The mid-size premium SUV segment is about to get hot under the collar. Audi has launched its long-awaited brand new Q5 compact SUV and the company is taking no prisoners at this point in time. The Q5 measures 4.6 metres in overall length and has a wheelbase of 2.8m. It’s 2.1m wide and 1.6m tall. For those of us badly affected by the credit crunch but still looking for a luxury SUV to get around in, the Q5 may be just what the doctor ordered.
Slotting below the massive Q7, the Q5 combines luxury with soft-road performance as well as spaciousness and versatility. One can see the family resemblance from the vehicle’s imposing front grille, the sloping roofline that emphasises sportiness and the Z-shaped bootline. The tailgate and the bonnet are both made of aluminium in order to save weight and improve overall performance.
The five-seater Q5 is fully equipped with things like optional LED daytime running lights (now typical of Audi products), leather seats, 19-inch wheels of different designs, power steering, MMI with the sat nav option and three styling packages.
Available at launch were three of the initial engine offerings being made available for sale. At the bottom of the list is the 2.0-litre TDI which makes 125kW and a stoking 350Nm of torque between 1750rpm and 2500rpm. Combined C02 emissions from the 2.0TDI are 175g/km. It is quite a drivable machine as I was able to experience during its press introduction yesterday. I got to drive the 6-speed manual version whose short-throw gearbox almost felt like it was too short, like the odd-numbered gears were not engaged when they were. It felt quite strong even on steeps with all that torque.
Above it is a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol whose power output is a high 155kW and torque of 350Nm. Audi says it will run to 100km/h from standstill in just 7.2 seconds and top off at 222km/h. A combined average fuel consumption figure of 8.5 litres/100km and C02 emissions of 192g/km are claimed. This is a strong engine and it pulls off quite admirably.
Two more engines will be sold initially in addition to the ones I’ve mentioned. A 3.2-litre FSI V6 delivers 199kW and 330Nm. Finally the 3.0-litre TDI is for turbo diesel fans who demand extra performance with their frugality. The 3.0 TDI gets 176kW and 500Nm of torque. Audi’s 7-speed S tronic gearbox can be ticked on the options box.
As a sporting SUV the Q5 proved its mettle over tight twists in the Cape mountains thanks in part to the five-link front suspension and trapezoidal-link rear suspension which use aluminium parts. Audi’s Drive Select helped keep the Q5 in shape under treacherous gravel roads. We had the optional 19-inch tyres but buyers can expect to be welcomed by 18-inchers at the base level while who can afford the 3.2 FSI and 3.0 TDI get 19-inch wheels delivered with their vehicles. Prime time pimps will be satisfied with nothing but 20-inch alloy wheels which are optional.
Customers can specify their Q5s with options like MMI with DVD screen, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports for SD cards and iPod connections, a TV tuner and a banging Bang & Olufsen sound system. Other options include a tyre pressure monitor, roller sun blinds for the rear side windows, keyless access, active cruise control and dynamic headlight cornering system.
Prices for the Audi Q5 are as follows: