Friday, 6 April 2012

Audi Q5 2.0 TDI: First Drive

Audi Q5 2.0 TDI: First Drive

The Audi Q5 has been a success story in the Indian premium SUV space. While its larger sibling the Q7 commands a solid presence, the Q5 has won hearts as it offers a more practical product experience coupled with the quintessential Audi aura. Available with a plethora of engine and package options, the Q5 caters to a wide audience. However, we've decided to start at the bottom rung and unravel the Q5 from its entry level model, namely the Q5 2.0TDI

Audi Q5 2.0 First Drive Audi commissioned the Q5 to fit into the smaller premium SUV space and in keeping with the design ethos of its bigger sibling, namely the Q7, the Q5 too boasts clean cut lines, the large Audi trademark grille up front, neat stretched rectangular lights fitted with an outline of LEDs, clean stretched metal and a compact look. It’s not exaggerated in any manner and while some people might argue that it comes across as a little bland, I feel that the entire treatment suggests a subtle sense of power. The Q5 isn’t designed to be overbearing as it’s a vehicle that stands for a progressive air and class, and the designers have achieved that.

The interiors are typical Audi which translates to the usage of high quality materials on the dash, door panels and seats. The texture is fine and the entire aura of the vehicle is that of a well packaged elite SUV. Incidentally,  Audi offers a number of interior options that allow the owner to pick and choose the level of equipment they would like to have on board and this includes numerous elements from the Q7 range as well. The Q5 at my disposal was well kitted and sported just about every creature comfort I expected. Speaking of which, the front seats are the best place to be in as they really cocoon you in luxury and offer you that elite feel.

Audi Q5 2.0 TDI engine

The rear bench is slightly cramped, which is a bit of a letdown and you really wish that a car maker like Audi would have paid more attention to it. For the Indian market this is a double whammy because most people who can af Ford the Q5 also opt to be chauffeur-driven and the back isn’t the best place to be in. But then again, the Audi Q5 has been conceived as a dynamic vehicle that boasts the performance and image of a butch SUV while harbouring the genes of a sportscar. So it goes without saying that the best seat in the house would be the driver’s seat!

Keeping in mind that this was just the 2.0-litre TDI engine, I wasn’t expecting the Q5 to hustle along like the 3.0TDI version, which is a brute of an SUV, but I was pleasantly surprised. The 1984cc direct injection engine comes fitted with a common-rail injection system that develops 1800 bar and is equipped with piezo injectors and a VTG turbocharger with intercooler. All this wizardry transforms this relatively small motor into a rather commendable performer. It generates 172.3PS @4200rpm and unleashes a tremendous 350Nm of torque @ 1750-2500rpm.

Audi Q5 2.0 Driver cockpit

Mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual clutch gearbox, the Audi Q5 2.0TDI is capable of doing the 0-100km/h dash in just 9.9 seconds! Alright, the larger diesel is faster (the Audi Q5 3.0TDI does the 0-100km/h dash in 6.5 seconds) and it makes the 2.0 TDI seem slow, but behind the wheel on Indian roads, this machine is pretty much a brute as well. The power delivery is smooth and refined and you feel the constant surge of power well into three-digit speeds.

Keeping in mind the Indian environs and the penchant for surprises to crop up in the middle of the road, the 2.0TDI has all the power you will ever need; after all it only runs out of steam at the 204km/h mark and I highly doubt you will get to hit those speeds anywhere in India. Adding to its merit is the fact that it’s a lot more frugal than the larger 3.0TDI as well, so in a matter of speaking you get the best of both worlds, namely powerhouse performance as well as mileage.

Audi Q5 2.0 rear luggage area

Priced well below its 3.0TDI sibling, the Q5 2.0TDI works out to be a great value-for-money option. It’s the quintessential urban SUV that boasts  refinement, great city manners (it’s a lot easier to park than the Q7), ample power and a fair measure of off roading equipment tossed in for good measure which also includes the quattro system as standard. It’s a vehicle that appeals to the mind, wallet and heart, and when you have those three elements clubbed together you have an offer that you really can’t refuse.

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