Recently while watching a James Bond movie, I was baffled as to why the aged head of the Technical Department of British Secret Service was called as Q? I still am yet to figure out however after seeing a Audi Q5 commercial, I understood why he was called as Q. Well not exactly and I may be wrong on this but then certainly on a figurative basis, I did. Q stands for excellence according to the ones at Ingolstadt and the Q series vehicles from the Audi symbolize that only. This brings me to the fact that we haven’t reviewed the Audi Q5 in India, here at Indiandrives. The Audi Q5 was recently in the news for the only fact that it was launched with a cheaper version of its 3.0 liter Tdi motor, the 2.0 Tdi. While the Q5 may be selling like hot cakes for the moment, its older sibling, the Q7 is no less a performer with its first customer being none less than John Abraham himself. So today, the Audi Q5 is going to be ripped apart and while there may be no connection between Mr Q and the Audi Q5, I believe perfection is something which both strive to achieve.
It looks exactly like how a Q should look like and that is a scaled version of the Audi Q7. The huge wide Audi goatee grille plus that 4 interlocked rings would give away the fact that this is an Audi, even from a distance. The MLP or Modular Longitudinal platform is the one on which this SUV is based, is shared with the Audi Q7 as well. However from a distance it can be very easily gauged that this is a Q5 and not a Q7 due to its size apparentness as also the difference in how the goatee grille is presented. The head lamps also have a bluish tinge to them and have the day time running LEDs string, which is an Audi trademark now. The 235/60 R17 tyre size with an option to upgrade to 19 inchers is also humongous but less than what it seems in the mighty Q7. The Audi Q5 in India is also made from aluminium as most of the Audi cars are. However pure Q7 cues abound from the rear of this car wherein one would never want to mistake this car for anything else other than an Audi. It is said that the upcoming Audi Q3 would also have similar rear treatment.
Suede Milano leather interiors plus a parts bin that is plucked from its smaller sibling, the Audi A4 helps keep costs down. By the way, the interiors of the A4 are in no way offensive and contribute to the posh feeling. The steering wheel has that dark leather, like the rest of the upholstery, covering it. The necessary audio and cruise control buttons are mounted on the steering wheel though Bluetooth function is still a dream away. While the meter dials are seemingly different from others in its ilk with their slightly motorbike like resting position, the others like the dashboard plastics and multi information display are shared with the other Audis. Paddle shifts are optional on the 2.0 liter TFSI and the 2.0 liter TDI while 3.0 liter TDI gets it as standard. Other optional features include a terrific sounding Bang and Olufsen stereo system, which I have time and again said that is a far better option than the Harman Kardon system which Mercedes offers. The Multi Media Interface again is standard on the 3.0 liter variant while the other two get it as an option. Unfortunately not too many storage options abound other than the weirdly shaped glove box and two cup holders. The steering wheel in all the variants is tilt adjustable and makes for an easy adjusting process. Unfortunately the leather isn’t perforated as the ones for the Passat and hence back sweating was one grave problem. The rear seat can seat three in comfort but the leg room is a bit lacking and that is if you have already checked out the Audi Q7. The cargo space available is 540 liters but the loading lip is on the higher side and hence loading the available cargo space is a bit of a problem. However the rear seats flip forward liberating about 1560 liters of space. If you want to make out in an expensive SUV, then this would be it. Build quality feels great as well.
Handling and ride quality
The Audi Q5 in India boasts of five-link front suspension which is made of aluminium and independent trapezoidal-link for the front and rear suspension respectively. All wheel drive or Quattro is a permanent feature and this makes the Audi Q5 quite an agile beast. Starting with the city limits, the car noticeably is less ponderous to pilot than the bigger and meaner Q7. The steering wheel is light and remains so even at elevated speeds making the Q5 lose out on the handling front. High stability however is good and the Q boasts of one of the lowest drag coefficient in its class. The ride quality however is on the harder side of comfortable. The Q does let one know as to what is going beneath the road surface. Audi India have kitted the Q5 (all variants) with reverse parking sensors and also an optional rear camera. ESP is always present on hand should things go a bit slippery. Hill Descent Control as also Hill Ascent Control system is present which articulates the wheels and brakes if the vehicle is ascending or descending an incline. NVH from all the engines is on the lower side though the 2.0 TDI does become a bit noisy as compared to the 2.0 liter TFSI or the 3.0 liter TDI. Just wish that it didn’t have such a rough ride quality. A bit of off-roading is afforded by the 200 mm of ground clearance though extremities is better handled by other SUVs like the Range Rover or Mitsubishi Montero.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
Audis are usually offered with multiple engine options in India and the Audi Q5 in India is no different. However the newer engine of the lot, the 2.0 liter TDI in any way doesn’t differ from its peers as far as the interiors are concerned. Its only when the hood is popped open that one notices the engine difference. This 2.0 liter TDI motor makes a peak power of 170 Bhp while the torque figure reads as 350 Nm. A 7 speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties. By the way, this is a DSG box. Shifts are precise and there is no hesitation from the engine to either shift up or down the rev range. This motor enables the porky 1690 kgs car to run from 0-100 kmph in only 9.3 seconds. The 3.0 liter TDI motor makes 240 Bhp of power and a huge 500 Nm of torque whereas the 2.0 liter TFSI motor makes 211 Bhp and 340 Nm of torque. The same 7 speed DSG is offered on both the engines. While the 3.0 liter TDI motor is an absolute stonker going from 0-100 kmph in less than 8.5 seconds, the 2.0 liter just begs to be caned. No wonder that it has consistently won the engine of the year, year after year. All the three variants have an approximate top speed of 200 kmph plus.
Brakes as always are fantastic and various aids like EBD, ESP and ABS cut short the work of bringing this heavy vehicle to a halt. Safety is also top notch with almost 5 star ratings in almost all the markets where it is present. “N” number of air bags and also pretensing seat belts and various other aids. Fuel efficiency however takes a big hit with the TFSI motor registering an overall 7.7 kmpl, the 2.0 liter motor turning out an overall 11.2 kmpl and the 3.0 liter TDI returning 10.1 kmpl overall. Healthy figures as far as the diesel motors are concerned and no so good number keeping the petrol motor in mind.
The Audi Q5 in India is not at all a niche product. Infact the company thinks that this SUV would infact be its volumes generator. The A4 and the Q5 are the two products that Audi currently banks on to keep its chances in the Indian context alive. The Q5 has the butch image going for it plus loads of road presence (if the 4 rings don’t draw your attention, the day time running white lights would), plenty of equipment (atleast as option) and good overall space. It has neat dynamics to boot for and a choice of excellent diesel and petrol motors. The factors going against it are the lack of standard equipment, fuel efficiency and also the lack of proper service centers. A good product can hardly be discounted for and hence the Audi Q5 with its bit of off-roading prowess makes for a tempting buy, especially factoring the prices. The Audi Q5 price in India starts from Rs 37 lakhs and goes all the way to Rs 46 lakhs. The Rs 37 lakhs sticker price is for the petrol while the 2.0 liter diesel comes in at Rs 39 lakhs and the 3.0 liter V6 TDI comes in at Rs 46 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. I am in love with the Q5 and while the Q in James Bond movies tried to come up with newer and innovative equipments, Audi India have also being trying to bring out new technologies in the Q5 and keep it fresh in the minds of the Indian car buying public.