It looks sharper, but can it cut it against fierce competition?
The latest Q5 has rather more chiselled looks, and it’s been on a diet too. It’s down 90kg, largely due to more extensive use of aluminium. It now drinks less, has lower emissions and should have slightly more of a punch. Is this a knock-out combination?
It’s clear that one of the major considerations was fuel consumption and emissions. Well, that’s two, but it’s sort of the same thing. Losing that weight instantly makes everything better, from braking distances to performance and, of course, fuel use.
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 190 Quattro S tronic
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Gearbox: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Top speed: 135mph
Economy: 56.5mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 132g/km
The latest 2.0-litre TDI Ultra diesel engine produces 187bhp and works with the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission to use as little fuel as possible while doing so. It decouples engine and gearbox when you come off the throttle and there’s even a new four-wheel drive system that saves further fuel.
It works by replacing the old centre diff with a clutch pack mounted to the rear. This means power only goes to the front wheels most of the time, and if you need all-wheel drive it takes just 200 milliseconds to bring the rear into play.
The overall effect is to improve fuel consumption by 16%, no mean feat, with emissions down 15%. Which is all great, but has it made the Q5 a worthy and dull vehicle as a consequence?
It must be said that the engine’s performance is entirely adequate. We’re talking sensible here. How would you like to be described as entirely adequate and sensible? But there you are, it is. And the handling is delightfully soft and compliant, with a definite waft factor.
On the other hand, that was with the optional air suspension on Comfort, and it does toughen up in Dynamic. Yet it’s not a sporting ride whatever mode you play with, this is no Jaguar F-Pace. We’ll also want to see how it goes with stock springs or the cheaper option of the adaptive suspension.
But you forgive a lot when you sit in the cabin. It’s so well put together that it feels like it could take a direct hit from something explosive and still shrug it off. Every switch, every surface, every moving part either moves or sits still exactly as it ought. There is also decent space for all occupants, who will have enough room to fit 550 litres of wine in the boot too. If you want to slide and recline the rear seats you can, and you can liberate another 60-litres worth of wine as well.
So the new Q5 is hardly a lightweight champion, it just doesn’t have the punch. But it is slowly getting better and better with every iteration until it’s now got to the point where it’s hard to criticise if you like what it is. It’s decently sized, very comfortable, beautifully put together, spacious and has an air of class. That will do for a great number of people.