3.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic
include the flagship
R8 V10 supercar,
the sleek A5 Coupe
and Cabriolet and
the Q5 premium
SUV. While some
might consider the
Q5s big brother
a shade too big for
British roads, the
Q5 is a perfect fit...
FOR THOSE WHO DON'T ALREADY KNOW, the Q5 is a five-door, five-seat
medium-size premium SUV with all-wheel drive. More significantly, it has the
same 'footprint' as a commonplace estate or saloon. And before
you get all crossed-up by the 'SUV' tag, note that underpinning
the Q5 is the platform/chassis also found beneath the bodywork of the latest
Audi A4 saloon and A5 Coupe.
Although intended primarily for on-road use, the Q5 can safely handle off-road
conditions too, thanks to the latest generation version of the company's renowned
quattro permanent all-wheel drive system: in normal driving conditions, quattro
provides 40:60 front-to-rear power distribution but, if required, can deliver
sixty-five per cent to the front and eighty-five per cent to the rear. And enhancing
the Q5's state-of-the-art status is Audi's new, unique-in-class Drive Select
Hi-tech aside, and perhaps even more pertinent for most customers, the Q5 has,
at 2.81 metres, the best wheelbase in its class which not only means
loads of room but also room for loads.
On the road the Q5 quickly makes you forget any preconceptions you may have
harboured about SUVs being big, blundering behemoths because the Q5 serves up
the sharpest, most car-like driving experience. Looks-wise, the classier Audi
has the edge over its rivals Audi's designers have cleverly blended 'tough'
with 'tasteful' and the result is a distinctive body with a coupe roofline that
looks like a smaller Q7 sleeker, yet equally imposing.
Sit inside and you can luxuriate in a genuine premium cabin while physically
appreciating that class-leading wheelbase and its spaciousness. There's generous
room in all directions for the driver and front passenger, with large well-sited
outer armrests on the door panels. Audi hasn't stinted on the equipment, either.
The 3.0-litre TDI in the top spec S line trim comes with power-operated heated
and folding door mirrors, sports seats, rear acoustic parking system, light
and rain sensors, Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED rear
lights, 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, 3-Zone electronic climate control and
a 10-speaker Audi concert sound system with single CD player and 180-watt output.
that's not all. You also get a Start/Stop button with keyless start/stop and
keyless locking/unlocking, Milan leather upholstery, auto-dimming rear-view
mirror, 4-spoke leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, full-colour driver's
information system, electro-mechanical parking brake, front and rear electric
windows (all one-shot auto up/down), S line body styling (exclusive front and
rear bumper design, S line grille, sill extensions) and matt brushed aluminium
cabin inlays plus automatic 'drive-off' central locking.
thats without doubt
the best in class,
one that is
flawlessly designed and
showcases first class
fit and finish...
There is also a host of extra-cost options taking in front seats that 'cool'
as well as 'warm', a Bang & Olufsen audio unit with a new evolution of the Multi-Media
Interface infotainment control system, adaptive cruise control (keeps the Q5
within a driver-specified distance from anything travelling ahead) and Audi
side assist and lane assist blind spot and lane departure warning systems, to
mention but a few. The options list is as long as your credit rating is good.
Worthwhile and practical factory-fitted add-ons fitted to our test car included:
Audi's Drive Select, panoramic glass sunroof (one-shot operation with a power
inner sun-blind a definite 'must-have'), adaptive cruise control, Lane
and Side Assist, Hill-Hold Assist, electrically-adjustable and heated front
seats, heated/cooled climate-controlled cup-holder (don't leave home without
one actually very useful), excellent 3D SatNav (with updatable hard disk
drive that can also store up to 4,000 music tracks), the highest level of the
Multi-Media Interface control system, rear camera screen, electric tailgate
(open and close functions) and Adaptive headlights with Xenon-plus headlamps.
But even if you opt for an entry-level Q5 you can still be sure of sitting in
a top-notch cabin that's without doubt the best in class; one that is flawlessly
designed and showcases first class fit and finish there's a palpable
feeling of top-drawer solidity from the upmarket trim and upholstery materials,
and the controls all have that 'engineered' feel to them.
Drivers will find it a treat every time they get behind the Q5's wheel. For
a start, the commanding driving position ensures maximum visibility and all
four corners are easily 'placeable'. Front and rear visual and audible parking
sensors make things even easier. The leather-wrapped steering wheel adjusts
extensively for height and reach, the powered, multi-adjustable S line sports
seats have power lumbar adjustment and extending under-thigh support and are
superbly supportive and proved comfortable on the longest trips.
intuitive Multi-Media Interface for the Audio/SatNav/System Controls is now
even better than ever (it was always very good!) it's foolproof, simple
to use and is by far the best such system of its kind. The dash is ergonomically
perfect, the dials classy and crystal clear, and the cabin detailing first class
just check out the satin chrome filigree around the switchgear. Oh, and
another excellent feature: the digital speed read-out in the Driver Information
display between the rev-counter and speedometer. Perfect!
are four engine options to choose from 2.0 TFSI with 208bhp; 3.2 FSI
with 266bhp; 2.0 TDI with 168bhp; and the 3.0 TDI with 237bhp. All are excellent
choices but we tested the top common-rail turbodiesel powerplant: the 3.0-litre
V6 TDI. It's a seriously powerful unit, generating 237bhp of power and 368lb
ft of torque from an impressively low engine speed of 1,500rpm. As our Australians
cousins would say, it's 'a real beaut'; and a perfect partner for Audi's latest
seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission.
Select set-up enables the
driver to fine-tune the
of the Q5...
Zero to 62mph acceleration takes an impressively quick 6.5 seconds. Maximum
speed is 139mph, and the official fuel consumption figures are: 37.6mpg combined;
30.7 urban; and 42.8mpg extra-urban. A week's hard driving saw a very respectable
real-life 34.9mpg overall. At 199g/km, the Q5's CO2 emissions are also relatively
green. And until the Chancellor needs some more spending money, that means just
£260 for a full year's road tax.
The turboed V6 is a lovely engine: muscular, eagerly responsive, flexible and
quiet. And mated to Audi's seven-speed double-clutch S tronic transmission,
it's a smooth and flawless performer. Steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters
(standard on this model along with the multi-function sports steering wheel)
mean you can take control of the gear changes at any point. All that torque
and 237bhp adds up to a lot of punch wherever and whenever you need it
the almost indecently-quick 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds makes passing slower
moving traffic a near-effortless manoeuvre, and steep hills are conquered at
a rate of knots that gives the impression they've been ironed flat. And when
you need to slow down you'll find the progressive brakes to be completely reassuring.
Added to which the V6 TDI it so refined: even under full-bore acceleration it
doesn't really sound diesel-ish at all; and at motorway speeds you're hardly
aware of it, which means long-haul journeys can be made in an extremely relaxed
manner helped by the great seats and refined ambience. You'll find that
road, wind and mechanical noise are all as well suppressed in the Q5 as they
are on a similarly priced executive car.
behind the wheel of a Q5 and you don't have to travel many miles to discover
its core appeal it's very enjoyable to drive and probably the most car-like
to drive of all SUVs. Contributing to its fluid driveability is a lofty driving
position and steering that lets you know exactly what the wheels are doing,
and which reacts with a consistent and accurate response to driver inputs.
ride is fine, quite amazing given that our test car was running on the standard
19-inch alloys shod with 235/55 Bridgestone rubber. Surprisingly, the big wheels
don't ruin the ride or degrade the Q5's off-road performance by anything like
as much as you might expect. And with permanent all-wheel drive, the Q5 corners
with a grip you can feel in your body, staying level through bends and corners.
enjoyable to drive
and probably the most
car-like to drive
of all SUVs...
Overall it rides and handles with agility, taking speed humps and bumps smoothly,
and is without doubt one of the best mid-size SUVs to drive in. At motorway
speeds it is reassuringly stable and secure and it's easy to believe it would
remain so even at its 139mph maximum.
Audi's clever Drive Select set-up enables the driver to fine-tune the dynamic
characteristics of the car including suspension settings, steering behaviour,
throttle response and, where the S tronic transmission is fitted, transmission
shift points to suit personal preferences or prevailing road conditions.
There are three pre-set modes: Sport/Dynamic, Comfort and Auto.
You'll get great results by leaving the sytem in Auto and letting Drive Select
get on with it for you. Our Q5 spent most of its week with us in Auto because
it really does do such a competent job automatically tightening up the
steering and firming the suspension for the twisty bits, then smoothing everything
out when you're back on the straight and narrow. Select the Sport setting and
you'll discover that it, too, does exactly what it says provides a genuinely
For the record, as well as monitoring and controlling the attitude of the Q5
in everyday driving, the Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) has also been
configured to maximise traction off-road its integral anti-lock braking
system automatically recognises the consistency of the driving surface and selects
the ideal strategy for sand, gravel or loose rocks. Hill Descent Control, which
enables safe navigation of steep inclines by regulating a pre-selected speed
when driving at below 19mph, is also built in.
A neat touch: the system even incorporates a roof-rack sensor that 'tells' the
ESP if a roof rack has been mounted and adjusts its parameters to suit the resulting
shift in the centre of gravity. Other neat and very effective touches include
the switch-operated electric parking brake. This can also be set to come on
automatically whenever you stop a real boon in heavy stop-start traffic
and the real good news is that you can drive away without further ado
as it releases automatically once you press on the accelerator.
Front accommodation is roomy and there's an impressive amount of space in the
rear of the Q5, not only for back seat passengers but also for load carrying.
As well as the usual fold/recline, the rear seats can be slid forwards by as
much as 100mm. And even with five aboard the boot is pretty large 540
litres. But fold down the rear seats easy using the remote release levers
in the luggage compartment and you'll have a flat cargo bay capable of
accommodating up to 1,560 litres of whatever you want to load into it.
Would we buy one? Absolutely! This is a car that's as close to all-round perfect
as you can hope to buy. Plus points include the first class image, performance,
refinement, spaciousness, comfort, build quality, all-round ability and, compared
to the competition, a reasonable price. As you can see from our comments, it's
truly hard to fault. But most of all we like the Q5 because it really is so
good to drive. Buy one! MotorBar
Q5 3.0 TDI quattro S line S tronic | £36,755
Maximum speed: 139mph | 0-62mph: 6.5 seconds | Overall test MPG: 34.9mpg
Power: 237bhp | Torque: 368lb ft | CO2 199g/km | Insurance group 17