Audi Q5 2.0 TFSi quattro S tronic Sport
It’s been 10 years, almost to the day, that I traded in my last Audi on another German marque. And but for an excruciatingly inept salesperson at the 4 rings dealership in Rivonia five or six years ago, I might be commuting daily in an A5 . To cut a long and frustrating story short, I wound up buying another German brand. I subsequently wonder if I should have just gone to another dealership and got the A5 that I really wanted. It is with this background that I particularly looked forward to seeing what Audi has to offer in the new Audi Q5 2.0 TFSi S tronic Sport.
In my opinion the exterior of the new Audi Q5 is a vast improvement in styling on the previous model with the introduction of more defining angles and sharper lines breaking some of the roundness of the previous model. The new shape of the grille promises a lot more grunt and the 2 litre petrol engine can deliver 185 kW through the 7 speed steptronic gearbox. Top speed is an impressive 237 km/h and the 0 – 100km/h sprint can achieved in 6.3 seconds according to Audi. Although we didn’t test these limits, it’s good to know that if you need to get out of a dodgy situation you can flick the gear shift down once to access the sports mode acceleration and clear a possible obstacle, or overtake in a dangerous situation, with ease.
On one of our outings I happened to park next to the owner of the previous version and they took the opportunity to inspect the exterior thoroughly. I think the nodding and smiles among themselves were in appreciation of the subtle new design changes.
The 1400 km traveled in the Q5 TFSi flew by in a week. Highways, city driving, long distance, short commutes, I did it all to get a good feel of the car. One thing Audi has always done really well is the cockpit layout. Forget the other German brand with it’s angled layout, the dash on a post 90s Audi was always clear and accessible. My early 2000s model had a beautiful red dial illumination that just added to the sportiness of the model. People who know me will be able to recite stories of that car, how I loved it, how I regretted letting it go. I think if I were to purchase a new Q5 I would have the same emotions.
These days all premium brands offer a quality display screen but again Audi just does it in a way that is intuitive to use and doesn’t over-complicate the navigation system controls. One button that can be rotated left or right and press down to select. Every child could operate it, it just makes sense. It should be noted that the MMI touch & screen is an optional extra and duplicates practically everything available on the 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster. The reverse cam on the MMI screen has a better screen resolution than my TV!
The instrument cluster is a must see. There are plenty of attempts at a digital cluster in the current market but Audi have nailed it. Forget fiddling with colours as your options. The cluster, linked to buttons on the steering wheel, can display and allows you to choose radio stations, drive modes, navigation and the usual speedometer/rev counter layout. My favourite was the speedometer and rev counter overlayed on the navigation screen.
The model we drove had manually adjusted leather seats but we were able to easily find a comfortable height and position to accommodate our frames. Electrically adjustable front seats with a driver’s seat memory function are available for an additional R 13000. I would pass on this considering how easy it was to find my driving position. Five hour drives were also easily completed without any aches or pains, attesting further to the comfort of the seats and the smoothness of the ride. The rear seats are also beautifully crafted and leg space is ample with rear facing climate control vents under the front seats helping to keep the passengers comfortable. Judging by my Facebook feed, all my friends are parents of young children (or expecting) and should be pleased to know the Q5 has ISOFIX child seat mounting points as standard.
The climate control is nothing more nor anything less than I would expect although the digital temperature displays are aesthetically pleasing in the blue hues that matched the led lighting under the aluminium dash inlay.
What makes the Audi Q5 so smooth?
We drove on a great variety of roads during the week including some really well maintained toll roads towards Mpumalanga, some really poorly maintained ones with more (pot)holes than Emmentaler around Hartebeeshoek but mostly we drove on your average roads and all because we were incredibly impressed with the ride comfort, the smoothness of the drive and the excellent level (lack) of road noise in the cabin.
It’s hardly surprising that the Audi in the test car’s configuration offered incredible ride comfort, someone had carefully chosen to fit this two litre seven speed beaut with decent profile tyres. Yes friends, you might like the look of those low profile 21 inch 255/45’s but the reality is the 19 inch 235/55 will most likely experience less punctures if you ever use that quattro for what it was intended and will definitely save your back when you hit any of those millions of potholes on your future commutes. Call me a cynic if you like but I think our roads are deteriorating faster than JRA can repair them.
Putting aside my personal preference for decent tyres, the other factor in the Audi Q5’s smoothness is the incredible gearbox. The DSG performs so smoothly that you cannot tell when it is shifting up or down under normal driving conditions.
Most four wheel drives vehicles pay the price for all wheel drive in the fuel consumption department but Audi have quite cleverly engineered a way around this. They call it “quattro on demand” which to you and me means the onboard computer determines when road conditions require the quattro to be enabled and otherwise disable it to enhance ride smoothness and save fuel. Smoothest ride we’ve ever driven, I promise.
The list of extras on a test vehicle is often mindblowing, adding an enormous cost to the base price but the vehicle is a showcase for the review media and as such it’s in the brands best interest to jam every bit of kit into the car they send out. If I was building my own Audi Q5 I would have to put the fold-away tow bar on the list; the panoramic roof because it’s just so beautiful; the virtual cockpit because it’s just the right way to do things; and the cell phone charging tray because wireless is always better. I’m not overly fussed about all the other options. You can build your own Q5 Sport on the Audi website
I’m starting to look at a replacement for myself and the Audi Q5 is definitely one of the vehicles I will add to the shortlist. It’s just so smooth.
Base price: R 797 500
Extras as tested:
Trailer towing hitch
Panoramic glass sunroof
Electronic Boot lid
Audi virtual cockpit
MMI navigation plus
R 13 950
R 19 900
R 6 850
R 7 000
R 26 000
Base prices for similar vehicles (180 kW)
GLC 300 4MATIC Coupé: R 870 600
BMW X3 xDrive30i SAV: R 745 956
Jaguar F-Pace 2.0 25d AWD: R 841 500