Audi Q5 is lighter, and even better
BIG things are expected of the new Q5, not least which is reclaiming the mantle as most popular mid-size prestige SUV. First impressions indicate bigger, better appointed Q5 could pull it off, despite serious opposition from the likes of the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Porsche Macan.
A new chassis and usual focus on shaving weight make the car up to 90kg lighter than its predecessor.
The combined effect is make Q5 a better-handling and performing vehicle, while cutting claimed fuel use 5.3L/100km.
The safety suite is also improved, with autonomous emergency braking up to 85km/h, cross-traffic assist, exit warning to prevent “dooring”
cyclists, blind-spot warning and semi-automated parking.
The Q5 won’t appear in dealerships until late June there will be a pair of fourcylinder engines at launch.
Starting $65,900 before on-roads, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel gets “Design” styling package. Standard kit includes 18-inch wheels, powered tailgate, three-zone aircon, seven-inch infotainment screen with satnav and digital radio
Apple/Android mirroring. Opt for the Sport line — as Audi expects 70 per cent of buyers to do Q5 TDI rises $70,700, adding adaptive LED headlamps, sports front seats, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, 8.3-inch screen, DVD player, 10-speaker audio, 20-inchers Audi’s acclaimed digital display.
Initially, the 2.0-litre petrol engine will be headline act and is priced from $73,500. With 185kW/370Nm, it propels
Q5 to 100km/h in a lively 6.3 seconds.
Sports line standard on the petrol variant. An SQ5 will arrive soon after launch.
ON THE ROAD
The Audi is quite the revelation. On coarse-chip roads around Canberra there’s a whisper of wind noise at highway pace; muted murmur from 285mm wide tyres and vague impression the turbo diesel engine has changed note as result of a heavy right foot.
The subdued auditory experience is matched by a studiously neutral drive. There’s more feel through the steering wheel, less roll in corners and very little reaction to big bumps potholes that would have shunted previous model a off line.
It is still tuned for comfort rather than outright cornering prowess but it evident this chassis going to let the engineers develop a much more engaging SQ5.
Keen drivers may want tick the box for adaptive dampers but there’s little to fault with standard suspension at speeds most Q5 drivers will observe. Push too hard and a nearimperceptible impression of the torque vectoring moderating the power to help you get through.
Inside out, technology is easy use and effective, right down the aircon controls that no longer have printed indicators for their functions.
As your finger falls on buttons a digital display above them highlights respective functions — at first bewildering, it becomes intuitive. The configurable “virtual cockpit” driver’s display is just as hi-tech and just easy to use.
adaptive cruise control is among the better examples, though there’s no facility for the car temporarily take over steering duties.
The only blemish on Q5’s character — at least with turbo diesel is the delay in resuming progress lights when auto stop-start active. The accelerator depressed, car fires up … and then considers its options before taking off.
I switched it off for the sake of sanity but choosing dynamic mode in sevenmenu drive select options has the same effect.
It is worth noting the TDI uses a fuel additive to help curb emissions. Audi says
will last beyond 12 months/15,000km service interval, so it be scheduled top-up — owners won’t have to worry about when refuelling.
As refined as white sugar, the second-generation Q5 whets the appetite for raw version that is SQ5.