Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line

The Audi Q5 is a premium compact family crossover that will leave a positive impression not only on soccer moms but also on busybody urban white collar executives. This is a well balanced car with good family featues and enough power to display a sense of urgency on the road. I had an opportunity to test the Q5 last weekend and I liked the overall experience, though there were some niggles that deserve a closer look. Read on...

Style

Distinctively Audi. The style is deceptively simple and minimalist, yet very elegant, especially the front grille. The 20 inch alloy wheels are also minimalist with a 5 arm design. The lights look very stylish particularly in the dark, especially the LED rear lights. One female college student described the Q5 lights 'kindly like a winged eyeliner shape' when seen in the dark. The sporty S-Line badge adorn the rear and side profiles and can also be seen on the running boards. The front swivelling headlights are adaptive for steering turn. The front lights are also adaptive for driving range.  Very cool. 

Interior Material and Finishing

Our loaded full options test car came with the special S-Line package that includes fine Nappa leather for seats and special wood trim with the Audi Q5 badge on the doors. There is leather everywhere but the real test is one the doors, dashboard and center console where manufacturers try to cut corners. Not so with the Q5 as there is soft touch and premium material all round. Good job. 

Interior Space and Visibility

Visibility is great all round and bolstered with driving aids as well. Interior space in the front is quite adeqate, however head room will be an issue for people over 5 ft 8 inch approximately. On the rear side, leg room is ok for short trips but will hurt on long trips. Definitely below average. Kids will do great on the rear seats but adults will find it cramped on highway trips. The silver lining is that the rear midsection is flat so it opens up some extra inches. Where the Q5 falls short on rear leg room it makes up in the boot space. It is quite decent at 540 liters. The boot is not as large as, say Volkswagen Tiguan (see comparison at the end), but still lots of shopping bags and equipment can be stored here, great for family requirements. 

Interior Features and Technology

Audi has an understated, minimalist and sporty feel throughout the interior and it's reflected in technology as well. While it's not overloaded with gizmos, it has just enough to make most buyers happy. The quattro model enables Hill Start Assist mode. Electronic parking brake is included. You can set vehicle settings and check oil levels and tyre pressures. You can adjust lighting through the 6.5 inch infotainment system. The sound system in our test car was Bang and Olufsun which, needless to say was fantastic. Overall, it's good enough for the most part, although it would be awesome to have the independent suspension and drive mode settings we experienced in Audi RS4 Avant in our recent drive. Am I being too greedy? Sure!

Safety Features

Safety features are quite competitive with 6 airbags, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera, aforementioned Hill Start Assist, cruise control and ISOFix child seat anchors. Sadly there is no adaptive cruise control but then it's not a major requirement for city driving. There is even a Rest Recommendation feature where it will sense the driver losing some control and offer a visual warning for the driver to stop and have a cup of coffee to refresh. Not too shabby at all. 

Power and Transmission

The Q5 3.0 Quattro generates 272 HP and 400 NM torque, easily overpowering it's main rivals BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. The 8 speed Quattro transmission not only saves fuel but also is a pleasure to operate. The pick up of this car is one of the best I have experienced. The torque is readily available and with an average 0-100 km acceleration time of 7.5 seconds it's a lot of fun overtaking smaller mortals. Cheaper crossovers like Volkswagen Tiguan will pale in comparison when it comes to fire power in Audi Q5. 

Handling, Suspension and Brakes

Let's talk about the good parts first. The suspension is very family family and comfortable. Period. The brakes are sharp, with a 100-0 km brake time of 4 seconds on average. Cool. Now, let's talk about handling! For a family crossover, it is decent though it could be better. There will be some body roll and the steering is a bit on the lighter side but what do we expect? This is not a car for sharp cornering when you have kids at the back watching Teletubbies! So let's have some context. Compared to it's rival crossovers, it beats most of them, except maybe BMW X3. 

Verdict

This is a great crossover for daily driving, shopping, school trips, etc. It is also a premium quality crossover that combines a minimalist, elegant design with a sporty touch. It has enough power to zip through the roads and enough safety features for the mom to feel at ease. The rear leg room, while great for kids might feel cramped for adults in long trips. It is not for the budget conscious families, as it is priced over 200,000 AED which is 50,000 AED more than the Volkswagen Tiguan but competitively priced with BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 R Design. 

Prices and Specs: Audi Q5

Compare Specs: Audi Q5 vs BMW X3 vs Volkswagen Tiguan

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Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line
Road Test: 2014 Audi Q5 S-Line

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