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Car reviews - Audi - Q5 - range

Launch Story

Audi logo14 Dec 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

IMPROVED VALUE, more efficient yet powerful drivetrains, and the adoption of new driver-assistance and multimedia packages are the linchpins of Audi’s revised Q5 series.

On sale now, with the base 2.0 TDI quattro priced from the same $62,200 plus on-road costs as before, the Series II facelift is fairly minor cosmetically, limited to a redesigned grille, bonnet, bumpers, wheels, and lighting, while more upmarket trim is used inside.

The changes are designed to keep the four-year-old luxury SUV range ahead in the sales race against newer competition like the second-generation BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque, which are closing in on the Ingolstadt-built Audi.

However, unlike the others, no two-wheel drive Q5 is in the pipeline for Australia, owing to the unavailability of automatic transmission for the time being, meaning that a 40:60 torque-split quattro all-wheel drive system continues to propels all variants here.

Nevertheless, a more compelling value proposition is central to the Audi’s appeal, with around $6500 of previously optional equipment now standard on the entry-level 2.0-litre four-cylinder models at no extra cost compared with the outgoing vehicles.

These include 18-inch alloy wheels on 235/60 tyres (up from 17-inch items), ‘Drive Select’ (adjustment things like for steering assistance, throttle response and transmission shift points), tyre pressure monitoring, driver fatigue detection, parking brake auto-hold, under-seat storage, keyless entry with push-button start, and electric adjustment for the front passenger seat.

On 3.0-litre V6 variants there is a claimed $7000 of added value including all the aforementioned extras plus satellite navigation, a self-dipping exterior mirror and a reversing camera.

However prices of six-cylinder petrol and diesel Q5s rise by $1100 and $500 respectively.

At the heart of the Series II’s advances are all-new or revised direct-injection, forced-induction engine choices that incorporate efficiency-boosting idle-stop and regenerative braking plus an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

The latter is only fitted to petrol variants, replacing the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission that continues on diesel variants.

Audi expect about 40 per cent of buyers to choose the least expensive variant, with its 1968cc 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel now producing 130kW of power (up 5kW) at 4200rpm and 380Nm of torque (up 30Nm) between 1750 and 2500rpm.

The 1770kg 2.0 TDI quattro S-tronic averages 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres (a 13 per cent improvement), emits 159 grams of CO2 per kilometre and takes nine seconds to accelerate from standstill to 100km/h, on the way to a 200km/h top speed.

Sticking with four cylinders, the $62,900, 1755kg, 2.0 TFSI quattro with the new eight-speed Tiptronic is expected to snare about 25 per cent of volume.

Its all-new petrol unit offers 10kW more than its equivalent predecessor (165kW from 4500 to 6250rpm) but the same 350Nm (between 1500 and 4500rpm).

Fuel consumption is eight per cent better than before at 7.9L/100km, with CO2 output at 184g/km and it takes 7.1s to hit 100km/h before topping out at 222km/h.

Another 25 per cent of Q5 customers are expected to plonk for the $75,500, 1860kg 3.0 TDI quattro S-tronic, powered by an uprated (and 25kg lighter) version of the old 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, delivering 4kW more at 180kW (from 4000 to 4500rpm) but a hefty 80Nm extra at 580Nm between 1750 and 2500rpm.

It averages 6.4L/100km (15 per cent better than before), emits 169g/km, reaches 100km/h in 6.5s, and has a 225km/h V-max.

The least popular Q5 variant – expected to account for 10 per cent of sales – is the one with some of the biggest changes.

Replacing the old naturally aspirated 3.2-litre FSI quattro Tiptronic, the $74,100, 1840kg, 3.0 TFSI quattro gains a new, 2995cc double overhead cam supercharged petrol V6 that kicks out 200kW (5kW more than its predecessor) between 4780 and 6500rpm, and 400Nm (up 70Nm) between 2150 and 4780rpm.

Fuel consumption is down nine per cent at 8.5L/100km, CO2 output is 199g/km, it takes 5.9s to reach 100km/h and maxes out at 234km/h.

The switch from a hydraulic to electromechanical powered rack and pinion steering helps reduce fuel consumption out on all new Q5s to the tune of about 0.3L/100km – as does a new intelligent engine thermal management on four-cylinder versions.

That, in turn, led to Audi recalibrating the five-link wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, with softer springs, stiffer dampers, and different anti-roll bars in order to improve ride comfort.

Additionally there is improved (and less expensive) radar-based adaptive cruise control availability, with low-speed automatic emergency braking, as well as the option of variable-ratio steering, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-change warning – now with torque to steering input to help avoid an accident.

Changes are minor inside, and include a redesigned steering wheel, clearer instrument markings, new trim colours, higher quality materials, more intuitive switch control for the remote audio, and improved air-conditioning efficiency.

Among the many options on offer are an off-road styling pack, black styling pack, exclusive pack, and S-Line pack.

Roof crossbars with a 75kg rating are standard and the electronic stability control system can take roof-mounted loads into account.

The Q5 scores a five-star ANCAP rating, and includes eight airbags.

Although most of the bodywork is made from steel, the bonnet, tailgate, front cross member and crash boxes all use aluminium to help save weight and/or beef up strength.

The Q5 is Audi’s bestseller in Australia, ahead of the ageing A4. For this year, the company hopes the premium crossover will break the 2800 unit barrier.

Year-to-date sales are at the 2618 mark, up 1.6 per cent compared with last year and in front of the BMW X3 (2310 – up 23.6 per cent), Volvo XC60 (2035 – up 47.6 per cent), and still-fresh Range Rover Evoque (2338).

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