Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
YOU could very well say that the Q5 arrived on cue, this Q4 of 2017.
This is an important, much-awaited release from Ingostadt, Germany-based Audi. The luxury SUV’s outgoing version had been in production since 2008 and, major and minor refreshes aside, the all-new generation arrives just in time for a 2018 badge — marking exactly a decade (at least in model years) between iterations.
Of course, a lot has happened in the interim, such as the worldwide explosion of the SUV format. The Q5 itself can be seen as the beginning of Audi’s decisive incursion into the market (the bigger Q7 was first sold in 2003). Obviously, it was an experiment that paid off, as evidenced by the growth of the line through subsequent launches of the Q3 and the Q2.
If the brand seemed to have taken its time cobbling together a successor to the original Q5, some insight may be gleaned from what Audi AG board chairman Rupert Stadler said in a statement about the Q5, “[It] was for many years the world’s best-selling SUV in its class. It was no easy task to design its successor, but that is precisely why it is so very exciting.”
Last week Audi Philippines unveiled the all-new Q5. “This car [sets] the bar higher for SUVs in its class,” declared Audi Philippines head Benedicto T. Coyiuto in a speech. “As proof of the brand’s corporate tag line, ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ or ‘Advancement through Technology,’ the Audi Q5 boasts of great innovations such as the Quattro all-wheel drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, air suspension with damper control, and a comprehensive lineup of infotainment and assistance systems. I believe it will continue to be the bestselling luxury compact SUV here in the Philippines.”
The new Q5 comes with turbocharged power plants sipping either diesel or gas. The TDI boasts a swept volume of 2.0 liters, delivering outputs of 190hp and 400Nm. With the engines mated to a seven-speed S Tronic transmission, the Q5 musters a zero-to-100 kph time of 7.9 seconds — up to a maximum rate of 217 kph. The gasoline engine, also displacing 2.0 liters, boasts 250hp and 350Nm, and speeds up to 100 kph quicker in 7.2 seconds. It is similarly mated to a seven-speed S Tronic transmission, and reportedly attains a maximum rate of 222 kph. Of note, the new transmission, according to Audi, features a “fuel-saving freewheel function” which the driver can control through a selection lever or shift paddles.
Audi points to design that is meant to refer to its proprietary Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, such as the Q5’s “strongly emphasized wheel arches,” while an “undercut shoulder line gives structure to the side view.” Overall, Audi wants to attain an “image of width and presence” in addition, one might contend, to pulling the Q5 into the brand’s forward-looking present.
In an exclusive interview, Audi Philippines sales manager and product specialist Paolo L. Brambilla told BusinessWorld that the marque “has been known for advancements in technology, and the [company] invested on a lot of new tech for the all-new Q5, such as the Virtual Cockpit, MMI [Multi Media Interface] navigation, the engines, and also the transmission.”
The Virtual Cockpit, gaining adoption on new Audi releases, “presents brilliant graphics on its high-resolution 12.3-inch screen. The driver can choose from two views — a classic view with large round instruments and a mode in which the navigation map or lists dominate.” The MMI, on the other hand, is predicated on an 8.3-inch touch display plus a touchpad integrated into a large rotary dial. An Audi smart phone interface conveniently introduces Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the new Q5, even as a “the Audi phone box connects smart phones to the vehicle’s antenna for optimal reception quality.”
Mr. Brambilla added that the new generation also heralds adaptive air suspension as an option, while a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system (with 3-D Sound) previously available only on the A8 and R8 now appears as standard on the all-new Q5.
BIGGER, YET LIGHTER
Physically, the second-generation Q5 measures 4.66 meters long, 1.89 meters wide, and 1.66 meters tall, with a 2.82-meter wheelbase. Audi says these numbers represent growth over the previous iteration — even as the new one has shed up to 90 kilograms in weight, made possible by a more “intelligent material mix” of maximum tensile steel and aluminum.
The cabin, reported Audi in a release, also gains more space as a true five-seater, and adds that “the rear seat back of the new Audi Q5 is split into three segments” for flexibility. “The basic volume of the luggage compartment ranges from 550 to 610 liters, 10 liters more than in the previous model. When the rear bench is folded down, this volume grows to 1,550 liters. Cargo loading is simplified by intelligent solutions like a standard, variably folding mat, optional sensor control of the power tailgate and manual lowering of the body via the optional air suspension.”
It may be a hackneyed concept, but there is indeed truth to the thinking that the Q5 has returned with everything we love in it, yet is bestowed the relevancy to win new devotees now and in the near future.