Sunday, May 17, 2009

Audi Q5 Test Drive



Actual Malaysian Base Model Q5 (Picture Courtesy of Motor Trader Malaysia)

I had the pleasure of test driving Audi's brand new Q5 this week, courtesy of the friendly people at Euromobil Glenmarie.

Cost

Standard Spec

Nett selling price RM 297,916.40 Registration & Inspection fees RM 650.00
Road Tax RM 433.60
OTR Retail Price without insurance RM 299,000.00


S-Line Spec (adds 19 inch five spoke rims, Milano full leather sport seats, sports steering wheel
with S-Line badging & headlining in black cloth)

Nett selling price RM 323,916.40
Registration & Inspection fees RM 650.00
Road Tax RM 433.60
OTR Retail Price without insurance RM 325,000.00


Colors Available at Launch:
Base model - Ibis White, Ice Silver, Phantom Black (by opting for the S-Line package, buyers will have more color options)


Optional Accessories
Bang & Olufsen sound system RM 6,000.00
Panaromic glass roof RM 10,000.00
Electronically opening & closing tailgate RM 6,500.00


Technical Information

The Q5 shares the same platform as the B8 A4 and is powered by a 155kw two-litre turbo engine (211 hps / 350 Nm of torque). The car does 0-100 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds. This engine is not an updated version of Volkswagen’s popular MKV Golf GTI 2.0 TFSI (147kw). It is actually a new power plant of the "EA888" generation of engines which powered the GTI Edition 30, a special model released to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the GTI. Also, unlike the front wheel drive Golf, the Q7's little brother comes with Audi's signature quattro permanent four wheel drive system. Another interesting titbit is that the Q5’s front suspension is borrowed from the A4 and its rear from the A6/A8 line. Lastly, the Q5's engine is mated to Audi's 7-speed S-Tronic twin clutch transmission.

Exterior

Ever since I saw the car in the flesh at this year’s Melbourne International Motor Show, I always thought that the Q5 was a handsome car. This perception was only reinforced when I walked up to my test unit which was parked outside Euromobil's Audi hanger. From the car's futuristic LED headlight cluster, to the rakish design of its tail lights - the car just oozes masculinity. I did notice though that when looking at the Q5 side on, it looked a bit 'tubby' but this was probably due to the solid white color (Ibis White). I'm sure the S-Line version with 19 inch rims and a darker metallic paint option will sort this problem out!

Bottomline, I personally think that Audi's baby SUV looks much better than BMW's X3 (both the current & future model) and Volkwagen's Tiguan.


The Q5's LED Headlight Cluster & Rear Tail Lights (Picture courtesy of Motor Trader Malaysia)

Ibis White Audi Q5 at test launch - base model with 19 inch rims (Photo Courtesy of www.oneshift.com)

Interior

The interior was bedecked with supple black leather and I was able to find a comfortable driving position, thanks to the Q5's electronic seats (complete with lumbar support). The red dials on the speedometer, a Audi trademark, is clear and quite pleasing to look at. Like most Volkswagen AG cars, the driver's information screen is sited between the rev-counter and speedometer. It always shows the current selected gear and the driver is able to access information about the car by utilizing the steering wheel buttons.

The Audi sales rep gave a brief demonstration of the MMI system by slotting a SD Card into the centre dash and played some music tracks at the touch of a button. The Malaysian model is equipped with Audi’s Symphony radio and sound quality was pretty darn good. The Euromobil employee also connected his mobile phone via the Bluetooth prep system and it was all rather simple and easy to use.

My previous ride was a Volkswagen and there is a marked difference in terms of cabin quality. The Audi felt more upmarket. This should be the case anyway since even though VW and Audi are under the same corporate umbrella, they target different segments of the driving public. Overall the cabin was just about right - airy and well built. The car's luggage capacity is 540 litres and spacious enough for the needs of a young family. The rear seats are comfortable as well, according to a friend of mine who came along for the ride. As for those people who love being in a position of control or authority - not to worry, the Q5's SUV height gives you a throne from which you can lord over other road users!

On The Road

Before leaving Euromobil, I had already begun to fiddle with Audi's Drive Select system. While making my way out of the tight small lanes of Kawasan Perindustrian Temasya, the Q5 in Comfort mode was supple and the light steering wheel setting, made for easy manoeuvring. There was little body roll, even during sharp turns. Pot holes and road irregularities were soaked up by the cosseting ride. Upon reaching Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang Jaya, I switched to Auto mode and you could already feel a difference in terms of power delivery and ride - pick up had improved and the car felt more planted. The steering wheel began to feel 'meatier' too.


As I passed Saujana Golf & Country Club, I swapped to Dynamic and after making sure that there weren't any other road users near me, began to move the car from side to side while at cruising speed and the Q5 felt unbelievably solid. The steering wheel felt so direct and meaty yet never too heavy. You just had to point at where you wanted the car to go and it went! The ride was slightly more on the firm side, so some people might find it a bit too harsh for daily driving (but that’s what Comfort mode is for isn't it?). I reckon that Dynamic is just perfect for a blast down the highway or for some spirited driving on nice stretch of winding road. Prior to returning the car to Euromobil, I couldn't resist doing a standstill launch to see if the 7.2 seconds figure was accurate. Needless to say, thanks to the engine, the quattro four wheel drive system and the lovely gearbox, the car is capable of doing just that (not to mention making me smile with the sudden rush of unadulterated speed!).

Conclusion

Try to imagine the Q5 as a large hot hatch and you would probably have a good idea of what the car is all about. It definitely isn't an A4 on stilts. Despite weighing in at a hefty 1730kg (unladen), the car is fast, handles well (for a SUV - feels more like a premium sports sedan) and isn't so large as to make the task of driving it around town a chore (try parking a Q7 on a weekend and you'll see what I mean). Some people might argue that buyers are better off purchasing Volkswagen's Tiguan rather than spending RM50,000 more on the Q5. Having driven the Tiguan (which is based on the MKV Golf chassis - meaning its smaller than the Q5), I would say that if you could afford to spend fifty grand more, you might as well get the Audi. By doing so, you get the S-Tronic / DSG gearbox (Tiguan has a regular 6 speed transmission), a much more powerful engine (the VW's powerplant puts out 147kw and does 0-100 in 8.5 seconds) and the Q5 will have a longer shelf life since its European launch was in November 2008 (the Tiguan was launched in Europe in November 2007).

10 comments:

WAY said...

Let me be the first to make a comment on your wonderful blog site! :)

Excellent write up. This is the first time I have seen the sports seats as we don't get this option in Australia even with the S-line. I think it is very nice with the alcantara centre. With regards to the engine, are you sure this is the same engine as the GTI 30th edition? If it is, then you are essentially looking at the S3 engine! APR will come out with a kit that will bring this engine to the well deserved 200+kw mark! And you know what to do when that happens. :P

Loaded said...

I would say the Q5 is value for money as it is cheaper than the BMW X3 that looks much uglier and has a better brand than the Tiguan.

riggy said...

welcome to blogging about motoring. I've been doing it for a few years and I actually have tons of fun doing it. When I have the time that is.

The Q5 is a lot of car for a reasonable amount of money. Like the B8A4 1.8TFSI, you would only get that kind of specs in a Mercedes if you went and bought the RM300K C230. Buy the C200K and you get the basic model with not many gizmos in it.

Regards

p.s. Your sister posted your link on my facebook.

chun said...

Great first review for your blog! Just subscribed to your feed. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Beside all those item you mentioned for the S-line, is it true that the suspension is also slightly different from the standard. I heard this from the sales personnel. :p

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L Nadia said...

nice write up! i know minimal abt cars but i think you have described the car really well and made appropriate comparisons

and yes defo Q5 is a nice drive

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