New Audi Q5: Move over luxury diesel SUVs

By: |
November 01, 2021 11:13 AM

Petrol SUVs like the new Audi Q5 can be as engaging to drive as any torquey diesel ones are

After a couple of years of relative lull, Audi India made a lot of noise this year, albeit silently. The German carmaker not only launched five electric car models under the e-tron brand, but this was also the first year when probably none of its dealers sold a new diesel car. The carmaker’s petrol plus electrification strategy is in place, and the newest car under it is the petrol Q5 SUV. We drive it.

What is the Q5?

It’s a midsize luxury SUV, and competes with Mercedes-Benz GLC, Volvo XC60, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60 and BMW X3.

New design elements include a wider Singleframe grille, new bumper and higher air inlets, new alloy wheels, etc, making it look mildly sportier than the previous generation model.

Which engine powers it?

It’s the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol, mated to 7-Speed S-tronic transmission. The claimed 0-100 km/h acceleration time is 6.3 seconds, pushing it into the e-tron territory. Top speed is 237 km/h, and the ARAI-certified fuel efficiency is 17.01 km/litre.

How is the cabin?

It doesn’t ooze luxury of the level of the GLC or the craftsmanship of the level of the XC60, but the focus appears more on functionality. The steering wheel and most controls are driver-oriented, the seating position is high (offering an expansive view of the surroundings), and horizontal design lines on the dashboard make the cabin look wider than it is. Space is enough for five adults, and there are enough and more technology features (MMI touchscreen with larger display and Audi virtual cockpit, etc).

It gets most bells and whistles expected of a luxury SUV, such as gesture-controlled boot lid opening, ambient lighting (with 30 colours to choose from), electric adjustment of front seats, parking assist, etc.

How does it drive?

It accelerates almost like an electric car would—thanks to 249 horsepower and 370 Nm torque the engine produces. You won’t really miss a diesel engine, due to two reasons: First, acceleration through the gears (like from 40-100 km/h) is as good as a torquey diesel. Second, the petrol is almost as fuel efficient as a diesel (driving on the hills for about 4 fours my test units returned 15 km/litre).

Some people may, however, miss that noise and rattle a diesel engine produces!

It’s not a very tall SUV and that’s why there is very little body roll; even on sharp turns the Q5 doesn’t appear to lose its line (it’s a quattro all-wheel drive, after all). Seats have such a design that you may not feel uncomfortable even on day-long drives. And be it a broken stretch of road or loose gravel, the ride doesn’t turn rough.

There are five driving modes to choose from (comfort, dynamic, off-road, individual and auto), but I couldn’t find much of a difference in ride quality between these modes.

Is it better than rivals?

The new Q5 will be launched later this month (November 2021), and the expected ex-showroom price is Rs 55-60 lakh.

It doesn’t have similar levels of connectivity features or the ‘feeling of luxury’ inside the cabin as the GLC does.

It doesn’t have the mild hybrid technology of similar levels as the XC60 does.

It doesn’t look as dominating as the F-Pace.

And it’s not as athletic as the X3.

The Q5, on the contrary, is possibly one of the strongest brand names in its segment, and has that that decades-old Audi ‘feel’ to it—quattro at its finest.

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