The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Audi Q5 has fi­nally ar­rived in South Africa, af­ter mak­ing its in­ter­na­tional de­but in late 2016, and we sam­pled the ex­ec­u­tive pre­mium SUV in the West­ern Cape.

Driven - - Launched - Re­port by BERNIE HELLBERG | Im­ages © AUDI SOUTH AFRICA

There’s no room for er­ror in the pre­mium SUV mar­ket nowa­days. If you want to com­pete, you’ve got to go all in and be the best. And Audi’s best, it would seem, has again come in the form of a com­pact pre­mium SUV. By im­prov­ing on the for­mula that led to al­most 12,000 of the first gen­er­a­tion Q5 be­ing sold here since in­cep­tion, the In­gol­stadt brand likely hopes to con­tinue that suc­cess with the new car. And new it is. Well, mostly.

Un­der the skin, the Q5 is a whole dif­fer­ent beast, with Audi bring­ing the full might of their tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess to bear on the Q5.

The car is larger than the pre­vi­ous, yet it cuts a rather sim­i­lar sil­hou­ette to its older sib­ling, although the head­lights and grille setup have been sub­stan­tially en­hanced. It may be big­ger, but it is also lighter, thanks to Audi’s clever use of light­weight ma­te­ri­als in the over­all de­sign.


Launch­ing with three en­gine op­tions – a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel and turbo petrol, and a V6 3.0-litre tur­bocharged leviathan – and all three were driven dur­ing the launch event.

Audi fleshes out the lineup with two vari­ants of ei­ther the petrol or diesel ver­sions, while all mod­els get au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and the lat­est gen­er­a­tion qu­at­tro all-wheel-drive sys­tem.

En­try to the range is at R698,000 for the stan­dard 2.0 TDI qu­at­tro, while its petrol equiv­a­lent tips the scale at a slightly meatier R747,500.

The SQ5 flag­ship is decked out in unique kit and com­mands a cool R1,044,000 sticker price.


We have long ad­mired the min­i­mal­ist yet func­tional Audi in­te­rior de­sign phi­los­o­phy, and In­gol­stadt’s in­te­rior en­gi­neers have man­aged an ex­cep­tional cabin yet again.

Nat­u­rally, trim level is dic­tated by price (there is a R50,000 jump from base to Sport grades) and most im­ported Q5s will likely be fit­ted with some op­tional spec that will, equally likely, be up­sold to cus­tomers from the dealer floor.

The list of dis­cre­tionary ex­tras is ex­ten­sive, although Audi has been rel­a­tively gen­er­ous with lev­els of stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion from the base model up­ward. On the out­side, Xenon head­lights, a tyre mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem on the 17” al­loy wheels, and rear park as­sist is stan­dard, while the in­te­rior re­ceives Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, au­to­matic climate con­trol, and USB con­nec­tiv­ity.

Ob­vi­ously, the list of avail­able in­te­rior en­hance­ments is ex­ten­sive, if not al­ways nec­es­sary. At launch, all mod­els were fit­ted with Audi’s Vir­tual Cock­pit, which is on its worst day one of the best in­ter­ac­tive driver in­stru­ment in­ter­faces on the mar­ket. Sure, you’ll have to fork out an ad­di­tional R33,000 (R7,000 for the in­ter­face and R26,000 for MMI Nav­i­ga­tion Plus), but the over­all im­prove­ment of the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is thor­oughly worth it. Audi’s smart­phone in­ter­face is also ad­vised, which will set you back R4,180.


There was never a doubt in my mind that Q5 two point oh would be a win­ner; af­ter all, it’s built on the same MLB plat­form as its larger Q7 sib­ling. The driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is thus pre­dictably smooth, with the op­tional air sus­pen­sion adding ride op­tions be­tween Com­fort and Dy­namic.

Low lev­els of noise vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness (NVH) char­ac­terise the new Q5, with wind noise be­ing al­most im­per­cep­ti­ble at high speed.

Even in diesel guise, there is lit­tle to no cabin in­tru­sion of er­rant noises, de­spite hav­ing am­ple and a track record for rea­son­able fuel con­sump­tion.



The out­go­ing SQ5 was a rea­son­able enough per­former to cre­ate a small yet pur­pose­ful niche fol­low­ing for the hot cross­over. Now, Audi has trans­planted the S5’s 3.0-litre V6 into the new Q5, given it a Porsche-de­rived eight-speed dual clutch trans­mis­sion, and specced it to the hilt with tech good­ies.

It is a smart per­former, and at launch was the ab­so­lute pick of the bunch.

Churn­ing out 260 kW and 500 Nm of torque, the new SQ5 is claimed to see off the zero to 100-km/h sprint in 5.6 sec­onds. It will then run com­fort­ably up to its lim­ited max­i­mum speed of 250 km/h, a claim that we don’t doubt at all. It sounds the part too, de­liv­er­ing a sim­i­lar ex­haust note than the S5 – from whence the en­gine cometh – and an equally sexy turn of speed.


Fir­ing the first salvo in what prom­ises to be a bat­tle royal in the pre­mium SUV seg­ment in 2018, Audi has timed the in­tro­duc­tion per­fectly to co­in­cide with new or up­dated of­fer­ings from most of its ri­vals; in­clud­ing the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, and the much an­tic­i­pated Jaguar E-Pace. It is ac­com­plished, re­fined, and now more driv­able, although it is vis­ually not as dis­tinc­tive as the new Q7 when it ar­rived, there is lit­tle doubt that Audi fans who are look­ing to up­grade or re­place will take a se­ri­ous look at the Q5.

Audi pro­vides a stan­dard one-year un­lim­ited mileage war­ranty on all its cars and in­cludes a 5-year/100,000 km main­te­nance plan on the Q5.

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