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    Audi Q5 Review: Pros and Cons

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    Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

    51,854 Views

    Introduction

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Audi India line-up has had a change of pace in the past few years. At one point, the Ingolstadt-based carmaker was only selling A8 L, Q8, and RS Q8 flagships in the country and nothing more. After picking pace, newer Audis have ushered in and how! Audi now has four electric offerings, a couple of sports sedans apart from a few hot and heavy RS punchers on sale along with most of the conventional Q line-up.

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    The newest member launched is the refreshed Q5 and we have driven it – here’s the link to the first-drive review. Now that the prices are out, it’s a perfect time to revisit and take a look at five things we loved about the Q5 facelift and two things that could have made it even more enticing.

    Positives

    1. Q8 inspirations

    Front View

    After the introduction of the Q8 as the flagship offering, the entire Q line-up has started to adorn the design direction. This direction brings in sharper looking headlamps with some intricate lighting signature. Audis have always been known for their lighting signature and the Q5 is no different.

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    It might not be out of the world, but the sleeker LED strips subtly look handsome. Another highlight of the fascia is the octa-sided grille which is larger than before and has a brushed finish on its outline instead of flashy chrome. At the back, the tail lamp shape hasn’t changed but the new insignia for the LED lights do look fresh.

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    The changes over the outgoing Q5 aren’t drastic, but these little nips and tucks lend the mid-size Audi a new lease of life to soldiering on for a few more years.

    2. Subtle cabin

    If you think the exterior changes aren’t spectacular, and the same can be said about the cabin. But the new Q5 adopts the latest cabin layout Audi has on offer across the globe.

    Dashboard

    The highlight of these new interiors is the larger floating touchscreen and the newest iteration of the Virtual Cockpit all-digital driver’s display. The former also incorporates the latest operating system of MMI and offers lots of usability in controlling various vehicle functions while also giving out quite a lot of information. It’s a practical and functional cabin with high-quality material employed all around asserting the premium feel of a German car. The wood-finished inserts in the older Q5 are replaced by piano-black garnish. While the beige-black combo is dropped for an all-black interior.

    3. Features galore

    Infotainment System

    The updated Q5 comes with a decently long list. In the top-spec Technology trim, you get electric front seats with lumbar support, full-size panoramic sunroof, heated ORVM, three-zone climate control, ambient lighting, all-digital driver’s display, wireless charger and fantastic sounding 19-speakers Bang and Olufsen sound system.

    Instrument Cluster

    As for the driver aids and safety, there’re front parking sensors, cruise control, hill-hold assist, TPMS and a full-fledged display for off-road settings showing information like inclination angles, coordinates, and compass to name a few.

    4. TFSI Power and Quattro

    Engine Shot

    Ditching the old TDI powertrain for a new 2.0-litre 45 TFSI, the Q5 puts out a healthy 249bhp and 370Nm sent to Quattro AWD channelled through a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s a versatile motor that has done duty in many models under the VW Group umbrella and proven itself to be refined, powerful and quite fun too.

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    There’s a good amount of low-end grunt yet the motor is rev-happy and will regularly see the needle reaching the 7000rpm redline when push comes to shove. Keeping three-digit speed is no trouble for the 45TFSI and so the Q5 could double up as a mile muncher in a cross-country jaunt apart from being a comfortable home-work-home runabout.

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    Add to it the adaptive dampers, making the Q5’s ride one of the most comfortable in its segment. On our drive experience, it managed to absorb under construction roads without a blink and the sharpest of bumps or creases were barely felt inside. It didn’t wallow much on tight mountainous roads and the steering felt nice and connected. Overall, the Q5’s dynamics impressed with its fun nature at the same time being comfortable for all the passengers.

    5. Pricing and Competition

    When we drove the Q5 last month, we expected the pricing to be around Rs 60 lakh mark. Since the Q5 is now made in India, Audi has put a price tag of Rs 58.93 lakh for Premium Plus trim and Rs 63.77 lakh for the Technology trim (ex-showroom).

    Left Side View

    Competing against the likes of Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Mercedes Benz GLC, and Lexus NX, the Q5’s pricing is on par with its direct rivals. What makes the Q5 stand out is its Quattro offering, comfortable and relaxed driving dynamics along with a sensible, practical and feature-rich package.

    Negatives

    1. Needed a comprehensive upgrade

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    First introduced in 2008, the Q5 badge entered into its second generation in 2017. That’s almost a decade the first generation ran through. Now, this update we see on the Q5 is the mid-life facelift for the second generation and if the first-gen is anything to go by, we won’t be seeing the third generation for a few more years. So Audi should have added some more comprehensive upgrades to this facelift than what’s already on offer.

    Left Side View

    For instance, the cabin already feels half a decade old. It doesn’t offer the driving involvement factor like the X3 or has ground-breaking off-road hardware like the Evoque, neither does it looks eccentric like the XC60 or have the same brand recall as the GLC. The Q5 instead is a ‘jack of all’; it will do everything right in perfect proportion but won’t exceptionally excel at anything particular.

    2. No powertrain choice

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    Many buyers looking at this segment, which the Q5 belongs to might be upgrading from a sub-50 lakh diesel SUV. With the Q5, Audi is offering no diesel powertrain anymore and there’re no choices of any other petrol/manual/hybrid powertrain either. On the other hand, the X3, Evoque, and GLC have diesel engine options while the XC60 has recently entered the mild-hybrid tech in the country.

    Front View

    Conclusion

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    The new and updated Audi Q5 has a lot riding on its shoulder. It re-enters into a fiercely fought segment that has seen a lot of changes in the recent past. But the refreshed Q5 needs to establish itself quickly to let Four Rings make a comeback in its India business. How does it do that then? By being a no-nonsense and practical family SUV that is good to drive and offers a decent amount of fun when asked for. It might not stand out, but if you want an understated premium SUV that would do everything right, you cannot go wrong with the new Q5.

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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