You can't argue with the figures - Audi's Q5 is one of the German manufacturer's most popular models here. That's due to a number of factors not the least being price, practicality, size and style.
The Q5's a good looking ‘truck’ with a high practicality rating and good value when compared against Audi's own Avant (wagon) models. Would you buy a sedan based Avant for more money than similar size Q5? No.
Aussies are obsessive about value for money and the Q5 delivers possibly the best value in Audi's local line-up right now with leather, 10 speaker audio, auto lights and wipers, 17-inch alloys and more goodies as standard starting from the “base” 2.0-litre model.
It has just been upgraded after three and a bit years with new, all turbo engines and a new more assertive face with those striking daytime running lights. But Audi says the main thrust of changes is under the skin. As usual, there's an extensive options list available for those wanting to give their cheque book a hiding.
Q5's appeal is heightened by its practicality emphasised this time around by a flexible rear seat offering fore/aft movement, the trade mark clam shell tail gate, large luggage space, numerous cup holders, under seat storage, storage nets and tie down hooks in the back. Everything a family on the go would need.
The vehicle is enhanced this time around with keyless access, an electric tailgate, and roof rails with aerodynamic cross bars. Inside, the Q5 benefits from similar recent upgrades to Audi A4 and A5 line-ups - new Man Machine Interface, better Bluetooth, new steering wheel, colour options, surface textures and fascia.
Q5 can be virtually individualised by simply ticking the boxes and paying the money. You can even go for the tougher looking off road package that yields a handy 200mm ground clearance.
All four engines have been upgraded to give up to 15 per cent better fuel economy. This is aided by electric power steering, engine stop/start, brake energy recovery, thermal engine management and aircon' efficiency improvements.
Drive Select with Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual modes is standard across the Q5 range. The volume selling 165kW/350Nm 2.0-litre TFSi petrol model ($62,900) has direct and indirect injection and variable valve timing on the inlet and exhaust sides.
The turbo is a variable geometry unit cast into the manifold for efficiency. It will pass Euro 6 emissions regulations and consume as little as 7.9-litres/100km while covering a 0-100kmh sprint in 7.1 seconds. Drive goes to the wheels via an eight- speed auto transmission in the petrol models.
Other engines include a 3.0-litre V6 TFSi turbo petrol with 200kW/400Nm output, a 2.0 TDi with seven speed dual clutch S-Tronic transmission and 130kW/380Nm and a 3.0-litre V6 TDi again with seven speed S-Tronic and 180kW/580Nm. This model is capable of sipping fuel at 6.4-litres/100km and putting away a 0-100kmh sprint in 6.5 seconds.
We were able to take the new Q5 for a long drive into the Flinders Ranges and up to a hot little place called Parachilna. It was tough country on sealed and unsealed roads neither of which fazed the new Q5 2.0 TDi and 3.0 TDi we drove over about 600km.
They really go well offering plenty of grunt and easy, economical high speed cruising. We sat on a high speed for hours and got out at the end without fatigue just looking for a beer to quench our thirst in the 43 degree heat. Even took the Q5 bush bashing where, once again, it proved a handy device - within reason of course.
Had a crack at the 2.0 TFSi petrol too. It's probably the one we'd go for because of the available performance and purchase price.
Like the styling, the features and the price. No wonder Q5 rides high in the Audi family.
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic
Price: from $62,200
Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel, 125kW/350Nm
Transmission: 7-speed auto, 4WD
Thirst: 6.8L/100Km, CO2 179g/km
BMW X3 xDrive20d
Price: from $62,200
Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel, 135kW/380Nm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, 4WD
Thirst: 5.6L/100Km, CO2 147g/km
Range Rover Evoque TD4 Pure
Price: from $55,875
Engine: 2.2-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel, 110kW/400Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 4WD
Thirst: 6.5L/100Km, CO2 174g/km