“We have a new Q, James… no, silly, the Audi one!”

  • Eight years on, along comes a new Audi Q5
  • High tech, high power, very high spec
  • Got a million bucks for a go-anywhere drive?
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi

UITENHAGE, Eastern Cape – Audi SA has launched an all-new version of its all-wheel drive Q5 B-segment SUV eight years after their first arrival at the bottom of Africa of the first model.

They’re expected in South Africa through August and September 2017.

The automaker says the new machines have the sportiness of an Audi sedan and a highly flexible interior with the latest connectivity, and driving assistance systems. Which is why, perhaps, their pricing runs from R700 000 to more than a million bucks.

The cars were originally launched in South Africa in 2009, where sales have reached 11 300 units.

2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi

A flared grille dominates the aerodynamic but still flat nose which houses eight diode headlights or high-resolution Matrix diode tech with dynamic turn lights.

Audi describes the roofline as tapering “early” while horizontal lines are intended “to convey width and presence”. Available diode tail lights include dynamic turn indicators and a diffuser links the twin exhaust pipes.

‘A LOT’ OF CABIN SPACE

The Q5, Audi says, has grown in most dimensions to 4.66m long, 1.89m wide and 1.66m tall and with a 2.82m wheelbase and is lighter by as much as 90kg (depending on engine).

The interior claims “a lot” of space – bigger shell, remember! – for five adults.

The rear seat-back can separate and fold in three sections to expand the basic boot volume of 550-610 litres, the size dictated by seat position – 10 more than the previous model. Volume expands to 1550 litres with the rear seat folded. The tail door has power opening/closing and the loadbed can be lowered/lifted if air suspension is chosen.

2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi

WATCH A COMPREHENSIVE video of all the new Audi Q5 features

The new Q5 has a choice of hearts: turbodiesel or turbopetrol with power up by 20kW, fuel consumption down. Significantly, Audi says.

The two-litre, four-cylinder, TDI can make 140kW/400Nm, the latter from 1750-3000rpm, so can reach 100km/h in 7.9sec and 218km/h yet, Audi says, 4.9 litres/100km is possible. (There’s also an Audi SQ5 V6, see further down the feature.)

TAKE A LOOK AT the Car&Driver image gallery

The two-litre, four-cylinder, TFSI is rated as 185kW/370Nm and can reach 100km/h in 6.3sec. Top speed was not listed but is also likely to be way, way, above the speed limit so who cares? What does count is the fuel consumption, listed by Audi as a possible 6.8 litres/100km.

Each drives an auto transmission with manual operation available through steering-wheel paddles.

The cars’ all-wheel drive (it’s called “quattro on demand”) is standard across the range – a handy place to give you the model range and prices:

SO HERE THEY ARE…
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic – R698 000
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic Sport – R748 000
Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic – R747 500
Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic Sport – R797 500
Audi SQ5 3.0 TFSI quattro Tiptronic – R1 044 000

The AWD disengages the rear axle if not not needed – though the driver an override that – to reduce fuel consumption without losing traction or driving dynamics. Electronic systems use 150 sensors 100 times a second to control the overall drive system.

2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi

The driver feels the familiar, superior driving dynamism, benefits from the additional safety reserves thanks to outstanding traction and uses discernibly less fuel in everyday driving. At the predictive level, the focus is on the 150 sensors that the networked systems deliver 100 times per second in the car.

READ WHAT Martin Love of The Guardian said about the 2014 Audi Q5

Drive/traction is adjusted instantly with, if necessary, all torque sent to one or other axle. Or just to the front for quiet and economical cruising when the sensors measure, grip, wheel rotation speeds, engine torque, steering angle, accelerator position, road inclination, and satnav – that last to predict the requirements of the drivetrain.

Either of two extension stages of springs and damping can be chosen with “a very wide spread between comfort and dynamics” through Audi drive select. The main result is a five-stage difference in ride height.

2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi
2017 AUDI Q5 Image: Audi

In the standard system Audi Drive Select offers up to seven driving modes. “The two new modes, lift/off-road and all-road,” Audi says, “emphasise the off-road character of the Audi Q5.”

“The (optional) virtual cockpit,” Audi says, “presents brilliant graphics on its high-resolution 31cm screen. Their are two views – large, round, instruments or a the satnav map/lists dominate. Also available is a head-up display which projects information on to the windscreen – including from driving assistance systems – as symbols and numbers.”

SIT EASY IN TRAFFIC QUEUES

The MMI terminal in the centre console is the main control element. In the top model has MMI navigation with touch and an 20cm display. A touchpad recognizes written entries and gestures such as zooming.

Cellphone transmission is through the car’s radio antenna; Bang & Olufsen audo supplies 3D sound.

Adaptive cruise control with a traffic mode can handle following distance/steering when in slow commuter traffic, collision avoidance gives early warnings and more systems recognise pedestrian perils and invoke auto-braking.

Dynamic and emotional: the new Audi SQ5

The range-topping new Audi SQ5 has a three-litre V6 260kW/500Nm (1370-4500rpm) TFSI engine capable of 100km/h in 5.4sec and a governed 250km/h but, Audi says, 8.3 litres/100km is possible.

The twin-scroll turbocharger replaces the mechanical compressor of the previous engine and is bedded in the enbine’s ‘V’; a “fast and smooth-shifting” eight-speed autobox transmits the power to all four wheels.

Power, during normal driving, goes to the road with a slight rear-wheels bias. If the going gets rough or slippery (the latter the main reasons why 4×4 SUV’s are becoming more popular in Europe with more severe winters thanks to, er, global warming) most power is sent to the axle with the superior traction.

A sport differential option further improves handling by distributing torque between the rear wheels through two stages. It sends more torque to the outside rear wheel when accelerating out of particularly tight radius – simply put, it pushes the car into the curve and cancels understeer.

Five-link suspension front and rear, Audi says, benefits vehicle stability and occupants’ comfort. Standard damper control has a particularly wide spread from comfort through to dynamic through continuous damping control or the driver can invoke Audi Drive Select which, through the engine, steering, tiptronic gearbox and (optional) sport differential lets the driver control the characteristics of the engine and suspension through several modes.

S-specific adaptive air suspension is another option to manage ride height.

The dark-toned interior welcomes with illuminated sills, each bearing an S logo. Contrasting stitching on the leather-clad steering-wheel and sport seats “create a dynamic and elegant ambiance”. Alcantara/leather can be upgraded to full Nappa leather with diamond pattern and a pneumatic massage function.

Driving pedals and the driver’s left-foot support are surfaced with stainless steel.

Standard equipment across models

New trim lines provide many customisation opportunities, inside and out. Or ask about the Sport line.

Standard on the 2.0T FSI 185kW and 2.0 TDI 140kW are:
17″-inch wheel rims, ambient lighting package (30 colours), Audi drive select, Audi sound system, Bluetooth interface, Collapsible spare wheel, cruise control, driver information system, Dynamic suspension, AUX-IN and USB, electro-mechanical power steering, energy recovery, tyre-pressure monitors, leather-clad multi-function steering-wheel, diode tail lights, all-wheel drive, rear parking aid, front side and head crash bags, stainless-steel boot edge protection, three-zone automatic aircon start/stop on petrol engines, xenon headlights.

Sport models add:
18″ wheel rims, aluminium door sill trim, Bumpers in full paint finish, gloss package, interior inlays with aluminium, diode headlights, specific radiator grilles, rear diffuser and air intakes, sport seats, chromed steering-wheel trim.

Audi SQ5 adds:
20″ wheel rims, 4-way lumbar support for the front seats, exterior mirror housings in aluminium look, frequency Alcantara/leather combination, electrically adjustable front seats, high-gloss package, indirect tire pressure monitoring system, diode headlights, diode tail lights with dynamic indicator, power boot door, MMI Navigation plus with Audi connect, matt brushed aluminium inlays, park assist including parking system plus, pedals and footrest in stainless steel, quattro with self-locking centre differential, roof spoiler, door scuff plates, front side and head crash bags, flat-bottomed steering-wheel, front sport seats, start/stop system, three-zone auto aircon.

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