Compact SUV’s are all the rage now, and the Q5 has always stood out as one of the very best. It now is rejuvenated recently, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to have an extended test drive with the 2 liter 190 HP Diesel version, equipped with the formidable S Tronic transmission and last but not least 4WD of course.
You can imagine that we enjoyed the style, sportiness and refined experience of this lavishly equipped and powerful Audi…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Grace and style
How we just love Audi styling. The Q5 is well proportioned and timelessly styled from any angle, and the somewhat bolder grille suits the Q5 very well. The Navarra Blue metallic paint added that extra touch of elegance, and the 5 spoke 19-inch alloy wheels gave this Q5 a perfect stance.
The atmosphere of elegance and refinement is continued in the interior. You are sliding into Alcantara-leather seats, and your eyes rest on the virtual instruments, which are one of the best styled in the industry. Indeed, our test car came with the so-called “Virtual Cockpit” option. In your line of vision, you can select larger or smaller dials for speed and revs, and when you select the smaller ones, there is enough room on this 12,3 inch color display to show Google earth or “classic” 3D map information right in front of you between these instruments. And when your route guidance is active, it is permanently displayed within the speedometer.
With the VIEW button on the multifunctional steering wheel you can toggle between the different display modes, and indeed it is beautifully thought out.
Our test car also came with MMI Navigation Plus and MMI Touch, and in the center console one had a 8,3 inch HD-color display.
That special Audi driving experience…
A perfect seating position is soon found, and the driving enjoyment can really begin. Pushing the starting knob one is again surprised by the utter smoothness of this diesel engine, which has a docility and silence which totally belies its high power level. Audi has reached a level of drivetrain refinement which is totally uncanny, and it indeed is honed close to perfection. Not the slightest vibration is felt, and at crawling urban speeds as well as fast cruising speeds, this unit is virtually inaudible.
Otherwise, this 2 liter engine has masterful responsiveness, with ample torque being available right across the rev range. In combination with the 7 speed dual-clutch transmission it gives you tons of driving pleasure, as a constant, smooth power flow is always at your fingertips in every driving situation.
The performance figures tell you the story: the 0 to 100 sprint is an effortless exercise absolved in merely 7,9 seconds, top speed is a whispering 218 km/h. Of course, different driving modes can be selected, and when you are in a more sporting mood, engine and gearbox will be even more responsive to your right foot, but given the immediacy of the reactivity to any abrupt change in throttle position in any driving mode, we opted more often than not for the “comfort” mode.
Suffice to say that this Audi Q5 is wonderfully efficient, with consumption of course very much dependent on how you drive it. Drive it with restraint and anticipation, and this Audi will reward you with average consumption between 6 to 7,5 liters, which is quite impressive given the 4WD layout and the kerb weight of 1770 kg. For the record, the manufacturer quotes 5,3 liters/100 km as EC average for category 5 tires, and 138 g/km of CO2 emissions.
The superb refinement and pulling of this diesel unit is achieved with state of the art technology. What to think of a common rail system with 2000 bar pressure using solenoid injectors, eight-hole nozzles and a VTG turbocharger? Torque delivery is impressive with 400 Nm being available between 1700 and 3000 rpm, and this translates of course in very lively performance.
Again, it must be stressed here, as pointed out by the BMW top people who we interviewed at the Brussels show, that diesel engines are part of the solution, not the problem. In our opinion, politicians should stop adding more to the present panic about diesel engine emissions. It distorts markets, affects resale values of present fleets, and provokes unnecessary economic damage both to fleet and private owners alike. Electric cars do also have a considerable environmental impact, certainly in the manufacturing process, and also when the electric energy they use is not durable, but is generated by fossil sources, their eco footprint is far from neutral.
The Audi joy of driving…
Our test car was equipped with adaptive pneumatic suspension, which also controls ride height automatically. Through the MMI system, different driving modes can be selected, notably automatic, dynamic, comfort, allroad and lift/allroad. As said, we left it in “comfort” mode for most of our test. The rear of the car can also be lowered to make loading/unloading easier.
This electronically controlled air suspension warrants precise and agile cornering, with body roll being totally controlled when adopting a more spirited driving style.
This Q5 does not only feel at home in mountain passes and country roads, it also is masterfully stable on Autobahnen.
Of course, this Audi came with the usual host of driving and parking aids, and makes this Q5 a very pleasant companion in urban driving conditions.
The second generation Q5 totally convinces – again. Its drivetrain is totally superb, smooth, powerful and frugal.
Driving dynamics are also top notch, and makes this SUV a joy to drive. Add to all this the legendary Audi style and finish, displaying state of the art craftmanship and attention to detail, and you will agree that owning and driving this Audi is an exquisite pleasure and joy, for years to come…
Hans Knol ten Bensel