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Audi Q5

Q5

Audi logo1 Mar 2009

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

THE newest member of Audi’s Q family is now available in Australia with the launch of its mid-sized Q5 SUV. Joining the seven-seat Q7 as the Volkswagen premium brand’s second SUV, Audi believes the A4-based Q5 five-seater’s popularity will be limited only by supply, which is capped to 1000 vehicles this year.

That will make the Q5 Audi’s fourth-best-selling model in Australia this year, but Audi Australia is working hard to increase its production allocation and believes it could sell up to 1500 examples a year if it does so.

That sort of following would see the Q5 eclipse all other Audi models here except the volume-selling A4 and A3 small-cars – as well as its most direct rival in BMW’s X3.

The Q5, Audi’s most important model to be released in 2009, priced at $59,990. That money buys either the 2.0 TDI or 2.0 TFSI, while the petrol V6-powered 3.2 FSI is $10,000 more expensive at $69,990 and the flagship 3.0 TDI costs a further $2000 more at $71,900.

However, while the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol TFSI and 3.0-litre turbo-diesel TDI are available now, the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and 3.2-litre petrol versions will not arrive until late April or May.

As in Europe, all four Q5 variants come standard with Audi’s trademark ‘quattro’ torque-sensing permanent all-wheel drive system, mated to the first longitudinal engine application of the Audi’s new seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automated manual transmission, which is also standard in Australia.

Riding on a wheelbase that’s 1mm shorter than the A4’s at 2807mm, the Q5 measures 4629mm long, 1880mm wide and 1653mm high, making it 74mm shorter than the A4 Avant, but 44mm wider and a whole 216mm higher.

While it doesn’t look significantly smaller than the (5086mm) Q7, it is in fact 457mm shorter, while also being 202mm longer than Volkswagen’s (4457mm) Tiguan.

Other key dimensions include 200mm of ground clearance, a 25-degree approach angle, a 500mm maximum fording depth and 31-degree incline capability.

All Q5s also come with a standard anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC, or ESP in Audi-speak) system, which in this case comprises a selectable off-road mode that switches of traction control and extends the ESC and ABS thresholds under 70km/h.

A unique extension to the non-switchable Bosch 8.1 ESP system reduces the ESC threshold if it detects roof racks fitted to the standard aluminium roof rails – whether or not they are carrying a load, which Audi says is limited to 100kg.

The Q5 offers class-leading luggage capacity of 540 litres – extending to 1560 litres with the rear seats stowed, which is said to be enough to accommodate four golf bags. The rear bench seat slides 100mm fore/aft, is split 40/20/40 and its seatbacks can be folded via side or rear levers.

All variants feature a rear roof spoiler, LED indicators integrated into the wing mirrors, a wrap-around tailgate with integrated tail-lights, a unique headlight design with 12 LEDs and Audi’s hallmark single-frame grille with vertical bars – grey for entry-level four-cylinder variants and gloss black for the V6s.

Audi claims the Q5 also offers best-in-class aerodynamics (with a drag coefficient of 0.33Cd), acceleration and top speed, while the 2.0 TDI is said to be the most efficient in its category.

Powering the 2.0 TDI is Audi’s 1.968-litre inline DOHC four-cylinder diesel engine with a variable-geometry turbocharger and direct-injection, which produces 125kW at 4200rpm and 350Nm from 1750rpm.

With a kerb weight of 1770kg, claimed performance figures include 0-100km/h acceleration in 9.9 seconds, a 200km/h top speed, combined CO2 emissions of 179g/km and average fuel consumption of 6.8L/100km, making it exempt from luxury car tax.

Also priced under $60,000 is the Q5 2.0 TFSI, which is powered by a 155kW/350Nm (using premium unleaded petrol, at a respective 6000rpm and 4200rpm) version of the VW Group’s 1.984-litre four-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder, which is also expected to power the new Golf GTI.

It weighs 1740kg and offers claimed 0-100 acceleration in 7.2 seconds, a 222km/h top speed, average CO2 emissions of 197g/km and average fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km.

The 3.0 TDI employs the same 2.967-litre V6 turbo-diesel as other Audi models, and includes second-generation common-rail direct-injection to deliver 176kW at 4000rpm and 500Nm from just 1500rpm.

Despite an extra 125kg of kerb weight to lug, the (1865kg) V6 TDI sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.5 seconds, and a 225km/h stated top speed. Average CO2 emissions and fuel consumption as listed at 199g/km and 7.5L/100km respectively.

The Q5 3.2 FSI is just 25kg heavier than the 2.0 TDI at 1795kg, and though it is not as quick as the 3.0 TSI (0-100 in a claimed 6.9 seconds) it’s the fastest of the bunch with a 234km/h claimed top speed.

Its 3.197-litre direct-injection petrol V6 delivers 199kW at 6500rpm and 330Nm at 3000rpm, and returns average emissions and consumption of 218g/km and 9.3L/100km respectively. Like the 2.0 TFSI, the 3.2 FSI requires 95-RON unleaded.

All Q5 variants feature independent five-link front and trapezoidal-link rear suspension, Servotronic road-speed variable power steering and a maximum unbraked towing capacity of 750kg/2400kg.

Standard equipment across the range includes twin adaptive front airbags with seat position sensors, twin front side/thorax airbags, twin front/rear head curtain airbags and micro-dot vehicle identification, plus a hill descent control system that works between nine and 30km/h. Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system with 6.5-inch screen and an electromechanical parking brake are also standard.

In mid 2009 Audi added the 2.0 TDI and 3.2 FSI to the Q5 line-up.

The 2.0-litre twin-cam four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine features a variable-geometry turbocharger and direct-injection to help deliver 125kW of power at 4200rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1750 to 2500rpm.

Tipping the scales from 1770kg, the 2.0 TDI’s claimed performance figures include 0-100km/h acceleration in 9.9 seconds, a 200km/h top speed, combined CO2 emissions of 179g/km and average fuel consumption of 6.8L/100km.

In contrast, the 3.2 FSI direct-injection petrol V6 delivers 199kW at 6500rpm and 330Nm from 3000 to 5000rpm, and returns average emissions and consumption of 218g/km and 9.3L/100km respectively. It also requires 95-RON unleaded petrol.

Driving all four wheels on every Q5 – via Audi’s famous ‘quattro’ torque-sensing Torsen permanent all-wheel drive system – is a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Unlike the front-drive biased clutch-operated Haldex system, which is shared with Volkswagen models and misleadingly also carries the quattro name on Audis A3 and TT, it directs 60 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels in normal conditions, but can send 65 per cent to the front axle and 85 per cent to the rear if required.

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