Why would I buy one?
- Updated and modern mid-size premium SUV
- Comprehensive changes both inside and out
- Ride comfort and driving dynamics
Why would I avoid it?
- Rivals have upped the game in the segment
- No powertrain choices
Absent for a while now, the updated Audi Q5 is making a comeback with comprehensive changes both inside and out. This is not a newer generation as it should have been after the hiatus, but this BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 rival do pack in many nips and tuck to guarantee an attendance amongst its contemporaries. Part of the update is the Q8-inspired fascia and Audi’s newest dashboard design. The latter is already a couple of years old, unfortunately. Under the skin, it’s only got a TSI powertrain choice that drives well. Now, combine it with a wonderful ride, and the Q5 has some serious horns to lock against its rivals.
Engine and Performance
8.5 / 10
When launched, the updated Q5 will be available with a single petrol engine option – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the 45 TFSI guise. It comes paired with a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission that transfers the available 249bhp and 370Nm to the Quattro AWD system. By now we all are aware that there’s no diesel engine on offer under the VW Group in India and the new Q5 is no exception.
Like any other TFSI motor, the Q5 is refined and vibe free on idle. The large power reserve is barely touched when ambling at city speeds with the rev-counter hovering close to the 1200rpm mark. And when the right foot twitches down on the throttle, the low-end grunt makes its presence known with quick acceleration at the drop of a dime. It’s a rev-happy motor that is also linear in power delivery and will regularly see the needle reaching the 7000rpm redline when push comes to shove. Triple-digit speed arrives briskly with the DSG allowing no delay or lag with its jerk-free and lightning-quick gearshifts. The Q5 45 TFSI could easily double up as a mile muncher in a cross-country jaunt apart from being a comfortable home-work-home runabout.
Now there are three drive modes to alter the Q5’s personality. In the Eco (Efficiency) mode, the throttle response is kept subdued to keep a check on fuel efficiency. The Comfort is usable for everyday driving with steering, throttle response and suspension set up in a user-friendly setting. And everything is dialled up to eleven in the Dynamic mode with sharper throttle response where the upshifting is held for slightly longer and the steering has some weight added to it. You could simply select the Auto and forget it, or configure the personalised setting in the Individual mode. Lastly, this is an SUV with an intelligent Quattro system. So there’s the Off-Road setting when the going gets tough.
Ride and Handling
8 / 10
With adaptive dampers at disposal, the Q5 has one of the most comfortable rides in its segment. It manages to swallow up the worst of road conditions like a cakewalk. Even the sharpest of bumps or creases are barely felt inside the cabin and the longer undulations are also taken astride with good composure. It makes for a good city car as well as a highway mile muncher with ease. We even encountered under-construction roads and no roads during our time with the Q5 and this Ingolstadt SUV came out the other side unscathed.
Combine it with progressive steering and you can also have some fun behind the wheel. The steering feels nice and connected and there are modes to alter the weight added to it. This makes it easier to manoeuvre in the city and equally good while overtaking slow-moving trucks on the highways. When shown some corners, the Q5 impressed with well-controlled body movements and the roll was kept at a minimum. Lastly, there’re the brakes. With discs on all four corners, the good stopping power adds confidence each time you decide to be a little enthusiastic behind the wheel.
Interior Quality and Comfort
7 / 10
Over the previous Q5, the new model we have here adopts Audi’s newest design direction. There are lesser buttons on the centre console, a flying touchscreen atop the dashboard and an all-digital driver’s display behind the newest steering wheel design you get in the Four Rings. But here’s the thing, this cabin layout is already a couple of years old and it hasn’t aged well. Although the quality and fit and finish inside this Audi is top-notch, the aesthetics and the ergonomics of the Q5’s cabin need a generation leap instead of a comprehensive update.
There’s good visibility all around and the electric adjustment for the driver’s seat allows ample space as well as ideal seating posture. There’s enough shoulder and headspace for the front row passengers and the same can be said about the second row. The second-row seats also get recline function but it's a limited angle. There’s also a good amount of support in all the right places with ample headroom and shoulder room. But squeezing three in the back would be uncomfortable for the middle passenger. Lastly, the boot is cavernous at 550 litres. There are some nets and clever tricks to make the boot space more practical with 40:20:40 split back seat and pull levers on the side for an easy fold.
Features and Equipment
6.5 / 10
In terms of features, the Q5 flaunts a decently long list. There are 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 in typical Audi fashion, a fancy looking set of LED headlamps. The centre console’s touchscreen controls most of the vehicle functions and has all the new-age connectivity. Its interface is smooth, easy to navigate and has a good touch response. But more importantly, it’s paired with a 19-speakers Bang and Olufsen sound system that sounds fantastic. As for the driver aids, 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.
Prices for the updated Audi Q5 are yet to be announced. To be sold in two trims – Premium Plus and Technology, we expect the pricing to be around Rs 60 lakh mark. This puts it in the league of premium mid-size SUVs – a segment that is surprisingly crowded with players like the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Mercedes Benz GLC, and Lexus NX. The reason this segment is so populated is that it’s a sweet spot for car buyers upgrading from a sub-50 lakh vehicle.
With the Q5, Audi is trying to grab its share of the pie by offering sharper looks, premium features, a luxurious, spacious and practical cabin and a very comfortable ride quality. It’s also got a potent engine and gearbox combination along with the Quattro AWD system which adds to the driving fun. An option for a diesel engine would have helped its position in the game but that’s not likely to happen. So if Audi prices the Q5 handsomely and backs it up with good sales and after-sales service, then this Q5 might just be the boost they were looking for for quite some time now.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi