Quattro permanent all- wheel drive has underpinned Audi's drivetrain tech, so it's interesting to see a change in emphasis with the latest generation of the brand's popular Q5 SUV. As part of what is overall an evolutionary update, the Q5 gets “quattro on demand” as standard across the range. Effectively, in normal driving the Q5 defaults to more efficient front- wheel drive. Drive goes to the rear axle only on demand, up to 100 per cent if needed. This smart system permanently monitors the route, driver and driving status and is able to act predictively, if needed. It uses 150 sensors delivering data 100 times a second to allow it to calculate the needed intervention about half a second in advance. Audi says it needs only 200 milliseconds to fully activate quattro. Parameters monitored range from road friction coefficient to wheel rotation speed, engine torque, steering angle, accelerator position, road slope and driving style. Audi's drive select system provides up to seven driving modes, including off-road. Chassis options available on the new Q5 include adaptive air suspension with five-position ride height. Class-leading efficiency highlights include a drag factor of 3,0 (four- cylinder models), auto transmission freewheel function and thrifty two-litre turbocharged engines: a 140 kw/400 N.m diesel and a 185 kw/ 370 N.m petrol. The diesel gets 4,9 litres/ 100 km yet storms from standstill to 100 km/h in 7,9 seconds.
Price: from R698 000