NEW GENERATION AUDI Q5 RINGS THE CHANGES

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Latest incarnation of mid-size SUV combines subtle styling enhancements with significant efficiency gains and equipment upgrades

  • New generation Q5 range opens for order in late May priced from circa £33,400 OTR –  first deliveries expected in October
  • Four engines at UK launch, all either heavily revised or new to Q5 – efficiency gains of up to 15 per cent
  • 2.0 TDI with 177PS and 380Nm, 3.0 TDI with 245PS and 580Nm, 2.0 TFSI with 225PS and 350Nm, 3.0 TFSI with 272PS and 400Nm
  • Start-stop for all engines, new electromechanical steering, suspension revisions
  • New options including Audi connect bringing in-car internet services such as Google Earth, Google Street View, online traffic information, internet radio

The Audi Q5 is about to climb to a new peak on the efficiency scale as new generation versions of the popular mid-size SUV are readied for their October debut on UK roads. Combining subtle styling revisions and equipment enhancements with power increases and economy gains of up to 15 per cent, the remodelled range will be available to order from late May priced from circa £33,400 OTR.

The updated Q5 will arrive in the UK with four engine options: two TDI and two TFSI. All of these engines combine direct fuel injection with forced induction, and a start-stop system is standard in all versions. Although most of the engines have enhanced performance, their fuel economy has been improved by up to 15 per cent.

The 2.0 TDI with 177PS and 380Nm of torque (with S tronic and quattro drive) is the entry point to the diesel range, and delivers 47.1mpg on the combined cycle. The 3.0 TDI delivers 245PS and 580Nm of torque. This acclaimed V6 diesel has been completely redesigned and now combines the potential for up to 44.1mpg according to the combined cycle test (previously 37.6mpg) with a torque increase of 80Nm over its predecessor for even more forceful acceleration.

Equipped as standard with the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission, it powers the Q5 from zero to 62mph in 6.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 140mph.

The petrol engine line-up also features state-of-the-art technology. Taking its lead from the advanced new 1.8-litre TFSI unit which already powers the latest A4 and A5 ranges, and employing the same innovations, the new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine is a particular highlight. The control system for its valves and their stroke, its innovative thermal management, its fuel injection system, its turbocharger and the integration of the exhaust manifold in its cylinder head are all new developments.

The new 2.0 TFSI offers 225PS and 350Nm. It can cover up to 37.2mpg according to the combined cycle test.

Newly introduced supercharged V6

The supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI engine is also new to the Q5, and replaces the naturally aspirated 3.2-litre FSI. This powerful and efficient engine delivers 272PS and 400Nm of torque, enough for a 5.9-second sprint from rest to 62mph, a top speed of 145mph and combined fuel economy of 33.2mpg.

The four-cylinder engines are linked to a manual six-speed transmission as standard. The seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission is standard for the 3.0 TDI quattro and optional for the 2.0 TDI quattro, while the eight-speed tiptronic automatic is standard for the 3.0 TFSI quattro and optional for the 2.0 TFSI quattro.

The transmissions are integrated in the innovative thermal management system of the four-cylinder versions, a system that significantly shortens the warm-up phase after a cold start. All transmissions have wide gear spreads – the long gear ratios in the upper gears reduce fuel consumption, while the short gear ratios of the lower gears optimise in-gear response.

The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is standard for all launch versions in the UK. Normally, its centre differential distributes engine power to the axles at a ratio of 40:60 in favour of the rear, but it can rapidly redistribute the power at high speed when necessary. The torque vectoring system further enhances the feeling of reassurance and control it imparts with finely tuned brake interventions.

The chassis of the Audi Q5 – with its five-link front and trapezoidal-link rear set-up – adds new refinement and comfort thanks to changes to the spring, shock absorber and anti-roll bar settings. The new electro­mechanical power steering system gives the driver a better feel for the road with direct gearing. The system – which adjusts its power assist to vehicle speed – does not consume any energy when the steering is in the straight-ahead position, helping to further reduce fuel consumption.

The Q5 driving experience is further enhanced when the optional Audi drive select system is specified. Audi drive select lets the driver vary the operating characteristics of the throttle pedal, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the degree of power steering assistance and the operation of the automatic air conditioning system via four modes, including an efficiency mode. When an Audi navigation system is fitted, a fifth ‘individual’ mode is added that is largely user-programmable.

In addition, three optional components can also be controlled by the Audi drive select system if they are fitted. These include adaptive cruise control, damper control and dynamic steering, in which the steering gear ratio is modified as a function of vehicle speed via a harmonic drive system. During higher speed cornering, it compensates for understeer and oversteer by intervening with slight steering pulses.

The Audi Q5 also performs very well on rugged terrain. Its maximum climbing angle is 31 degrees. The vehicle’s approach and departure angles are each 25 degrees, while its ramp angle is 17 degrees. The vehicle’s ground clearance measures 20 cm.

Subtly different exterior

The much admired styling of the Q5, with its coupe-like roof line and wrap-around tailgate, has been subtly refreshed in this latest generation model. The design of the headlights has been modified, and the xenon units that are standard in S line versions and optional for all others are now framed by new-look LED daytime running lights that form a continuous band surrounding more of the lens. Adaptive lights with dynamic cornering lights and static turning lights are available as an option.

The horizontal lines of the high-performance SUV’s front end are emphasized more strongly. The high-gloss black single frame grille has beveled upper edges; its vertical chrome struts and the Audi rings have a sculpted look. The modified bumpers integrate air inlets with high-gloss black inserts and fog lights with chrome rings.

When xenon plus headlights are fitted, the tail lights also incorporate visually uniform LED light bands. The diffuser insert and the tailpipes that taper at the bottom have been redesigned – in two versions, depending on the engine. Roof rails and crossbars are standard equipment. There is a range of 15 colours, four of which are new to this latest generation model.

The bonnet and tailgate are crafted from aluminium, while a large share of the car’s structural elements integrate ultra-high-strength steels; they reduce weight and improve crash safety. The kerb weight of the base version is 1,755 kg.

New interior refinements

The interior of the Audi Q5 has also been subject to understated refinement. More of the controls are now trimmed in chrome, and modifications have been made to the steering column control stalks, the ignition key and the instruments. The narrow panels of the centre console are now finished in high-gloss black, and the steering wheels now feature the latest Q-specific design.

The ergonomics have also been fine-tuned. The central media component,

MMI navigation plus, now has fewer buttons, and its volume dial has an additional skip function. Other refinements have been made to the controls for the seat heating, the new highly efficient air conditioning system, the Audi drive select system and the multifunction steering wheel.

The Driver’s Information System with its new rest recommendation function is another revised feature that is fitted as standard. If the system detects that the driver’s attentiveness is waning – based on steering wheel movements and other parameters – it recommends that the driver takes a break from driving.

Materials, colours and upholstery fabrics have also been updated – there are three new interior colours, three fabric and three leather qualities and a total of 35 different combinations offering plenty of scope for customisation.

Three specification levels are available in the UK – SE, S line and S line plus. All include alloy wheels varying in size from 18 inches to 20 inches, leather upholstery, electronic climate control, the Driver’s Information System with efficiency function and the new rest recommendation feature, the Multi Media Interface linked to a 6.5-inch colour monitor, rear acoustic parking, light and rain sensors, a hill descent assist function and split/folding rear seats.

S line plus

At the top end, the S line Plus specification combines classic S line exterior and interior styling hallmarks with features such as Audi Music Interface iPod connection, satellite navigation, the Audi Parking System Plus with front and rear sensors and visual distance indicators and powered tailgate operation.

Mobile phone preparation – High with online services is new to the options list for this latest generation model, and is certainly one of its highlights. Its integrated Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) hotspot lets passengers surf the Internet and email with their mobile devices, and it also brings customized online services into the car, such as Google Point of Interest search by voice control, navigation with Google Earth images and Google Street View. Audi traffic information online, a service of Audi connect, offers the driver up-to-the-minute information about traffic on the selected route.

Another new feature is the smartphone app Audi music stream. Q5 drivers can use it to receive more than 5,000 Internet radio stations, and can save their favourites to their mobile phones. The selected program accesses MMI navigation plus via WLAN, and its audio signal is transmitted over the audio system loudspeakers. Web radio is also controlled from the vehicle’s user terminal.

As before, the Q5’s cabin offers ample interior space thanks to the long wheelbase of 2.81 metres. The seatback angles can be adjusted on the rear seats. When these seats are folded – which is very easy using the remote seatback unlatching feature – the cargo capacity increases from 540 to 1,560 litres.

Audi offers an optional rail system for the load bay, a folding front passenger seatback and the rear bench seat plus offering ten centimetres of longitudinal adjustment together with a through-load facility and an integral armrest. The Audi Q5 is also a powerful towing vehicle with up to 2.4 metric tons of trailer load, depending on the engine and hill incline.

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