First launched in India in 2011, the Q5 has spearheaded Audi India’s charge in the ever-growing mid-size luxury SUV segment. With the competition getting fiercer due to the advent of new-age rivals in the form of the new Volvo XC60 and the upcoming BMW X3, Audi has found it only apt to bring the latest-generation of its best-selling crossover to our country.
The new SUV enjoys a sportier stance on the street. It offers many new features, too. However, the most important feature is the new MLB Evo Platform, which makes it upto 90 KGs lighter than its predecessor. There’s more, you also get the same new-generation 2.0-litre TDI Turbo Diesel engine that made its debut on the new A4. We drove the 2018 Q5 in varied terrains of Rajasthan recently. Here’s our 2018 Audi Q5 test drive review for full details.
You’ll be hard pressed to differentiate between the latest and the last generation model at the first glance. Don’t get us wrong here, for the new Q5 is brand new, down to the last inch of its sheet metal. To put it simply, the new Q5 isn’t a radical departure from the earlier iteration in terms of design. When seen from the front, there’s a very strong similarity between the two generations of this SUV. The front-end is characterized by a Singleframe grille, which is in-turn characterized by the much publicized Matrix LED headlights.
A neatly curved and a rather bold shoulder-line is the defining feature of the side profile. The bold wheel arches and the stylish alloys go on to add flair. Much like the front, even the rear gets horizontal lines that go on to convey a sense of width, and thereby, a planted stance, to the rear-end. The taillights get optional dynamic turn signals. As has been a typical feature of Q models, the tailgate wraps around the C-pillars.
While the exterior is highly reminiscent of the earlier model, the interior looks a lot different, and feels decidedly more premium, than that of the earlier car. The dual tone beige-black look lends an airy and premium feel. There’s an abundance of wood trim, which makes the cabin feel richer. As has been the norm with all the latest models from the Ingolstadt-based carmaker, the new Q5 gets the Virtual Cockpit instrumentation. The 12.3-inch screen offers a HD display and doubles up as the navigation screen. Another highlight is the wireless smartphone charging pod, making life clutter-free in the cabin.
However, the screen is not retractable. The interior offers a lot of space for five persons, and it surpasses the previous model and its competitors in key dimensions. Its horizontally oriented lines underscore the impression of width, and a faux-wood strip runs across the entire width of the dashboard. The dashboard does look a bit plain, for a car in this segment.
Seats offer utmost comfort. Your thighs and back as well as head are well rested. Front seats are button controlled and also get memory functions. AC cools the cabin within minutes, even on a hot day. The new Q5 offers upto 610 liters of luggage carrying capacity, which is 10 liters more than in the previous model. The space can be increased to as much as 1,550 litres by folding down the rear seats.
Audi India has launched the new Q5 in the 35 TDI trim. The latest version of the company’s popular crossover is powered by an inline four-cylinder, 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine. This is the same new-generation turbocharged oil-burner that made its India debut on the new A4. The motor outputs a maximum power of 190PS along with a peak torque of 400Nm. The peak torque is available from as low as 1,750 rpm.
Thanks to the new platform, which has made the car 90 kg lighter, and its core much more rigid than before, driving the new new Q5 is a delight. Not only the car performs on straight roads, but is also fantastic on the corners. The 2.0 liter diesel engine mated to a 7 speed dual clutch Audi S-Tronic gearbox, works like a charm. This new gearbox has negated any turbo lag, which was easily felt in the previous Q5, The gears shifts are quick, and much smoother. 0-100 kmph time is 7.9 seconds, which is impressive for a car that weighs 2 ton and is powered by a 4 cylinder engine.
The engine is tuned in such way to deliver peak torque over a maximum rpm range. What this does is, the car pulls stronger everytime to the red line, giving the driver an enthusiastic drive experience. Steering feedback is great, giving you the confidence to drive the car with inch perfect precision. Tyres offer good grip on the road, as well as off it. Brakes deliver a good bite.
New Audi Q5 cabin comfort is also top notch. You don’t hear a thing once you are cocooned in the comfort. State of the art infotainment system with surround sound speakers give passengers of the new Q5, a premium travel experience.
The new-generation Q5 comes across as a more modern and much improved replacement for the last-gen model. True, we don’t see a revolutionary change in terms of design but there’s definitely a lot more than meets the eye. For starters, the cabin is far more comfortable and comes with more bells and whistles. The new engine is more refined, more frugal, and delivers a stronger performance almost throughout the rev range.
More importantly, the new car manages to offer a really comfortable ride, which is a vast improvement over the earlier model. Also, the suspension gets stiffer in Dynamic mode and the new model feels more sure-footed than before. To sum it up, the new-generation Q5 builds on the earlier generation’s strengths whilst improving on many counts.