2018 Audi Q5 test drive review
Dhruv Saxena, Mechanical engineer trying to find his place in the world of automobile journalism.
The second generation Audi Q5 broke cover in September 2016 and more than a year after its world premiere, the SUV has arrived in the Indian market. The Q5 has been a strong performer for the German marquee clocking over 1.6 million unit sales over its nine-year tenure. Its replacement will mount a fresh challenge as it takes on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Volvo XC60, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport looking to build on its predecessor’s success. We spent a few hours behind the wheel of a 2018 Audi Q5 in a bid to figure out if it has to potential to pull it off.
What does it look like?
In typical Audi fashion, the generational change brings about evolutionary updates to the exterior of the Audi Q5. The ignorant may find it challenging to pinpoint the changes Audi has made, though. It gets Audi’s new Singleframe grille coupled with matrix LED headlamps with LED DRLs forming a ‘Q’ motif. The Q5 also carries the company’s signature ‘Tornado’ line visible across the side. Changes to the rear are even harder to spot. A closer inspection reveals sharper creases on the bootlid and tail lamps with rather sophisticated LED detailing.
While the new Q5 may not be radically different from its predecessor in terms of appearance, the redesign gives it sharper lines. Customers and fans of Audi will surely appreciate the modern yet familiar exterior of the 2018 Audi Q5.
What’s it like on the inside?
Finished in a combination of black and beige with wood inserts, the cabin of the Q5 oozes elegance. The quality levels, as expected, are top-notch and the layout of the dashboard is ergonomically spot on. Audi has reduced the number of buttons for the MMI interface making it easier to use. In the Technology grade, the Q5 gains the all-digital Audi Virtual Cockpit featuring a 12.3 inch display.
The list of all the tech on offer is fairly lengthy. There’s a 3-zone climate control system, electrically adjustable seats with memory function, Audi phone box with wireless charging, panoramic sunroof, and a lot more.
Seating four is what we would recommend, but a fifth passenger can be accommodated so long as he/she can live with the slightly intrusive transmission tunnel running through the middle. There’s ample luggage space of around 510 L, which can be expanded to 1,550 L by flipping down the rear bench.
What’s it like to drive?
For now, the sole engine powering the Q5 is a 2.0 L TDI Diesel producing 190 hp and 400 Nm, same as the Audi A4. This makes it slightly more powerful than its predecessor and that, coupled with a significant weight loss of around 90 kg thanks to the utilisation of the MLB Evo platform, translates into more sprightly on-road performance from the SUV. The Q5 can crack the tonne in 7.9 seconds claims Audi, and it will go on to hit a top speed of 218 km/h.
The first thing that you notice while on the move is just how incredibly refined the car feels at any speed. The Audi Q5 cocoons its occupants rather well from the outside world with barely any engine, wind, and road noise filtering in. A short drive restricted mainly to vast open highways gave us a taste this car’s impressive mile munching abilities. The ride and handling characteristics of the 2018 Audi Q5 favour comfort over everything else and that should bode well for most buyers.
For those looking for a more engaging driving experience, the Dynamic mode can always be selected via the Audi Drive Select control. This adds weight to the steering, sharpens throttle response, and firms up the adaptive suspension. For daily use, however, comfort mode will serve users just fine.
Should you buy one?
Audi has launched the Q5 in two grades – Premium Plus and Technology- priced at INR 53.25 lakhs and INR 57.60 lakhs (ex-showroom) respectively. For the price, you get a lot of kit, a comfortable ride, and decent on-road performance. Sure, it may not be the most involving to drive, but most buyers will appreciate its easy to use nature. Some might be put off by the fact that it bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor, but that is the Audi way. Besides, it is still a very attractive looking vehicle. The 2018 Audi Q5, then, comes across as a fresh and worthy rival to the SUVs currently ruling the segment.