered SQ5 and it will be one of the main competitors of the ALPINA XD3.
Admittedly, Cornu works for a manufacturer of specialty BMWs, so he’s probably not going to like the competition from Audi much. Especially with the diesel-powered ALPINA XD3 coming to the market.
Still, it’s odd to hear an automotive executive so brazenly bash a competitor’s car. Right or wrong, it’s just a bit weird to hear. The Audi SQ5 isn’t a perfect car and is one with many flaws. But it’s not exactly terrible either. It’s fast, good looking, comfortable, practical and relatively fun to drive. Its main issues are that it’s a bit too numb, too clinical, and not exciting enough. Does that make it “rubbish”? I’m not so sure. But I can understand why some enthusiasts might prefer other performance SUVs in the segment.