Design Review – Audi Q5
Kaustubh Shinde, They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store. Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!
Human evolution has transformed the male species from a rugged lumberjack to a soft gentleman. A similar analogy can be applied to most modern SUV models
At one point of time SUVs were supposed to be mountain climbing, river crossing workhorses like the Land Rover Defender, Mercedes G Wagen, Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol et al.
Things are a bit different now. SUVs have made way for luxury crossovers whose primary motive is to trundled the city streets acting all macho and brute, looking down upon hatchbacks and sedans. One such contender is the Audi Q5 – a mid-size luxury SUV from the Ingolstadt star. The Audi Q5 is the second member of Audi’s ‘Q’ family and sits between the Q3 and Q7 in the Audi SUV range.
Now, we know that very recently Audi has given a comprehensive facelift to the Q5 internationally. However there is still some time left before the facelift hits Indian shores. So we thought why not get a good feel of the outgoing model to make sure that we are updated when we get our hands on the facelifted one next year. Also, Audi India might be offering some good discounts or interesting schemes on the outgoing model, so you better pay attention to this one!
Audi’s most successful model in India is definitely the Q7. A darling child of most Bollywood celebrities and wealthy businessmen, the Q7 is the flagship SUV for the ‘four rings’. But a lot of us don’t earn a 10 digit annual salary figure to afford the Audi Q7. So Audi decided to solve this problem by adopting a simple mantra – Honey! I shrunk the Q7.
The best way to describe the design of the Audi Q5 is to say it’s a 75% Xerox copy of the Audi Q7. However, unlike the Audi Q7 which is essentially built out of heavy-vehicle body parts, the Audi Q5 shares its platform with the A4. The Audi Q5 is 4.63 meters long, 1.88 meter wide and only 1.65 meter high above the ground making it a superb city runabout. There is something quite right about the dimensions which makes it very easy to park.
Upfront you have a wide imposing grill which is made out of a single piece of metal. Our review car had a fully chromed up front grill and a fake metal skid plate. It was a perfect fit for an Indian rap star!
The prominent Audi four rings logo sits proudly on the grill. The headlamps have Xenon plus bulbs and LED daytime running lights. The huge fog lamp surrounding area is unusually prominent in the front fascia especially with such tiny circular foglamps.
The Audi Q5’s body is completely flanked by lines and creases but they are subtle enough to not overpower the design.
The side profile is largely dominated by huge 17 inch, 6-spoke alloys and the sloping coupe-like roof line. The Audi Q5 also gets a neat metal side step and flat roof rails both coated in chrome to further add to the bling.
The flared wheel arches manage to give it that ‘off roadish appeal’. The ORVMs swing upwards when the car is locked and are fitted with LED turn indicators.
No one will argue with you if you say that the front fascia of the Audi Q5 is slightly different from the elder brother Q7. But say that same thing about Q5 rear fascia and you are welcoming brick bats.
The Audi Q5’s rear fascia is identical to the Audi Q7, its only a bit smaller.
The taillights have an exquisite detailing of LED lights. The rear also gets some protection thanks to a metal under-guard, that looks heavy-duty. The dual exhaust pipes and roof integrated spoiler bring back the sporty character of the Audi Q5.
There is no hiding from the fact that the Audi Q5 gives you a very déjà vu feeling. Audi tries to sell the design as a ‘family look’ with jolly words such as ‘lineage’ and ‘heritage’. The marketing gimmickry was fine when the Audi Q5 used to compete with the old generation BMW X3 which was as unattractive as a BMW can be. But things have changed now.
he new BMW X3 has a much superior design and a commanding presence on road. Moreover, the new competition in form of the Range Rover Evoque and the Volvo XC60 have individuality in their design, and stand for different meanings than their elder siblings.
In such a situation, the Audi Q5 needs to have something more creative than a family design. We are not saying that the Audi Q5 is ugly, oh no, it is a very good looking car. It still grabs a good number of eye balls on roads, it would look brilliant in your building’s parking space and manages to command respect on the road as well, but it is just not creative anymore.