Audi Q5 first drive

Audi Q5 Audi wheeled out the latest and revised, if not exactly totally new, Q5 mid-sized SUV line-up at their recent end of year range review for the motoring media.

The new Q5 prices range from £30,635 to £42,535 and deliveries to customers are just beginning.

The latest Q5 range combines subtle styling revisions and equipment enhancements with power increases and economy gains of up to 15 per cent and improved performance.  The average price has increased by £500 per vehicle across the range but Audi say this is more than offset by the added specification, including Bluetooth, and improvements in performance and fuel economy.

Diesel engines account for 90 per cent of Q5 UK sales, 60 per cent of total sales go to retail customers and 58 per cent of customers choose an automatic transmission.  From their Q line up the Q5 is marginally their best selling SUV range in the UK with 7,000 annual sales. Next comes the smaller Q3 with 6,000 sales followed by the huge Q7 with 3,000 annual registrations.  More Q models will come as Audi look to extend their premium SUV family.

Gillian Headings, Audi’s Q5 product manager, said, “There is continued growth in all areas of the UK’s SUV/4x4 market. Our figures for the first nine months of this year show that UK sales of B-segment compact SUVs were 143,000 units, a 9.0 per cent increase over the same period last year. Sales of C-segment mid-sized SUVs were 47,800, an increase of 3.0 per cent and sales of large D-segment SUVs and 4x4s were 35,000 units, a 2.0 per cent increase over the same period of last year.”  These figures include two and four wheel drive, five and seven seat SUV models.

Audi Q5 She said, “The growth in sales is being driven by the constant bad weather, the improved performance of SUVs in terms of fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions and they are seen more and more as aspirational vehicles.”

The updated Q5 has arrived in the UK with five engine options: three TDI diesel and two TFSI petrol units. All combine direct fuel injection with forced induction and a start-stop system is standard in all versions.

There is the 2.0 TDI with 143PS/320Nm of power and torque, the best selling 2.0-litre TDI 177PS/ 380Nm and the 3.0 TDI delivering 245PS/ 580Nm. The new 2.0-litre, TFSI, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine offers 225PS/350Nm. The new supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI, V6 petrol engine is also new to the Q5 and replaces the naturally aspirated 3.2-litre FSI. This powerful and efficient engine delivers 272PS/400 Nm of torque.

The four-cylinder engines are linked to a manual six-speed transmission as standard.

The seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission is standard for the 3.0 TDI quattro and optional for the 2.0 TDI quattro, while the eight-speed tiptronic automatic is standard for the 3.0 TFSI quattro and optional for the 2.0 TFSI quattro.

Audi Q5 The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is standard for all launch versions in the UK. Normally its centre differential distributes engine power to the axles at a ratio of 40:60 in favour of the rear, but it can rapidly redistribute the power at high speed when necessary.

The chassis of the latest Audi Q5 has subtle changes to its suspension system which offer big improvements in terms of handling, overall refinement and ride comfort.  These significant improvements are thanks to changes to the spring, shock absorber and anti-roll bar settings. The new electromechanical power steering system gives the driver a better feel for the road with direct gearing. Audi’s optional Drive Select system further tunes the handling characteristics. Overall the latest Q5 shows its biggest improvement just in the way it handles and the ride comfort.

The styling of the latest Q5 with its coupe-like roof line and wrap-around tailgate has been subtly refreshed. The design of the headlights has been modified, and the xenon units that are standard in S line versions and optional for all others are now framed by new-look LED daytime running lights that form a continuous band surrounding more of the lens. Adaptive
lights with dynamic cornering lights and static turning lights are available as an option.

The interior of the Audi Q5 has also been subject to understated changes. More of the controls are now trimmed in chrome and modifications have been made to the steering column control stalks, the ignition key and the instruments. The driver’s Information System with its new ‘driver rest’ recommendation function is another revised feature fitted as standard.

Audi Q5 Three specification levels are available in the UK – SE, S line and S line plus. All include alloy wheels varying in size from 18 to 20 inches, leather upholstery, electronic climate control, the Driver’s Information System, the Multi Media Interface linked to a 6.5-inch colour monitor, rear acoustic parking, light and rain sensors, a hill descent assist function and split/folding rear seats.

At Audi’s annual end of year media range review I had a quick drive in the best selling Q5 model of all the variants, the 2.0-litre TDI 177PS quattro S line with S tronic automatic transmission.  This model carries a price tag of £35,830 on-the-road.  The addition of extra spec and neat styling changes will be welcome but the biggest improvement is to the handling and ride quality. The changes to the suspension have noticeably improved ride comfort and the handling and steering responses are the most noticeable improvements. Even the fitting of 19-inch wheels for the S line over the 18-inch ones from the standard SE variant do not now compromise the ride and handling qualities as they have in the past.  The new electro-mechanical power steering gives improved feedback to the driver over the now commonplace energy saving electronic systems.

The revised  177PS (175bhp) engine characteristics give a more responsive edge from the four cylinder turbodiesel unit and the 380Nm (280lb ft) of torque from 1,750rpm allows the 7-speed auto gearbox to seamless shift from ratio to ratio.  Top speed is 124mph but the acceleration from rest to 62mph is more impressive at only 9.0 seconds. The new standard fit start-stop function is fast acting. The quattro all wheel drive system ensures sure-footed on-road grip and will give a useful level of traction for light off road driving. 

MILESTONES. Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic, 5-Door SUV. Price: £35,830. Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, four cylinder TDI turbodiesel with intercooler and start-stop, 175bhp, 280lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm, 7-speed automatic, quattro permanent all wheel drive. Performance: 124mph, 0 to 62mph 9.0 seconds, 47.1mpg, (34.4mpg on short country road test), CO2 159g/km, VED road tax £170, BIK company car tax 25%. Insurance group: 25. Load space: 540 to 1,560-litres.Braked towing weight: 2,000kg. For: Improved ride comfort, more controlled handling, better steering feedback, spacious for passengers and load carrying, upgraded interior. Against: Costly to buy but no more than other premium brand mid range SUVs.   Miles Better News Agency

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