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The New Audi Q5 – Driven

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The New Audi Q5 – Driven

We met Audi’s Q5 in 2008; it was fresh, bold and  started an entire the B segment for those that did not fancy the bigger Q7 within the 4 rings family. The love for SUV comes at a cost , an alternative was always necessary, the Q5 was just what the doctor ordered, with 1.6million units sold all over the world, 11 300 from that number were cars that were sold locally. Not bad for a new segment, I once had an awesome experience with the top of the range SQ5 which was powered by 3.0V6T diesel engine dishing 650nm of torque and 230kw, in fact I still rate it as one of the best performance SUV’s one can find in our market. The 1st generation had all the right ingredients. It laid down the gauntlet.

The 2nd generation has the bar set quite high for it then, I mean the market is rife with competition and alternatives nowadays , does the 2nd generation make a serious case for its cause and existence? Lets find out.

1st impressions last, the look of the 2nd gen relates quite well with its bigger brother sibling, the Q7, however, this looks better in my view, the front with wider more imposing grille matched to the LED headlights make for an appealing road presense. The air intakes are bigger with sills to smoothen the look, the bonnet has mild muscular lines, it is somewhat flatter but it works well with the entire aesthetic approach. The side profile is awash with decent detail, from the front fender initiated shoulder line that runs through the entire side, something I may have spotted in the beautiful A5 coupe. The wheel arches look bolder and the selection of alloy wheels available round up the look  well. At the rear the LED taillights do what Audis best, “They Flow”(Indicators) and that just blows people over everytime. The tailgate encompasses some fine but visually enticing details, the bumper boasts those fake looking exhaust outlets, not sure how I feel about those, they do a good job of completing the look but may fool you to think they are real. Overall the Q5 exterior looks good, not overdone but elegantly finished.

The interior is where late model Audis has found favor with everyone, the latest Q5 is no different in fact it may be better. Stepping inside this new Audi, one is overwhelmed by how spacious it is, the smell of the leather, and sense of confidence that goes with that. The lower dash increases the view for the front , the 3D digital cockpit takes centre stage on the cluster. The solid multi-function steering wheel is properly useful, with few but efficient buttons for use, I love the polished metal piece at the bottom inside of the steering. The centre console still amazes me with its minimalistic yet user friendly approach. Such a pity the 12.3inch infotainment screen does not fold away, it’s an easy to use piece of tech especially with hand writing recognition. The seats are a gem as always, comfortable, supportive and perfect detail, especially in the SQ5. My test Tdi unit was in Mythos black with black leather, a combination I detest but in the Q5 it worked its charm on me. The panoramic glass infused an airy feel with light on sunny days.

This new Q5 comes with a host of improvements, for instance Quattro is partial thanks to Quattro Ultra, which means it is only applied when necessary, so most of the time front wheel drive mode is applied, this saves fuel and wear& tear. In high speed instances that decision is made in fractions of seconds to ensure the certainty in handling .

New engines move the 2nd generation Audi SUV, at the launch in Cape Town we had the opportunity to sample all of the currently available power plants en route to our overnight stay, the Grootbos Hotel. An eco- friendly accomodation facility with awesome views over lush green fynbos bush, we even spotted whales during our stay. Back to the engines , the 1st offering is a 4cylinder diesel 2.0Tdi generating 140kw & 400nm , followed by a 2.0Tfsi petrol with 185kw & 370nm of torque, last but not least is the 3.0Tfsi SQ5 motor with a mammoth 260kw and 500nm, all these are 20% more powerful than the 1st generation power plants. These are all paired to a magnificent 7 speed multitronic gearbox with coasting function on downhills . They all serve just about every type of potential customer, the 185kw Tfsi is sharp with a decent rasp as the revs climb, the torque feels gradual than instant. The top of the range SQ5 boasts a rumble that can only be associated with a V6 , it’s very swift in delivery and on gear changes, it burps beautifully.  I loved the 1st generation SQ5, not quite sure this new one will replace it just yet. The diesel engine is the one i had on test, it was not my 1st time meeting this power plant, it had impressed me in the A5 Coupe when I reviewed it. With just enough power at 140kw and ample torque at 400nm, it dances so well, what’s even better is the fuel consumption of this diesel, the tank achieved an impressive 650km. It could have been better with a lighter foot but 400nm can be so tempting. The ride quality is great thanks to a multi-link suspension, the handling is superb meaning you can do some serious cornering even though you’re in heels.

Audi has introduced a host of assistance systems in this Q5, these make driving this new Audi a safe driving experience. For instance, Adaptive Cruise Control which monitors the following distance when cruise control is engaged. Active lane assist, this monitors driving especially on clearly marked roads so you can stay safely in your lane, Distance indicator, collision avoidance assist, pre sense front, rear cross traffic alert, to mention just a few.

Would I buy the Q5, YES, the Tdi derivative is my choice, while the SQ5 appeals to a childish element, the TDi is sensible for me.. This launch also afforded us local media to have a one on one casual chats and intro to the new Audi SA Managing Director Mr Trevor Hill. Pretty cool gent who is quite passionate about the entire group, seems brand Audi is in good hands.

Pricing

Q5 2.0Tdi Quattro S Tronic R698 ,000

Q5 2.0Tdi Quattro S Tronic Sport R748, 000

Q5 2.0Tfsi Quattro S Tronic R747, 500

Q5 2.0Tfsi Quattro S Tronic Sport R797,500

SQ5 3.0Tfsi Quattro Tiptronic R1,044,000

All Audi Q5s are backed by standard Audi Freeway plan for 5years or 100 000km.

Thanks to Audi SA and Sameera for a great time at the launch and the test car.

Yours in motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

 

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