What do Katherine Heigl and Gul Panag have in common? Both make us line up at the box office. Both make guest appearances in our dreams. Both have graced several magazine covers. Both make it to our list of top ten pin up girls. Aside from all this, there is also another similarity that is not quite as obvious. They both drive Audi Q5s. Now India is no stranger to the Q5. It's been around for quite some time now. At first with the 2.0-litre TFSI and 3.0-litre TDI engine and recently, with the 2.0-litre TDI oil burner.
Now design wise the Audi leaves nothing to be desired. The strong family lines from the Q7 make its presence felt rather strongly. Muscular shoulder lines and the excellent Audi build quality makes this a premium SUV that most people aspire towards being seen in. As with all Audis the interior of the Q5 is very well appointed. Classy, well put together interiors with all necessities within reach of the driver's hands as well as the brilliant Multi Media Interface guarantee the driver kilometres and kilometres of pleasurable driving. The seats are supportive and do not tire you out with their typical adjustable lumbar support. Even in the rear, space is ample and three people can sit in reasonable comfort while two can be seated in complete luxury. The instrument cluster gives you all the information you would need in a simple yet elegant layout. Altogether, an eye pleasing yet functional cabin.
The primary change in the car has been the engine. The earlier Q5, as mentioned before, came with a 2-litre supercharged petrol engine making 210PS and a 3-litre V6 diesel making 239PS. Now we all know that any engine that has a 'V' prefixed to it has the ability to leave us salivating. But then, the efficiency and eco friendliness of these big diesels are seriously questionable. Maybe that is what prompted Audi to plonk a turbocharged 1968cc diesel inline four power plant under the hood. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox which together with Audi's Quattro, channels drive to all four wheels all the time. Numbers wise this engine makes 170PS at 4200 revs and 350Nm between 1750 and 2500rpm. This propels the car to 100kmph in 9.78 seconds. Keep the right foot floored and the car will see a top whack of 206kmph and the quarter mile comes around in 16.97 seconds at 129.54kmph. The car feels very much at ease trundling along at a 160kmph on the highways without the engine feeling stressed or overly noisy. The Q5 does all this while returning reasonable fuel economy. In the city the car gives a mileage of 10.29kmpl while highway runs will give an average of 13.85kmpl. This translates to an overall economy of 11.18kmpl, quite a bit below the manufacturer claimed 12.8kmpl. In comparison to its main competitor, the X3, this is only average with the BMW giving 14.02kmpl (12.6 in the city and 18.3 on the highway).
On the handling front, the Q5 does not disappoint. The suspension is on the stiffer side which means the car behaves pretty well around corners holding a steady line through most corners. On the highways however, the car truly comes alive with the stiff setup making high speed cruising a breeze. But as always the stiff ride comes at the expense of ride quality, bumps and undulations being clearly felt by the occupants. However this is not to such an extent where it becomes uncomfortable. Surprisingly though, despite the stiff suspension the car still has a lot of body roll which tend to make very quick lane changes a tad scary. The brakes on the Q5 are more than adequate bringing the car to a standstill from 100kmph in 37.94 metres within 2.69 seconds.
The Audi Q5 2.0 TDI in India then remains as much a desirable car as its siblings the 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI are, but with a more sensible engine. The Audi Q5 2.0TDI price in India of Rs 44.58 lakh (on road, Mumbai) which makes it a sweet deal and also a serious threat to BMW's X3 xDrive20d priced at Rs 49.15 lakh (on road, Mumbai). How it will fair against the competition that within the segment seems to be too close for comfort remains to be seen. Then again wouldn't you just love the chance that you mig
ht just bump into Gul Panag when you go to give your Audi in for service?