Success is often followed by dalliance. Not always, often. The Q5 wasn’t just one of Audi’s most successful products of all time, it also dominated the luxury SUV space, not just in India but in just about every market since its inception in 2008. At the time it was an incredibly spacious and capable on-road SUV that could do sufficiently well on untarred terrain. It married that performance very well with technology that made life inside the Q5 extremely comfy. Since then, a plethora of able alternatives have cropped up like the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar F-Pace, not to mention its traditional German rivals in the BMW X3 and the Mercedes GLC. The rivals have enjoyed a free rein and caught up with the Q5 but now Audi has had enough. It wants its pie back and it wants it now. Enter the all-new second-generation Q5. But how does it earn back the kind of dominance it enjoyed once upon a time – let’s face it – this time around its competitors are very very capable.
The new Audi Q5 will be based on the MLB platform that does duty in the new A4. The crossover is lighter than its predecessor by about 90 kilograms. Following the new design language, the new Q5 does resemble the current Q3’s fascia. There are subtle differences between the two, however these aren’t major ones. The front grille is made of a sculpturally flared Singleframe grille with a solid frame. In this one, the side profile looks again more crossover like and it seems to be lower than the outgoing version in visuals. The rear is again made up of the same LED tail lamp cluster, which we have noticed in other Audi Q vehicles. The tail lights are also available with optional dynamic indicators. The tailgate wraps around the C-pillars – a typical feature of the Q models from Audi. A diffuser insert integrates the exhaust tailpipes.
High quality black colored leather upholstery and walnut dark brown inlays on dashboard, central console and door panels give a plush look to the cabin compartment. Its cockpit is furnished with ‘Sports’ seats, which have electrical adjustment for height, seat angle, fore/aft and backrest angle. They also feature 4-way lumbar support, which further enhances the comfort. Apart from the entry level trim, its other trims have electrically adjustable front seats, wherein the driver’s seat has a memory function. The leather wrapped steering wheel has 4-spokes and is mounted with control switches for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control function. The instrument cluster has an integrated color screen along with two round shaped meters, which displays informatics like speedometer, fuel consumption, tachometer, external temperature, trip-meter, date several other notification lamps for keeping the driver up to date. The rear seat has split foldable function that helps in increasing the boot volume of car. Its front door panels have armrests featuring illuminated control switches for adjustment of all four power windows. While the central console is integrated with ergonomically positioned switches for various comfort functions of this sports utility vehicle including Drive select, there are a lot of chrome inserts given inside, which adds to its elegance. The company has also given it a number of utility based aspects, which are storage package including glove box, front seat back pockets, front and rear center armrest with storage compartment, storage box under driver’s seat and a sun glass holder, cup and bottle holders, a rear parcel shelf, door map pockets, remote fuel lid opener and many other such aspects.
It is integrated with a 3-Zone deluxe automatic AC unit with sunlight-dependent control system. It electronically regulates the air temperature, rate of air flow and distribution to keep the ambiance pleasant. It also has separate temperature control for driver and front co-passenger and its controls are given on digital display. The company has given it an advanced music interface surround sound along with 14-speakers including center speaker in the dashboard and sub-woofer in rear parcel shelf. It also has voice control technology and an additional arrow display in the driver information system with 8 passive speakers, total output 80 watts, radio with triple tuner. It is equipped with phase diversity, hard drive, MP3 player and compatible for WMA, AAC and MPEG-4. This is also integrated with an advanced cruise control with brake intervention system that maintains the set speed constant, while dealing with obstructions ahead. This series is also incorporated with parking system plus, which provides excellent assistance while parking. It features a rear view camera with display provided on MMI screen. It also offers acoustic warning signals for both front and rear, which adds to the convenience. The most important feature of this saloon is its Drive Select function featuring five different modes like efficiency, auto, dynamic, comfort and individual. Its pre-sense basic helps in networking the different vehicle systems that enables driving situations to be categorized and actions to be implemented for preventing occupants. It has features like auto release function, front center armrest, electromechanical power steering with tilt and telescopic adjustment, electrical sun blind for rear windscreen and storage package.
Initially, India is likely to get two engine options – a 2l diesel and a 2l TFSI turbo-petrol, not new engines, but as Audi promises much better than before in terms of performance and efficiency. But that much you’d expect even with a facelift, let alone a generation change. Engines usually outlive cars and both these engines have quite a bit of life left in them. Our test car was propelled by the 2-litre, 4-cylinder TFSI engine that now produces 252PS of max power and 370Nm of max torque. It comes mated to the VW family’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic which helps put down power in conjunction with the on-demand quattro all-wheel-drive system. Power is up by 27PS from the outgoing version but this gets spread out in the ratios, so you won’t immediately notice it.
The alternative fuel-efficient diesel option is good for 190PS, and I’m told it is sufficient for almost every requirement thanks largely to that 7-speed DSG gearbox. Of course, if Audi really wants to befriend the growing population of enthusiasts in India, we should see them introduce the SQ5 which brings the big daddy of the TFSI family to the party – the 3-litre turbo V6 that churns out 354PS – and the new 8-speed tiptronic transmission. But that’s for later, both engine options offered at first are expected to be more fuel-efficient and perform better – as you’d expect from the timely engine tweaks. But again, these aren’t enough of a knockout punch; they’re more technical jabs that will earn the Q5 some technical points.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
Audi has tuned the Q5’s underpinnings to offer more balanced dynamics. The new Q5 rides extremely well, taking bad roads in its stride with improved confidence. The vehicle glides over bumps with authority and never gets disturbed on even the worst of tarmac. The improved ride is reassuring considering the Q5 will also be subjected to off-road conditions. The new electromechanical steering system is light and responsive although it doesn’t convey much and is not thoroughly involving. The improvements to the ride quality come at the cost of handling, which is still very good considering the bulk of the vehicle.
The rear biased power delivery from the Quattro system ensures good levels of grip at most times. High speed stability is excellent too and the Audi Q5 remains glued to the road without giving a hint of the speeds to the occupants. There are four adjustable settings for the dampers – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. In Dynamic mode, the Audi Q5 is quite agile and offers good feedback from the steering wheel. Body roll is well contained and the Q5 has decent off-road abilities too, which is further aided by Hill Descent control. Braking performance is good and the speed shedding ability from this beast is thoroughly impressive.
All 2017 Audi Q5 models come with stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are a stand-alone option, while the Technology package includes parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system. There are no collision avoidance or lane departure technologies available.In Edmunds brake testing, a Q5 2.0T with 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet, an average distance for this class. A 3.0T Prestige with 19s and summer tires stopped in a praiseworthy 109 feet.
The 2017 Audi Q5 has quite the laundry list of improvements. From is larger size, new platform, lighter weight, more powerful engine, new quattro AWD system, and sharp new interior, the second-generation Q5 represents a huge leap forward in design and execution.Crossovers are only becoming more popular these days, so Audi should be well set up for success. We foresee sales increasing over the previous Q5 – less of course Audi does indeed jack the price up $10,000. We’ll definitely keep you posted on what transpires.