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Front-drive Audi Q5 off agenda for now

No entry: Audi has just updated its popular Q5 SUV but will not be introducing an entry-level front-wheel drive version.

Lack of auto transmission keeps Audi out of the volume 2WD end of SUV segment

Audi logo17 Dec 2012


AUDI says the lack of automatic transmission means it will not offer a front-wheel-drive Q5 in Australia in the foreseeable future.

Audi Australia product planner for the Q5 series Peter Stradwicke said Audi saw no point in complicating the Q5 range with a model (manual 2WD) that would not appeal to most buyers, and added that the smaller Q3 released earlier this year, priced from $44,800 to $56,000, was Audi’s representative in the lower end of the premium SUV class.

In Europe, the entry-level Q5 is fitted with a 105kW/320NM 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

“Audi does offer a front-wheel drive Q5 in some other markets but only as a manual … and we think the small volume potential in Australia is not worth it,” Mr Stradwicke told GoAuto at the launch of the Q5 Series II in South Australia last week.

“So the front-wheel drive option is not on the horizon.”

The least expensive Q5 – the $62,200 2.0 TDI quattro all-wheel drive – is undercut significantly by the $49,995 Range Rover Evoque eD4 2WD Pure five-door wagon and $55,490 Volvo XC60 2WD T5 Technik.

However, Audi is not alone. BMW does not yet offer a rear-wheel drive version of the second-generation X3 on sale since 2011, while Mercedes-Benz has yet to even commit to the GLK for Australia, since the existing first-generation model has not been engineered for right-hand drive all-wheel drive production.

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