Q5 a refine driving experience
Audi reminds me of one of those companies that move to its own pace, as it doesn’t seem to be too distracted by many of the changes of its rival German automakers. For years, the brand has stood beside its tried-and-true Quattro system, which has brought it many Rally victories in the 80s.
Since then, Audi has expanded from a car manufacturer to a compact luxury SUV maker, which started production in 2008. Exterior wise, the model keeps a design cue that is similar to its stablemates, with a pronounced front grille that runs from the bonnet to the front bumper. Unlike the previous model, the second-generation Q5 has a more angular grille and design theme.
This gives the vehicle a more dominant and virile look, which differs from the tame and soft appearance of the first generation. Overall, the vehicle is a great blend of agility and sophistication, with a sharp character line that runs along the side.
Audi keeps its interior very sleek and clean, and for the sport trim, which I drove, there was a two-toned interior. The silver accents were liberally placed throughout the inside to contrast the black soft leather that covered most of the surface areas.
Immediately greeting the eyes is the 8.3” infotainment screen, which sits atop the centre AC vents. This multimedia interface can be used to show phone and driver information, among many other things. What is most important is that it works seamlessly with tiles that are easy to understand, as well as finding options.
Where I do have a gripe, is the size of the space bins, which are intended to hold devices and other small items. In the age where everybody’s cellphone is close to six inches or more, all these spaces are too small to facilitate one. My suggestion is to pair your phone via bluetooth with the vehicle, and put it in the storage area below the armrest.
One area where these German manufacturers shine is with the adjustability of their seats. From lumbar support to extension of the base, it’s hard not to find a comfortable position. Plus, there is a detailed memory option, which allows you to set your seating preference, climate control and many other things. Truth be told, the set up took some time, and I was only driving it for a short period, so I kept skipping the option.
Fortunately for rear passengers, there is three-zone climate control which allows them to set their own temperature.
The 2-litre petrol engine pushes out 252 horsepower smoothly and confidently, regardless of the road surface. To the far left of the centre console, there is Audi Drive Select, which has four options: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. While going over a rugged patch of road, I selected Comfort which did give the vehicle a smooth ride. However, for the most part, I kept it in Auto mode, where the computer adjusts the vehicle to the driving condition.
The multi-link suspension and the Quattro all-wheel drive, keeps the vehicle firmly on the road, even when going around corners at high speeds. This is consistent with the Audi driving experience, which the Q5 delivers convincingly, through an eight-speed Tip-Tronic Gearbox.
The Q5 isn’t the boldest SUV in its class, however, it delivers an all-round experience that few can rival, with high marks in all the categories that matter such as, comfort, luxury appeal and performance.
Price of tested model: $12.95, Glacier White Sport Package
Price: Started as $11. 95
Engine: 2 litre
Torque: 273 lb·ft
Fuel tank: 70 litres
Body Type: Compact Luxury SUV
Competition: BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC