Audi Q5

By Jonathon Taylor

It’s said the only constant is change. When it comes to the world of automobiles this couldn’t be more apt, as the car’s evolution has been as relentless as it is impressive.

And within any evolving system, some changes are more startling than others. Illustrating this is Audi, which may well be the most rapidly advancing organism with wheels.

It’s as if Audi is already heading inland and exploring new terrain while contemporaries are stuck in the mud, flippers flapping and gills gasping, not yet ready to make their first amphibious steps.

This is illustrated in the way car makers far and wide are scrambling to not beat Audi, but simply keep up.

Where’s the proof you ask? Well for starters there’s the Audi S5 — the finest looking saloon on the road. Period. And don’t forget the R8, which is to the current crop of supercars that which Sophia Loren is to today’s starlets — a class above, delivering ride quality, performance and handling to make your head spin.

So with the saloon and supercar sections sorted, Audi engineers turned their attention to other offerings and that brings us here; sitting behind the wheel of the Q5 3.0 TDI Quattro — Audi’s first compact sport-utility.

The Q5 sits under the ‘SUV’ banner and that’s fair enough. At 4.6m long and 1.8m wide, it’s still a fair sized beast, but the beauty is the Q5’s large when you need it and compact where you want it.

There’s heaps of back seat leg room and a 540 litre boot that opens inwards to create serious carrying space. But the real trick, when you’re behind the wheel, is you don’t notice all this space because of how the Q5 drives. It’s tight, taut and terrific, combining the space and comfort of an SUV with the driving dynamics of a coupé.

What it does ooze is refinded good looks. Audi’s muscular front grill is a design coup d’état and probably the envy of every auto manufacturer on the planet, with the two honourable exceptions of Aston Martin and Rolls Royce.

But as a whole, the Q5’s lines seem to make sense, delivering an overall sense of proportion.

Power is delivered via a fuel injected, three-litre six diesel engine. It delivers 176 kW to take you, courtsey of the full time quattro power train and seven speed S tronic dual clutch transmission, from 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and from there to 225 km/h. So forget the whole diesel stereotype — floor this thing and you’re away!

It sits on little more than 1500rpm at 100Kph and not only can you not hear it, but the low revs and Audi’s valve lift timing system help reduce fuel consumption — so you’ve got budget motoring in a rocket. This model, the three litre diesel, costs $99, 900 and the higher spec S version is yours for $107,900. The Q5 also comes in a 2 litre diesel and 2 litre and 3.2 litre petrol variations.

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Drive-time experience

The ride quality and handling arrive courtesy of five-link front axle and trapezoidal-link rear axle suspension, an electronic stability programme and of course Audi’s permanent all-wheel drive “quattro”, with the basic setting giving a 40 percent front, 60 percent rear, axle bias.

That’s all well and good, but the proof to this layman isn’t found inside technical details, but in how it drives — how it feels.

Well, it feels fantastic and the real magic behind this, the one thing that allows all the other performance charactaristics to shine, is the seven speed S tronic duel clutch transmission. It really is genius.

Basically the next gear is already selected before you change to it, so changes are fast and fluent, allowing continuous engine control and/or power. Better yet is, in automatic mode, you can change gears at will courtesy of the “flappy panel” changers on the steering column. The key here is they aren’t flappy at all, but rather tight, delivering a defined click with the amount of travel made by the lever very small.

Flappy panel shifters have taken some flak because of delay times between pulling the lever and the gear change being made. But the Q5’s dual clutch elliminates this, shedding a whole new light on flappy panel shifting, allowing it to finally work as was always intended.

Inside, once you’re settled into the sea of leather, the seemingly simple dashboard and console layout belies its depth of capability. Audi’s Multi Media Interface really is exactly what it says, with sat-nav, hard disks access, CD, DVD and MP3, iPod, USB and bluetooth connections. Best of all is the Bang & Olufsen sound system — sublime.

Navigation through the multi-media, stereo, air con and car settings is logical and becomes intuitive in no time at all. For an on-board system of such depth and capability to be this easy to use is impressive — very.

Alternatives to the Q5 in luxury car market are few, far between and quite frankly, a little less evolved; the only real contender being BMW’s X6.

All in all Audi’s first compact sport-utility is exactly what it claims to be. It’s sporty, insanely practical and if this represents the direction not just Audi, but motoring in general is taking, then let the times keep on a-changing.

Audi Q5 3.0 TDI specifications

Retail pricing ……………………………………………………..$99,900

Cubic Capacity: ……………………………………………………….. 2967

Power (KiloWatts/rpm) …………………………………………….. 176

Torque (Nm/rpm) ………………………………..500/1500-3000

Cylinders/valves per cylinder ……………………………………. 6/4

Fuel injection system …………………………………Common rail

Drive train …………………………………………………………. Quattro

Transmission ……………………………………… S tronic 7 Speed

Acceleration 0-100km/h sec ……………………………….. 6.5sec

Top Speed (km/h) ……………………………………………………. 225

Alloy Wheels ……………… 18” 6-spoke Parabola design

Tyres ………………………………………………………………….. 235/60

Fuel consumption, l/100 km (CO2 emission) …… 7.7 (199)

  • ABS with electronic brake pressure distribution and electronic brake assist
  • ASR traction control system with EDL (electronic diff lock) and ESP
  • Driver and passenger airbags, front side airbags and sideguard head
  • Airbag system, front passenger airbag key deactivation, ISOFIX Child seat anchorages front and rear
  • Anti theft alarm with interior surveillance and vehicle immobiliser
  • Audi Cover Assistance — 3-year cost free motoring
  • Galvanised body — 12-year anti-corrosion warranty

Author: magazinestoday

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