Lifestyle

Audi takes Q5 to next level of CUV luxury

The 2013 Audi Q5 compact luxury CUV coming to Canada in October will initially be available with a choice of two direct injection gasoline engines and a hybrid. Shown is the SQ5, the first S Line Audi powered by a diesel that won’t be sold here. However, a direct injection diesel version in the future is possible. - Contributed
The 2013 Audi Q5 compact luxury CUV coming to Canada in October will initially be available with a choice of two direct injection gasoline engines and a hybrid. Shown is the SQ5, the first S Line Audi powered by a diesel that won’t be sold here. However, a direct injection diesel version in the future is possible.
— image credit: Contributed

The 2013 Q5 is the latest salvo in Audi’s stated strategic plan to become the world’s leading luxury vehicle maker by 2020.

Along with leading-edge technologies, Audi premium features will bring “added content” value when prices are announced in October which are expected to be just a tad higher than the current model.

So expect the 2013 Q5 to start around $42,000-$43,000 which makes it super competitive with BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

In Canada we will get two gasoline versions and a hybrid. But the big news is a diesel is finally coming, the only question is when.

The Q5 marks the world premiere of Audi’s latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine featuring variable valve control, direct and “indirect” fuel injection system and integration of the exhaust manifold into the cylinder head.

Another innovation is the “thermal management” system that heats up engine oil faster and also regulates coolant temperature between 85 C to 107 C for optimum thermodynamic efficiency.

In the Q5, the 2.0-litre produces 225 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque and fuel consumption of 7.6L/100 km on the European combined cycle test. With a top speed of 222 km/h, it goes from 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds

The supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI engine is also new to the Q5, and replaces the naturally aspirated 3.2-litre FSI. It is rated at 272 hp and 295 lb/ft of torque giving it a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 5.9-seconds, a top speed of 234 km/h and combined Euro fuel rating of 8.5L/100 km/h.

In Canada a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is standard for the 3.0 TFSI quattro. Standard transmission on the 2.0-litre is an eight-speed automatic.

The hybrid starts with the 2.0-litre in this case developing 211 hp plus a 54 hp electric motor for combined power of 245 hp and 354 lb/ft of torque. With a 0-100 km/h time of 7.1 seconds, combined fuel consumption is rated at 6.9L/100 km/h. It can travel up to 3.0 km on electric power alone with a 100 km/h all-electric top speed.

Standard on all versions is stop/start which Audi estimates saves 0.3L/100 km.

For 2013, all transmissions have wide gear spreads. The idea is long gear ratios on the upper gears help reduce fuel consumption, while the short gear ratios of the lower gears optimize in-gear response.

Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is standard

In normal operation, a centre differential divides torque 40 per cent to the front and 60 per cent to the rear. But as surface and driving conditions change, the torque vectoring system further enhances the feeling of reassurance and control it imparts with finely tuned brake interventions.

The five-link front and trapezoidal-link rear suspension has been reworked with changes to the spring, shock absorber and anti-roll bar settings.

New is an electro-mechanical power steering system that gives the driver a better feel for the road with direct gearing but adjusting the level of power assist. It is set up so no energy is used when the steering is in the straight-ahead position.

Optionally available is the Audi drive select system that allows the driver to change the operating characteristics of the throttle pedal, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the degree of power steering assistance and the operation of the automatic air conditioning system via four modes (Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Efficiency) plus a fifth “Individual” the driver can tune to his/her own driving style.

Don’t let the 2.0-litre’s size fool you.

Despite its weight, the 2.0-litre is quick off the mark because the engine reaches maximum torque as low as 1,500 rpm and that power is on tap all the way to the top. During the ride route around Munich, my co-driver and I did an 80-120 km passing test in 4.7 seconds—not bad at all.

The interior is clean with all controls easy to reach and understand and not a stitch out of place or an off kilter shut line to be seen. The controls have real chrome surrounds and the centre console is finished in a high-gloss black. There is a choice of three interior colours.

I did not drive the 3.0-litre but I did spend time with the new topline model, SQ5 TDI that Audi simply must bring to this country.

In a word, it’s a stunner. It is the first S-Line vehicle from Audi with a diesel engine. Its 3.0-litre TDI pumps out 313 hp and an amazing 479 lb/ft of torque.

We did that real world 80-100 km/h passing test in just 3.9 seconds.

Not only does it have Audi’s drive select multiple choice performance modes but “sound actuators” that take the muffled exhaust note of a turbo diesel and replaces it with a rumbling roar.

The word from Audi Canada is we will get a diesel but the SQ5 is not on the cards. Folks, I’ve heard that one before. With the BMW X3 M coming and no doubt a counter from Mercedes AMG for the GLK, the SQ5 is a must for this side of the pond.

It may be a luxury CUV but the Q5 can rough it if required with a maximum climbing angle of 31 degrees. The vehicle’s approach and departure angles are each 25 degrees while its ramp angle is 17 degrees. Ground clearance is 20 cm and stream-fording depth is 50 cm.

In terms of cargo, the angles of the 60:40 split rear seat can be adjusted or folded with the remote seatback release. It also travels back and forth 100 mm for easier access or stowage. That increased cargo volume from 540 litres behind the seat to 1,560 litres folded.

Hurrah for Audi for making its MMI (Multi Media Information) system the simplest to use yet with only four buttons (Nav, Tel, Radio, Media) instead of multi-directional-multi angle click/tilt wheels like other manufacturers.

The way Audi keeps upgrading, enhancing and re-thinking its cars and trucks is a case study on how to run a car company.

Take a spin in the new Q5 when it gets here and you’ll see why Audi keeps gaining conquest buyers and market share.

Audi Q5 quattro 2013

Body Style: Premium compact SUV/CUV.

Drive Method: front-engine, all-wheel-drive.

Engine: 2.0-litre DOHC turbocharged inline four-cylinder (225 hp, 258 lb/ft of torque: 3.0-litre DOHC supercharged V6 (272 hp, 295 lb/ft); Hybrid 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder plus 40 kW electric motor (245 hp, 354 lb/ft)

Fuel Economy: Combined Euro cycle: 2.0-litre 7.9L/100 km; 3.0-litre, 8.5L/100 km; Hybrid, 7.2L/100 km

Cargo: 540 litres (19.07 cu ft) behind the back seat, 1,560 litres (55.09 cu ft) folded

Tow Rating: up to 2,000 kg

Price: (Est.) $42,000-$58,000.

Web: www.audi.ca

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