Audi makes multiple subtle changes to the 2017 Q5
There’s a principal in business that goes, if you want to succeed in your field, you must be the “best in the world at…”. This principal holds true simply because if you’re not the best, someone else will be. Audi have adopted this principal locally and have, with the help of Trevor Hill, Audi’s commander-in-chief, opted to embrace the sales figures, and simply be the best regardless.
This has visibly permeated to the new Audi Q5, whether it’s the fact that Mr Hill has put an embargo on smaller, less attractive wheel options, or made sure South Africans have many of the options the overseas markets enjoy.
Audi Q5 is ever so slightly longer but actually looks smaller, thanks to the clever design. Boot space is up 10l to 550l and the 2017 Q5 has shed 90kg. The exterior, at first glance, looks very similar, especially from the side, but the new shapes and arches shine- through upon closer inspection. LED rear lights and Xenon lights come as standard on the Audi Q5 range, with the SQ5 benefiting from LEDs all-round, as well as those satisfying dynamic indicators. The Q5 has taken a subtle yet marked step forward into modernity.
Inside, the Audi Q5 is all comfort and ergonomics. From the handy centre-mounted audio control knob, to the steering mounted buttons. The latter, something that will take some getting used to for new Audi owners but after a few days feels completely intuitive. Audi’s 12.3” Virtual Cockpit is now also available on the Q5 and is a revelation. With options such as full map view on the centre console or a racy looking rev counter in Sport Mode (on SQ5), Audi still leads the way when it comes to virtual cockpit design, look and feel. Audi is also one of the few manufactures that have Virtual Cockpit available across most of its range, at various price points. The protruding 8.3” screen in the centre of the dash is something we’ll have to get used to as more and more manufacturers opt for this. Audi’s version now having touch pads integrated into the centre console with zoom, and it recognises hand written entries. Pity for those of us that are not left handed!
Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist is also now available, another small step before Audi releases the world’s first Level 3 autonomous car next year.
Three engine variants have initially been brought in on launch, the Flagship SQ5 with 260kW produced from its V6 Turbo charged engine. The engine is extremely capable and for high speed driving through twisty roads, the car is an absolute beast. It sounds beastly too. In Gravel-Mode the car handled the dirt roads comfortably, with the rear wheels coming into play more often, to allow for a fun yet secure gravel experience. 20”wheels come as standard on the SQ5, and the 3.0 TFSI engine is claimed to use 8.3l/100.
Performance for the flagship model is staggering, with 100 coming up in just 5.4 seconds, and the full might of that 500Nm of torque is available from 1370rpm. SQ5 comes with a new 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox.
Next in the range is the 2.0 FSI which sports 185kW and ,truth be told, doesn’t feel much slower than the flagship model. With 370Nm of torque the 2.0 gets to 100 in a claimed 6.3 seconds. The familiar VW family turbo-charged engine is up to the task of shuttling the 1760kg SUV around quite rapidly.
My pick of the engines is Audis creamy smooth diesel engine. I first experienced this engine in the A5 coupe, and although it’s not as competent at high speed acceleration, it is very competent at high speed cruising. The all-new 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox suits this engine really well, and if you’re not after performance but instead want a relatively quiet and comfortable family SUV, then give the diesel a serious look.
The flagship model SQ5 gets the full Quattro treatment, however the other two models come standard with Audi’s new Quattro Ultra, which, with the help of 150 sensors, allows the rear axle to be engaged only when called upon or in low grip conditions. Quattro on demand if you will. This allows for great efficiency and it shows in the fuel consumption figures.
With enough changes to warrant Audi making a big fuss of the new Q5, this isn’t just a mid-life cosmetic make over. Audis new Q5 and SQ5 furthers Audi’s South African plan. The car that started a segment had to step up to the competition, and it has.