Friday, November 10, 2023

Crazy-Eyed Crossovers...

On the one hand, I lament the ever-dwindling number of really cool sports sedans (as well as the practical disappearance of station wagons, sporty or otherwise) in this, the Age of the Crossover SUV.

On the other hand, there are crossovers and then there are crossovers. Probably my first experience seeing a crossover that really made my eyes cross was back in 2015 when I was visiting Kathy Jackson in Washington state. We were driving up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking Mount St. Helens and a Porsche Macan S pulled out of the scenic overlook just ahead of us and then proceeded to zip out of sight up the windy mountain road in a very un-trucklike fashion.

Above is a '22-'23 BMW X3 M40i, with a 3.0L DOHC turbo inline six pumping 382bhp to all four tires through an 8-speed auto. Car and Driver says it'll go 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and do the quarter in an eyeball-flattening 12.8 @ 108mph. And it'll circle a skidpad at .88 g's, which is as good as my Z3 2.8 on its best day. The idea of pulling those kind of g's in a station wagon on stilts that weighs most of two and a quarter tons is mind-boggling.

And then there's this Audi SQ5, the grandnephew of that Mount St. Helens Macan. It's a little less hairy than the M'ed-out X, but only a little. 

It's also got a 3.0L turbo six, although its cylinders are arranged in a vee, rather than lined up straight. With 354hp and an 8-spd auto with faux-manual capabilities, it'll tear off 5.1 second 0-60 sprints and 13.7 quarters at 102mph.

What gets me is the braking on the SQ5. It's a 4400-lb truckette and it'll stop from 70 in 148 feet. My Z3 will stop from the same velocity in 171 feet and that feels like you just drove head-on into a sand dune.