The Audi Q5 is an very important model from the German car maker Audi not only for India, but also globally. The Q5 is placed between the flagship Q7 and the entry premium SUV the Q3. The Q5 has sold very handsomely globally, and here in India too, since it was introduced in early 2009. Audi has come a long way here in India. With the booming SUV market and strong competition from the Mercedes- Benz GLC, the recently launched XC60 and the incoming BMW X3, Audi is all set to launch the 2018 Audi Q5 in India later this month. We drive the German SUV around some lovely Rajasthani roads of Pushkar in freezing temperatures to get under the skin of it and get you this detailed review.
Food For Thought: The 1st generation Audi Q5 was internally codenamed Typ8R and based on Audis MLB platform and unveiled in 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2nd generation Q5 was internally known as the Typ 80A and based on Audis MLBevo platform. The Q5 is the 2nd best selling SUV after the Q3 from the Audi lineup here in India.
The 2018 Audi Q5 burrows a lot of its styling cues from its elder brother the Q7, and that makes this one look like a baby Q7 from mostly all angles, a very smart-looking baby that too! The face now gets the family look with the latest 3d single frame grill with a thick chrome belt running around the goatee and six horizontal chrome lined slats running inside it. The latest generation intelligent 3D-styled full LED headlights come with the Q inspired distinctive light signature glow. The front bumpers now get sharper-looking and also get matt black housing with horizontal chrome lines running on them, just below the headlights, making the face look wider and bolder. The bonnet gets sharper looking crease lines that mate with the single frame grill.
The sides also get sharper body lines on the waist and others on the lower section of the doors. The wheel arches come with slim, unpainted claddings and the running board also gets the body cladding along with silver inserts on them. The window glass line retains the chrome strip that gives a premium look to the sides. Grab type door handles now have an upward movement when u want to open them. The gap between the wheel arches and the tryes is a good lot, which adds to the SUV stance and appeal.
The rear profile on the 2018 Q5 is identical to the one that the Q7 has. Large extended type LED tail lights with unique horizontal ‘A’ design glow stands out. The boot lid gets a slight pout just under the rear windshield, giving it a distinctive sharp bum. The sloping rear windshield comes with a nicely sized integrated spoiler. The rear bumper gets an overall new design which now houses neatly integrated wide design exhausts with silver detailing around them. The 2018 Audi Q5 drives on Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres 235/60 R18 spec rubber with five spoke silver alloys. The build quality and fit-finish is extremely high quality and the Q5 looks very athletic in its exterior design and styling.
The 2018 Audi Q7 gets total fresh and trendy-looking interiors. The dash comes in twin tone with black top and beige lower half along with wooden inserts. The 2018 Audi Q5 also gets the latest generation Audi Virtual Cockpit, which is a all digital LCD display instrument cluster in 12.3 inches. The display on this LCD cluster can be changed as per requirement. It also displays a widescreen GPS navigation display when needed. The center screen is a fixed one with the latest generation Audi MMI infotainment loaded to it. This 8.3 inches, all color screen comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity apart from all the other audio and video compatibility. There is no touch control available on this screen.
The Audi Sound system comes with a clear sounding 180 watts system with 10 speakers doing their job nicely inside the cabin. You get the Audi MMI Touch pad along with the control buttons for the Audi Drive select and hill descent and other function buttons. The climate control unit is a 3-zone unit with haptic input capability and a 1st in class intelligent system that senses sun position and humidity sensors to make things inside the cabin comfortable further. The 3-spoke new design steering gets manual height and reach adjust and paddle shifters on them. Gear shifter doing duty on the 2018 Audi Q5 is the latest yacht styled DSG unit. Audi Q5 also comes with an intelligent key remote that can memorize upto five settings including the seat setting, wing mirror setting, drive select setting, climate control setting and infotainment settings in it.
Seats get full leather upholstery with the front seats getting all electric adjust and the rear coming with a center folding arm rest. Panoramic sunroof is also on the package list for the 2018 Audi Q5. The center console also includes a wireless charging dock for compatible Smartphones. Electro mechanical hand brake and auto hold functions are also standard now. The Q5 comes with an electrically open and close boot lid, and has 550 litres of boot capacity, which can be extended to 1000 liters with rear seats folded if and when the need may arise. The cabin on the 2018 Audi Q5 feels well appointed and insulated well, with high quality of materials in place.
Engine – Transmission – Drive
The 2018 Audi Q5 gets its power from the in-family 2.0 litre diesel engine that does duty on many other models. The engine on this one feels differently tuned to suit the SUV character. This 1968cc inline four cylinder diesel motor comes with VTG turbocharger and makes 190PS of power between 3800-4200rpm and belts out 400Nm of peak torque between 1750-3000rpm. This engine comes mated to the latest generation 7-speed ZF sourced S-Tronic DSG gearbox. This engine has a claimed fuel efficiency of 17.01 kmpl and a top speed of 218kmph. You can do a dash to 100 in 7.9 seconds.
On the move, the 2018 Q5 feels extremely agile and has a very different drive character as compared to the older one. This is mainly due to the weight reduction of around 65 kgs and the new tune to the engine that increases power by 8%. The intelligent transmission now comes with latest technology that not only shifts gears flawlessly, but also irons out any transmission vibrations from coming inside the cabin. The electro-mechanical steering feels lively and well weighted, and inspires the driver to have some good pleasure around corners and bends.
You also have to option to choose the Audi Drive modes that electronically alters the steering feedback, transmission shifts, suspension settings, steering feedback. Audi Drive select mode gives the driver choice from Comfort (relaxed drive), Dynamic (sporty drive), Auto (auto adjust) Individual ( can set throttle, steering, suspension, transmission) and Off-Road (best traction & balance) modes. The acceleration is pretty quick and very well balanced, slight throttle inputs and the Q5 surges ahead in quick fire mode. This is noteworthy for a SUV that weights close to 2 tons. Bad roads that we encountered were very well insulated by the adaptive suspension with damping control of the Q5. Gear shifts are totally seamless and the intelligent Quattro system on the Q5 helps it to glide away on almost any surface that its put on. Steering feedback is positive and feels connected at all speeds.
The 2018 Audi Q5 does all that its ordered to. It’s styling on the outside and inside comes with the much needed freshness to take on the competition heads on. The engine is amazingly well tuned, with a very complimenting transmission and extremely well tuned suspension system. The 2018 Audi Q5 will launch on the 18th of this month and take on its competition, which includes the Mercedes Benz GLC, BMW X3, Lexus NX300h and the Volvo XC60, heating up the segment very nicely to start the new year. Expect prices for the 2018 Audi Q5 in the Rs. 55 Lakh plus price range.