Is bigger always better with SUVs? Our new Management Fleet Audi Q5 S-Line suggests otherwise.[Not a valid template]
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It’s not often that you find my name on Management Fleet updates, but with our brand new long term Audi Q5 I’ve pulled rank (though our deputy editor hasn’t let me get out of the write-up). It’s been some time since we last had an Audi on the fleet – Hamish’ RS4 not withstanding – and since I’m currently in the market for a new everyday commuter, one of Ingolstadt’s most staple models seemed as good as any place to start.
I’ll admit that at face value, I’m not quite as thrown by the looks on the outside as my colleague James. There are some natty additions like those five-spoke ‘S-Line’ alloys and sleek roofline, but to me it lacks a certain something. Compared with the sportier DNA found in say the RS7, the Q5 is a little uninspiring to look at. I’m not particularly thrown by the Teak Brown either.
I’ve rarely opted for style over substance though, and in this manner the Q5 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Indeed, I’m been particularly impressed with the interior. The combination of two-tone leather and aluminium trim is a much more refined option, perfectly unobtrusive after a hard day slaving over the email inbox. I’m also very keen on the sheer amount of technology at my disposal. The infotainment system is very easy to use, the SatNav proves a vital addition, and the eight-speed tiptronic gearbox even comes with Sport mode for slightly friskier gear changes. I’m also a fan of the ride comfort, numerous evenings out with the wife ensuring the passenger seat similarly gets the thumbs up.
The suspension I will admit does feel a little soft when we consider the 272hp 3.0-litre V6 under the bonnet. I don’t usually look for perfect balance in my SUVs – I have other toys in my garage for that – but some additional stiffness to the suspension wouldn’t have affected the beautiful ride quality, and would no doubt have improved the road holding a little more feel for the steering and handling as a result. When you’re handling 272hp – enough for a 5.9-second 0-100kph time – it’s as well to feel the machine under you.
I’m nitpicking though. I’ve driven my fair share of Audi SUVs and must admit to being pleasantly surprised by the Audi. The engine is nice and sprightly, the build quality is second to none, and the size of the vehicle is just about perfect. In the Middle East, the size of your vehicle can have a subliminal effect on the way you drive, with bigger usually equaling better in some people’s eyes. It’s no real surprise that the bigger, heavier, more ego-boosting Q7 sells so well.
But to me, the Q5 gives precisely what you need from an SUV for less money and for no less comfort or practicality. Bigger doesn’t always equal better.
|V6 / 2995cc
|272hp @ 4780-6500rpm
|295lb-ft @ 2150-4780rpm
|Eight-Speed tiptronic / Quattro all-wheel drive
|Independent double wishbones with high-mount upper arms / coil springs / self-adjusting two-mode variable dampers / stabilizer bar
|Independent multilink / coil springs / self-adjusting two-mode variable dampers / stabilizer bar
|13.2-inch ventilated discs with four-piston fixed calipers (front) / 12.2-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers (rear)
|2.5J x 20 front and rear
|225/45 R20 front and rear