Audi has decided to accept BMW's challenge to present sporty models with diesel engines under the M Performance moniker by introducing its first ever "S" model powered by an oil-burner, the new SQ5 TDI.
The new top model of its recently revised Q5 model series sports a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 diesel delivering a frisky 308hp (313PS) and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque between 1,450 and 2,800 rpm.
An eight-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring transfer the power to the road.
Audi claims that the SQ5 TDI can go from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in 5.1 seconds and top out at 250 km/h (155mph), while returning an average fuel consumption of 7.2 lt/100 km (32.7 US mpg or 39.2 UK mpg).
Chassis improvements over the regular Q5 models entail a retuned electromechanical power steering and a sports suspension that lowers the vehicle body by 30mm (1.18 in).
The SQ5 TDI rides on 20-inch alloy wheels (21-inch rims are optional) fitted with 255/45 tires.
To make it stand out from the other models, Audi has equipped the SQ5 TDI with a new styling kit that includes a platinum gray single-frame grille with an aluminum-look trim for the bars, the roof spoiler, window surrounds, mirrors and modified bumpers.
Inside, the cabin features power-adjustable sport seats in Pearl Nappa leather/Alcantara, brushed aluminum inlays, gray instrument dials with white needles, and S-spec steering wheel, gear lever knob and decorative trim.
The new SQ5 TDI will roll into Audi's European dealerships in the first quarter of 2013 with prices starting at €58,500 (approx. US$73,600). Audi did not say if it has any plans to offer the diesel model in the States.