Audi's Q5 is practical yet pleasant
Munich, Germany – Might as well get used to it : the utility vehicles are there to stay. And they will keep on occupying an important share of the market. If full size vehicles have already lost their popularity, the go-betweens are about to be scooted over by the small-sized utility vehicles. The introduction of the Audi Q3 proves it. Sadly, for now, the latter still isn’t available in Canada. Therefore, the Q5 has become a prised good and its rarity at the dealerships makes it even more desirable.
But why is that? The answer is simple: the Q5 offers the best of both worlds, SUV and car. You only need to drive one understand. For 2013, the Q5 is the 2nd best seller of the Ingolstadt brand, after the very popular A4. Since its introduction on the market in 2008, over 430 000 units were sold. No less than 170 000 have been sold only last year. It shows the extent of the interest it gets. China and North America are the best territories for the Q5. In Canada only, delivery delays vary between 3 and 4 months!
Like for the majority of the line up until now, the Q5 receives very few modifications. A more defined grille is located at the front. The shield has been slightly reworked and a line of LED has been added to the headlights. The Q5 keeps its well-suited curves. The silhouette easily associated with the brand has become a symbol of its success. I even received comments from customers that the Q5 looks more like a car than a crossover. The rear section remains unchanged except for the the lights that display a different design when lighted. Other modification, note the exhaust pipes that have been flatted out at the bottom.
For the cabin, higher end materials have been picked, same as the A4 and A6. Many commands have been simplified, such as the heated seats and the controls of many different accessories accessible via the central command. The new Q5 is equipped with all sorts of new technologies such as the adaptive cruise control, lane change signal and a sonar in case of drowsiness. That system registers the driver’s habits and is capable of recognizing when these habits change. With the help of a camera, it also notices changes in the facial features and in the vehicle’s trajectory making it possible to analyze the information if the changes are too radical, therefore allowing for an acoustic signal to warn the driver that it might be time to take a break.
The European versions come equipped with the Google Earth navigation system and a wifi internet base that allows up to 8 devices to be connected at the same time. But don’t expect to see that option become available in Canada for now.
3 engines in America
The Q5 2013 will be offered with the engine options. First off will be a brand new, 4 cylindres engine. This novelty offers 225 hp and a 259 lb-ft torque. Teamed up with a 6-gear automatic transmission, the Q5 can make the 0-100 in 7.6 seconds with an average fuel consumption of 7,6L/100km. This new engine was worked by the engineers to be made lighter. They also managed to reduce the friction between the mobile pieces. The result is a fuel economy of over 15%.
The V6 engine has also been improved. It also benefits of the additional fuel economy. The 3.0L V6 produces over 272 hp for a 295 lb-ft torque. It also comes equipped with the 8-gear Tiptronic transmission. But new this year is the hybrid motor. Already offered for over a year in Europe, the cleaner version of the Q5 will hit Canadian soil shortly. It will come equipped with the same new 2.0L enngine, assisted with a 40 kW electric engine of 54 hp. The combined power totals 245hp. With the 8-speed gear box, the Q5 can make the 0-100 in 7,1 seconds. The estimated fule consumption is of 6,9l/100km. If you’re not too heavy on the gas pedal, you will be able to drive up to 3 km on electric mode.
Like many competitors, 3 different driving modes are offered, depending on your mood. The EV mode makes for a more economical driving, putting the electric engine to contribution. The D mode maximizes the usage of both engines whereas the S mode will focus on a more sportive handling.
I couldn’t finish without mentionning the SQ5 trim that completely seduced me. That high performance version comes with a V6 3.0L TDI engine, which is a turbo diesel teamed up with two compressors. This mix of technologies offers 313 hp. This version of the Q5 makes the 0-100 in less than 5.1 seconds. Despite all of this potential, the fuel consumption averages 7,2L/100km. Sadly, this trim version will not be made available in America…for now. Too bad, I really had a thing for it!
Overall, the brand new Q5 offers more advanced technologies, a new and more interesting 2.0L engine and an up-to-date hybrid system. For the rest, it remains virtually unchanged, despite a refreshed look that should have us waiting for a more complete redesign.