We drove the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S Tronic Quattro 252 HP: the magic of four rings continues…

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Audis are engineered and build to perfection, and this simple fact is again convincingly shown by the latest Q5 we drove here for you. Audi has produced some marvelous petrol engines, and the stratified fuel injection concept has been tried and tested in Le Mans racing by the brand already years ago. This vast (racing) experience shows of course in the series product. This 2 liter petrol engine truly stands out, as does the whole car by the way. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Superb looks and workmanship

The Q5 has lost nothing of its appeal over the years, and the latest generation looks again quite convincing. The facelift with the more angular styling of the radiator grille gives it extra refinement and panache. Overall proportions are well chosen, and this gives this Audi the timeless elegance which makes it so endearing.

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The Audi design philosophy is also found in the interior, with the S line version throwing in some extras like sports seats with S line logo, special stitching and a leather covered steering wheel which also had the sporting flat lower rim.

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Our test car also sported of course the Audi virtual cockpit, and the instrument cluster display is fully digital. You can choose between smaller and larger clocks, with map display for instance in your line of view, but, instrument buffs as we are, we like the display with the larger clocks, and we just look at the map on the large central touchscreen.

The finish and the quality of the materials is simply superb, and everything just falls in your hand. In the centre console, we now also have a “writing pad”, so you can scribble down the destination with your fingers, and then the Audi simply does the rest…

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A fine seating position is soon found, so it is now time to push the starting knob…

Well honed drivetrain

Audi engineers and test drivers develop their drivetrains always still further to achieve absolute perfection, and the result we experienced here is truly awesome.

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The first minutes after having started up the engine, one asks oneself whether we have here six or four cylinders under the hood. This two liter four cylinder is perfectly balanced and also totally silent, when not pushed, as we will never do when the engine is cold.

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The 7 speed S tronic transmission changes totally imperceptibly, and soon we see ourselves driving at the legal urban speed limit in fifth gear, in total vibrationless silence. Amazing. Of course, even in the “D” mode, a blip of the throttle will give you ample power right away, with the gearbox choosing the ideal gear considering driven speed and power asked. It is of course ideally matched to the torque characteristics of the engine, and will not rev up unduly when there is no need to do so. When you choose the “S” mode, higher revs are preferred, but also here the box will take the most advantage of the torque offered by this unit. What a marvel this engine is. Power development is totally progressive, with maximum power of 252 HP available between 5000 and 6000 rpm, torque being also plentiful, with 370 Nm being available over a wide rev range between 1600 and 4500 rpm.

 

Performance is at the rendez-vous, with acceleration from 0 to 100 in barely 6,3 seconds, top speed being 237 km/h.

This Audi is of course a born high speed Autobahn cruiser, being utterly stable at top speeds, with no wind noise, vibrations or other signs of mechanical stress under these high speed circumstances.

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Fuel economy again depends very much on the way you drive this thoroughbred SUV, which has a kerb weight of not less than 1720 kg. Suffice to say here that the official figures for urban conditions are between 8,3 and 8,6 liters/100 km, combined fuel consumption being given between 6,8 and 7,1 liters. Anticipation and restraint pays off greatly, and indeed consumption around 8 liters/100 km is quite possible.

Excellent handling combined with very good urban manners…

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Our test car came with the adaptive pneumatic suspension, and this lets you tune your Q5 to the exact responsiveness you want. Through the MMI system you can choose between five settings: automatic, dynamic, comfort, allroad and lift/offroad.

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You can even lower the rear end of the car for easier loading/unloading. The suspension is electronically controlled, and the adaptive function is of course continuous. Needless to say that this Q5 can be driven in a very sporting manner, and it is one of the most responsive midsize SUV’s around.

But urbanites don’t have to feel lost in this Audi. Our test car came with the “City” assistance pack, which gives you APS fore and aft, a rear view camera, Audi side assist, a getting out warning system, which warns you of an upcoming car, bicycle or pedestrian when are opening the door and getting out of your Audi.

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There is also a warning system for crossing traffic, and indeed, if you don’t react to the warnings, it will stop the car with a jolt.

Then there is the excellent parking assistant, which searches with its sensors for a proper parking space. Just choose the gear and use throttle and brake, the assistant does the rest… Pushing a knob on the centre console is all you have to do to activate the system.

Creature comfort

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Of course, you are totally spoilt in this Audi. First of all there is the Bang & Olufsen Sound System. Not less than 19 speakers hooked to a 755 watt 16 channel amplifier engulf you in the most delicious sound. We listened with awe to Bach and Diana Krall, and were truly delighted. The system has a 3-D sound feature, which is generated by extra speakers in the A post, the mid-tone speakers and the Fraunhofer-technology  Symphoria. Ever heard of the Fraunhofer Institute for integrated circuits? Well, they developed this Symphoria,  a universal solution for rendering outstanding stereo and 3D surround sound in automotive environments. The intelligent post processing technology virtually opens up the sound image of the sound system, creating a new sense of dimensionality and spaciousness by increasing width, depth and even height of the sound image.

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Symphoria achieves results through the following steps:

During the first step the individual sound components within the audio signal are separated, with help of a semantic analysis process. Following the separation of the individual sound components, the tunable algorithm of Symphoria intelligently distributes the separated audio objects inside the car. Wow! We would suggest, just listen! We already enjoyed the Symphoria lately also in the new Mercedes-Benz E-class W 213 with Burmester sound system…

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Besides the panoramic glass roof, we also liked very much the Audi Phone Box. You can place your phone on the smartphone platform on the centre console, it will connect, and also recharge…

There is sufficient room for five in the Q5, with trunk space being adequate. Minimum volume of the luggage compartment is 550 liter, with both rear backrests down it is 1510 liter.

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Conclusion

The Q5 with its 2 litre petrol engine is awe inspiring. Smooth and powerful, silent, beautifully finished, comfortable, roomy, with excellent handling on windy roads yet at home on fast autobahnen, a car to have and cherish, and above all, enjoy for years to come, if not (half) a lifetime. It is timelessly styled to do this…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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