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Australians can't get enough SUVs. So it makes sense for BMW to wave its M Performance wand over the compact X3, to produce a quick, capable and entertaining package.
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In 2019, from a range boasting more than a dozen different models, the mid-size luxury Q5 SUV was Audi Australia’s best seller.
Right-sized for the city, yet large enough for the highway, its appeal is partially underpinned by a premium, but not over-the-top price list stretching from around $65,000 to just over $90K.
We spent a week behind the wheel of the second-from-the-top 45 TFSI Sport to see if this Q5’s Vorsprung and Durch match its Technik.
|Audi Q5 2020: 45 Tfsi Quattro Sport|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Audi has honed its design game to a fine point over the last decade, making its cars consistently handsome and instantly recognisable, although borderline uniformity in the treatment of key elements will be perplexing for some.
Angry, angular (in this case LED) headlights, sitting either side of the signature ‘single frame’ grille set the tone, with our test example’s ‘Mythos Black’ metallic finish largely absorbing many characteristic details.
These include long strakes on either side of a broad bonnet that closes over the top of (rather than inside) the front guards, and an arrow straight character line running from the rear of the car along the mid-section to the leading edge of the front doors.
The carefully shaped profiles around the front and side (car designers call it surfacing) create a clean, tightly wrapped look. And the Bavarian maker is currently playing a strong hand on wheel design, the optional ‘5-arm off-road’ rims added to the test car (20-inch, as per standard fit) complementing the Q5’s cool personality.
Current Audi SUV design hallmarks are also present and accounted for at the rear, including sharply tapered LED tail-lights, the hatch door covering virtually the full width of the body, and a substantial spoiler continuing the roofline across the top of the back window.
Inside, the cabin displays simplicity, confidence, and restraint worthy of a Bauhaus case study. The sweeping dashboard combines chiselled angles with neatly curved borders, the only hiccup being the 8.3-inch multimedia screen perched above the central air vents, looking uncomfortably like an afterthought.
The ‘Virtual Cockpit’ configurable instrument display places a 12.3-inch digital screen underneath an unassuming binnacle, and seat decoration matches the exterior with long, uncomplicated lines adding just enough visual interest.
A wheelbase just over 2.8m is in line with the Q5’s mid-size premium SUV competition, the Goldilocks zone for a broad target audience, offering generous room between the axles for decent accommodation with enough left over for useful utility.
The driver and front passenger inhabit a snug environment with a sporty cockpit feel thanks to the dashboard’s angular projection back into the cabin and a broad centre console between the seats. But there’s still more than enough breathing room, and storage is plentiful, including a medium-size lidded box/armrest (with a USB-A port and ‘aux-in’ jack inside), twin cupholders, a slim recess in the console for coins, pens, etc, and a ‘Qi’ wireless charging pad ahead of the gearshift for compatible mobile devices (with a second USB-A input beside it). The glove box is reasonably generous and provides access to a DVD/CD player, two SD (XC) card readers and 10GB flash memory for media storage, while door bins include a recessed section for large bottles.
In the second row, sitting behind the driver’s seat set to my 183cm position, I had plenty of headroom and heaps of legroom, but if you have smaller people in the rear, thanks to the ‘Comfort package’ fitted to our test car, the 40/20/40 split rear seat is able to slide forward (as a whole or in part) to increase boot capacity. Three large adults across the rear will be an uncomfortably tight fit, but two grown-ups with a child or smaller adult in-between will be fine.
There are storage nets on the back of the front seats, two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest, door pockets (again able to accept large bottles), twin adjustable air vents with climate control, two charge-only USB ports and a 12-volt socket. So, no complaints from back-seaters needing to charge phones or games.
With rear seats upright, maximum cargo volume is 550 litres, which is on par with the BMW X3 and Merc GLC, and more than enough to swallow our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres), or the jumbo size CarsGuide pram.
Fold the back seat flat (via levers in the load space or on the seats themselves) and available space increases to 1550 litres, which is plenty, but around 50 litres less than the BMW and Benz. If load capacity is a key priority you may want to think about the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which tips in with 1698 litres.
There are tie-down points in the cargo floor and a retaining net (with tensioning straps) is standard. Handy, netted storage areas sit behind each rear wheel tub and shopping bag hooks are a practical touch. The standard electric rear tailgate features gesture control (via a sweeping foot action) for hands-free operation.
At $73,500, before on-road costs, the 45 TFSI is second-top spec in a five model Q5 range, and lines up against similarly sized and specified competitors like BMW’s X3 xDrive 30i xLine ($73,900), the Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic ($79,700), Land Rover’s Discovery Sport P250 R-Dynamic SE ($71,232), and the Volvo XC60 T5 Inscription ($71,990).
This car’s squarely in premium territory, on the cusp of upper luxury, so it’s fair to expect a solid set of standard features, and the Q5 doesn’t disappoint.
Over and above a comprehensive active and passive safety package (detailed in the Safety section) the 45 TFSI features, adaptive cruise control, auto headlights, auto rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights (including LED DRLs, and tail-lights with dynamic indicators), electrically-adjustable and heated driver and front passenger seats (with memory for the driver), and the ‘Audi virtual cockpit’, a 12.3 inch configurable, digital instrument cluster.
Plus, there’s ‘leather-appointed’ trim, three-zone climate control (with ventilated glove box and rear digital display), ambient lighting (exterior door handles, entrance, front centre console, footwells, inside door handles, and door trims), plus a leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, 20-inch alloy rims, and an electric tailgate (with gesture control).
An 8.3 inch hi-res colour display manages the Audi ‘MMI’ media system including a Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system (19 speakers and 755-watt/16-channel amp) incorporating digital radio, an in car Wi-Fi hotspot and Google services, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, voice control, plus 3D navigation (including five map updates).
That’s a very tidy basket of fruit for a car weighing in under $75,000.
The Q5 45 TFSI is powered by the VW Group (EA888) 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine featuring an iron block and alloy head, direct-injection and variable cam/valve timing on the exhaust and intake sides.
Peak power is 180kW, available from 5000-6500rpm, and maximum torque is 370Nm arriving across a wide plateau from 1600-4300rpm.
Drive goes to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission and Audi’s ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive system using an electronically-controlled, multi-plate clutch centre differential, and the ‘quattro ultra’ rear diff that (in conjunction with the centre unit) decouples when AWD isn’t needed to reduce mechanical drag and improve fuel efficiency.
Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 7.3L/100km, the Q5 45 TFSI emitting 167g/km of CO2 in the process.
Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded and you’ll need 70 litres of it to fill the tank.
Over roughly 300km of city, suburban and freeway running we recorded an average of 11.4L/100km, which is a solid miss relative to the claim, but a more expected number for a close to 1.8-tonne five-seater.
Audi claims the Q5 45 TFSI will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.3sec, which is decidedly snappy for a mid-size, five-seat SUV, and with maximum torque (370Nm) available from just 1600rpm up to 4500rpm mid-range performance is satisfyingly strong.
In ‘normal’ city driving, even in Sport mode, power delivery is close to linear, although a slightly delayed push in the back is the norm when squeezing the right pedal more aggressively.
The seven-speed dual-clutch auto is slick and fuss-free, the standard wheel-mounted paddles delivering rapid and precise manual changes on demand.
Suspension is by multi-links (five) front and rear, and ride comfort, despite standard 20-inch rims, is impressive. Standard rubber is 255/45 Michelin Latitude Sport 3, an SUV-oriented tyre with wet weather performance and low rolling resistance (to help fuel economy) as key priorities. They’re quiet, and in more spirited driving, surprisingly grippy.
Take the long way home and this family focused SUV feels well balanced and predictable. The quattro system shuffles drive between the axles seamlessly, and the ride/handling balance is excellent. Any shift from front- to all-wheel drive is imperceptible.
Steering is electromechanical and remains nicely weighted, with good road feel in the city and on the highway thanks to speed-dependent assistance.
Braking is by sizeable vented discs at the front and solid rotors at the rear. They’re powerful yet refined with an agreeably progressive pedal feel.
The multi-adjustable front seats are grippy, yet comfortable over the long haul, and in line with the current Audi norm, ergonomics are top-shelf.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The Q5 scored a maximum five-star rating when it was assessed by ANCAP in June, 2017, so no surprise it’s loaded with active and passive safety tech.
All the expected active features are on-board, including ABS, ASR, EDL, Brake Assist, and ESC (with electronic wheel-selective torque control). And you can add, AEB and pedestrian detection (detects impending collisions at up to 85km/h and can reduce speed by up to 40km/h), adaptive cruise (with ‘Stop&Go’ including traffic jam assist, distance indicator and speed limiter), active lane assist, and driver attention assist.
Plus, the 45 TFSI includes, a reversing camera (with front and rear sensors), ‘Audi pre-sense front’ (collision warnings up to the car’s maximum speed), blind spot warning, ‘Collision avoidance assist’ (extra steering torque in evasive action situations), rear cross-traffic alert, an exit warning system (detects cars and cyclists when opening doors), auto headlight with high beam assist (automatic shift between low and high beam), rain-sensing wipers, turn assist (monitors oncoming traffic when turning right at low speeds), and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
But if all that isn’t enough to avoid an impact, passive tech runs to, eight airbags (driver and passenger front, front and rear passenger side, and full-length curtain), an active bonnet to minimise pedestrian injuries, and ‘Audi pre-sense rear’ (flashes hazard lights at high frequency and prepares brakes, belts, etc for a collision).
Audi covers the Q5 with a three year/unlimited km warranty, which is in line with BMW and Merc, but lags the mainstream market where five years/unlimited km is the norm, with Kia and SsangYong at seven years.
That said, body cover runs to three years for paint defects and 12 years for corrosion (perforation).
Recommended service interval is 12 months/15,000km, and ‘Audi Genuine Care Service Plans’ offer capped price servicing options over three years ($1710) and five years ($2720).
The Audi Q5 is a rapid, comfortable, and space-efficient five-seat SUV. It has the safety and standard specification to match it with the big guns in this part of the market, delivered in a handsome, precisely executed package. Better fuel economy and a longer warranty would make a good thing even better.
|40 TDI Quattro Design||2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$65,900||2020 Audi Q5 2020 40 TDI Quattro Design Pricing and Specs|
|40 TDI Quattro Sport||2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$71,600||2020 Audi Q5 2020 40 TDI Quattro Sport Pricing and Specs|
|45 Tfsi Quattro Design||2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$66,900||2020 Audi Q5 2020 45 Tfsi Quattro Design Pricing and Specs|
|45 Tfsi Quattro Sport||2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$73,500||2020 Audi Q5 2020 45 Tfsi Quattro Sport Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||8|