Model Tested: 2021 Audi Q5
Rs.58.93 lakhs (Premium Plus)
Rs.63.77 lakhs (Technology)
2.0 L TFSI | 249 hp | 370 Nm | 7 speed S-tronic
It’s a facelift, rather a huge one, this German handsome was once christened as the world’s best-selling premium mid-size luxury SUV and after the BS6 transition, was not on the scene since 2018. But ever since its debut in the Indian market back in 2009, it had its fair share of attention and ticked every mark an Indian buyer was looking for in a mid-size luxury SUV. Audi has saved the Q5 from a mid-life crisis and has given it a refreshed treatment.
Even though the overall silhouette and underpinnings remain almost identical, many cosmetic overhauls packed with tech hosts a list of 19 features which we will take a dig at.
It’s on your face! With this facelift, this two-row SUV now gets even closer to its siblings in terms of looks. Many styling cues have been induced down from the flagship Q8. The front boasts a rather broad and sharper re-designed single Octagonal frame grille with vertical slats finished in brushed aluminum. The revised bumpers also get new treatment with nicely shaped angular inserts and a silver lip down below. What’s even more attractive are the all-new complete LED headlamp units which now look way sharper than before.
On the side, the first things that pop out are the prominent body lines and creases flowing all across the body, starting from the headlamps wrapping around the vehicle’s back. A chrome strip joining the tail lamps, which again are LED with dynamic turn indicators, gives it a desirable appeal from the rear. Brushed metal roof rails and side skirts now compliment the 19 inch S design alloy wheels, which thoroughly upscale the overall stance of the Q5. A chunkier diffuser at the rear looks pretty ornamental, adding up to the rear profile.
Being offered in 5 different shades of colors, namely: Navarra Blue, Ibis White, Mythos Black, Floret Silver, and Manhattan Grey, personally, I like the Ibis White and in other pieces of useless information – IBIS is the name of a large wading bird.
Inside the Q5 – Interior, tech & safety
Step inside, and your eyes are treated with a rather familiar-looking interior. Known for its rigidity and solid built quality, you are welcomed in a well laid out ergonomically designed interior with good quality soft-touch materials thrown all across the dashboard and door inserts. Audi’s signature virtual cockpit instrument cluster greets you with crisp animation and intuitive features.
The most prominent change here is the shift from an 8.3-inch infotainment system to a 10.1-inch touch screen system that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. A significant shift for Audi is to be adapting the touch screen interface. Instead of the traditional wood inserts on the dash, piano black trims have been chosen this time for an upmarket feel. Appending the luxury inside is the 30 color ambient lighting with 3-zone automatic climate control. Everything else is well placed with dedicated compartments for ancillary convenience.
The infotainment screen is pretty intuitive to use but picks up a lot of fingerprints. The cabin feels roomier enough with the panoramic sunroof letting in more light. Powered front seats and wireless phone charger which can slide are added advantages. Audi calls in the phone box.
On the safety front, eight airbags, parking assist, Hill-hold assist, and tyre pressure monitoring system are just to name a few.
Now, when you are spending exuberantly on buying these expensive SUVs, you might spend a considerable amount of time in the back seat being chauffeured around. Considering this is a 5-seater SUV, the tunnel in between is bound to obstruct the fifth passenger if at all you try to squeeze in one. Another downer is the absence of a USB port at the rear. Instead, you get a conventional 12V socket to serve the purpose. Perhaps to work on your laptop. On the brighter side, you have manual sun-blinds, an armrest with cupholders, and headrests for all three passengers at the back. The 3D 19 speaker, Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, is a notable and impressive addition, an absolute delight and treat to the ears.
The heart & soul of it – let’s talk numbers
With the shift from diesel engines to an all petrol and electric line-up, Audi has discontinued the people’s favorite 2.0 & 3.0 TDI engines. Talking numbers: The all-new 2-litre TFSI engine produces 249 bhp and an impressive 370 Nm of torque, which is available from 1600 rpm to 4300 rpm, making it a very lag-free acceleration. All the power is delivered through a Stronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission mated to an AWD Quattro drivetrain. S Tronic, which is a dual-clutch, direct-shift gearbox (DSG) that allows switching between automatic and manual transmission, is a fabled Audi technology. The engine is quite responsive, with 0-100km/h clocking in under 6.4 seconds [claimed]. Pretty impressive, considering the size and weight of the body.
Also, a 12 Volt mild hybrid system accompanies the motor with an extra punch, and Audi is claiming monumental figures of 17 kmpl mileage amidst the soaring gasoline prices. Something to check for when we get our hands on the car for the long term.
Let’s drive – Driving dynamics & ride quality.
It’s a smooth driving experience as expected from an Audi when you are at cruising speeds, but when you want to overtake that annoying vehicle in front of you, a single downshift of the paddle shifters will splurge enough power for you to cross the victory line with flying colors.
Now you may say the other German counterparts are more fun & engaging to drive, but Audis have their own charm about the way they ride.
Now there are five different driving modes to choose from, which somewhat alter the vehicle’s driving dynamics by tweaking things here and there and changing its character. You can choose between Comfort, Dynamic, Off-road, Individual, and Auto-mode depending on the terrain you encounter.
I had all my admiration and praise for this car when the off-road mode made a drastic difference on a rough patch of the road by engaging the hill descent control and putting me in low gear ratios. With its noticeable ground clearance, I was able to glide through the broken asphalt and give it its due respect. Good sound insulation and NVH levels ensure you are sitting in a cocoon, barring all the outer-world noise, making it a pleasurable experience.
Despite it being a very planted car, there is a considerable amount of body roll at high-speed cornering. But with a wider track, the adaptive suspension dampers ensure a commanding control over the vehicle, making it easily maneuverable.
The only thing which bothered me was that I couldn’t derive much confidence from the steering feedback I was getting while driving it. Well, that also means that it’s easy steering and very responsive.
Let’s conclude then …
One can say that with this makeover of the Q5, Audi has come back on the ring where it has a towering segment t! But due to the forced sabbatical and substantial competition growing from the BMW X3, Mercedes Benz GLC, Volvo XC60, or even the JLR Discovery sport, can this proposition from Audi make a difference?
With the latest tech and safety features loaded up to the brim, it all depends on how Audi prices this car, and by all estimates, it will be aggressive. (Expected price around the 58-62 lakh mark). We will miss the diesel trim, but the 2021 facelift Q5 will definitely steal the thunder from the competition.
19 Features that deserve a mention.
1 – 755W 19-speaker,16 channels Bang and Olufsen 3D sound system
2 – 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system
3 – Phone Box I Wireless phone charger
4 – Panoramic Sunroof
5 – Aluminum roof rails
6 – Adaptive dampers
7- Rear 12 Volt socket
8 – Comfort key
9 – Audi Virtual Cockpit – Digital Driver’s Display
10 – One push Seat Adjustment
11 – Boot Capacity – 520 litres
12 – Manual Window Shade
13 – Powered driver seat and ORVMs with memory function.
14 – Audi Park assists with self-parking capabilities
15 – 0-100 Acceleration : 6.3 seconds claimed
16 – 8 Airbags
17 – Claimed Fuel Efficiency :17.01 km/l
18 – Engine: 2.0 L TFSI
19 – Graphite Grey 19-inch, R 19 S twin Spoke alloy wheels
- Ride Quality
- Q8 design resemblance
- LED lights
- Lack of seat massager
- No Diesel Powertrain