Audi Q5 45 TFSI road test review
The Audi Q5 is an excellent all-rounder. Leaving aside the leisure cars, the Q5 is probably all the car you will ever need - it has got an eager drivetrain, has a spacious cabin and is kitted out quite nicely. In a sea of cars try to looks overtly sporty or aggressive, the Q5 has (and has had) a pleasant vibe to it. Unsurprisingly, these reasons made the first generation Q5 a massive success and it went from strength to strength for nine years! The new one has been an instant hit too and even in the Indian market it has been received quite well. In fact Audi India claims to have received 500 orders for these in the first month itself. If you too have been eyeing one, but the only thing holding you back is your wish to have the better refinement, cleaner emissions and the sprightlier nature of a petrol motor, then rejoice! It time for you to schedule that test drive - for the Q5 petrol is finally here.
The Audi Q5 petrol is here and boy that engine is so good!
What engine powers the Q5 petrol?
The hard to understand nomenclature at Audi classifies it as the Q5 45 TFSI - which points towards the 1,984cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood. It is the same engine that also does duty in the Q7 and is the only petrol engine option that the Q5 currently ships with anywhere in the world. The marketing lingo terms this car as the most powerful and fastest Q5 in production. That claim comes courtesy of its power output, which at 252PS, it identical to that of the Q7!
The Q5 petrol has better power-to-weight ratio than the Q7 petrol, and therefore the higher rating for its variant badging
The 2.0 four-cylinder petrol engine is similar to one that powers the Q7. It puts out 252PS and 370Nm and has a top whack of 237kmph!
The power is transmitted to the road via the quattro 'ultra' technology, which tips is favour of driving fun over overcautious safety nannies
Its lighter construction gives the Q5 better power-to-weight ratio than the Q7 (which also explains the 45 TFSI badge versus the Q7's 40 TFSI) and that results in quicker acceleration. Audi claims a 6.3s sprint from standstill to 100, which is half a second quicker than the Q7 petrol's 6.9s claim. Our tests managed the sprint in 6.8s (versus the Q7's 7.8s). The 2.0l engine is superbly refined throughout the rev range and a pleasant reminder of why we love petrol motors. It has a healthy torque output of 370Nm, and thanks to turbocharging all of it is delivered from as low as 1,600rpm, which is comparable to the torque output of its diesel counterpart.
The Q5 has an off-road mode too, for times when you want to kick up some dirt, drive up to your farmhouse the long way round
That said Q5 does need a bit of motivation to get off the line compared to the Q7 petrol. That difference can be attributed to the Q7's torque converter automatic, which is quicker and smoother to get its roll on. The Q5 gets the DSG instead which induces a bit of head-shake at crawling speeds but impresses with its punchy midrange pull. The surge of power beyond the 2,000rpm is typical to a turbocharged motor, while the healthy midrange ensures that engine runs relaxed at cruising speeds.
The sheen of the otherwise boring grey colour is different than what we have seen so far on Audi cars and we like it!
The Q5 went from naught to 100kmph in 6.8s in our tests. Even in the wet, the car had no trouble putting power down to the road without unwanted wheelspins - thanks to the quattro system
The seven-speed gearbox is quick to react to part and full throttle inputs and typical to a DSG, the shifts are smooth, precise and telepathic. The power and torque is fed to the quattro all-wheel-drive system, which is always alert and ready to alter torque between the four wheels to aid grip or counter slip.
The Q5 petrol relies on coil spring multi-link suspension and adaptive dampers for its impressive ride and handling dynamics
Sounds exciting, but is it exciting to drive too?
The Q5 diesel is a fun car to drive with the adaptive suspension and the quattro grip and the petrol variant only makes it better with more power and noticeably sharper turn-ins, thanks to a lighter front end. There is a bit of vertical moment when you push the car hard around switchbacks, but its quite predictable and never unnerving. The brakes are progressive and contribute further to the confident dynamics of this car. The over-assisted steering is still the fly in the ointment though, but is something that you can get over with time.
The character of the Q5's suspension and the drivetrain can be altered using the various driving modes - so whether you are cruising on the highway, trotting in the city or having fun around the twisties, there are the Eco, Comfort and Dynamic modes that complement your intent. Cycle between them and the Q5 can be a total hoot when you are in the mood, or be a pleasant commuter otherwise.
The design, equipment and creature comforts remain quite similar between the petrol and diesel variants of the Q5. So does the price tag
Visually there is no difference between the diesel and petrol variants of the Q5, save for the badges. It is a handsome looker on the outside and has a pleasant cabin that is spacious for four adults and a kid. The kit, comprising features like three-zone climate control, the virtual cockpit instrumentation, a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, new-age smartphone interfaces etc. and safety technology like ABS, EBD, ESC, 8 airbags, tyre-pressure monitoring etc. is similar between both the variants too - and surprisingly, their prices aren't far apart either. I think that is a nice move by Audi and the only choice you have to make is between the practicality of the diesel versus the fun quotient of the petrol. I'll take the latter, of course.
Starts Rs 53.25 Lakhs
Team OD | 11 Jan 2019
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