Audi's new Freelander-rival here by the end of the year
19 April 2008

This is the Audi Q5, the company’s long-awaited rival for the BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander. Unveiled at the Beijing motor show today, the Q5 is one of a blitz of new Audi models due over the next four years. It will arrive in the UK at the very end of 2008, priced from just under £30,000.Audi is pitching the five-seat Q5 as the sportiest SUV in its class and it will be available with three engines, one petrol and two diesels. The firm’s quattro all-wheel drive system will be standard on all models. Climate control is also standard, and the list of optional extras is long.Based on the same MLP modular chassis as the A4 and A5, the Q5 is a handy 4.6m long and just 1.65m high. As these pictures show, it’s a more compact and modest machine than the bombastic Q7, a timely move by Audi considering the environmental pressure currently being applied to SUVs.The Q5 styling is neat but less aggressive than the Q7, although the treatment of the aluminium tailgate (the bonnet is also aluminium) is original. Audi says the Q5 has a creditable Cd of 0.33 and that the car has the longest wheelbase (2.8m) in its class.Audi expects to sell around 8000 Q5s in the UK every year, but the car will be pitched closer in price to the X3 than the cheaper Freelander; the entry-level Audi will cost just under £30,000. It is expected to be powered by the 170bhp, 2.0 TDI, common-rail turbodiesel, which delivers 258lb ft of torque from 1750rpm. That should be good for 35mpg and a 0-62mph dash in 9.5sec.The range-topping engine is the 240bhp, 3.0-litre, V6 TDI which, thanks to a hefty 368lb ft of torque from 1500rpm, allows the Q5 to reach 62mph in just 6.5sec and still return an average 30.5mpg.The only petrol variant at launch is the new four-cylinder, 211bhp, 2.0 TFSI engine. The unit gets direct injection and Audi’s own variable valve-lift system. According to the company this model offers a 7.2sec 0-62mph sprint and an average of 27.7mpg.While the 2.0 TDI gets a six-speed manual transmission the petrol and V6 diesel engines are hooked up to Audi’s new seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, which it calls S-Tronic. This unit has been specifically engineered for Audi’s longitudinally mounted drivetrains and it will be rolled out on other models soon.The permanent quattro four-wheel drive system is set up to transfer 60 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels on normal roads. However, in extreme conditions it can switch up to 65 per cent of the power to front wheels and 85 per cent to the rear. The five-link front axle and ‘trapezoidal-link’ rear are made primarily from aluminium. The standard wheels will be 17in alloys, but up to 20in units will be available as options.Two ‘body packages’ will be available. S line gives the Q5 a more sporting look, while the ‘off-road’ package equips the car with front and rear underbody protection. Audi claims decent off-road prowess for the car, with a climbing capability of 31 degrees and an ability to wade in up to 20in of water.Audi says the Q5’s ESP and ABS system have specific settings for off-road driving. The ESP can also communicate with the Q5’s roof rack, so when a heavy load is being carried the ESP will engage earlier than normal.Inside the Q5 gets adjustable-angle rear seats, which can also be dropped via a lever in the 540-litre boot. Options include a sliding rear seat and a fold-forward front passenger seat for long loads.Options include adaptive dampers and ‘dynamic steering’, which adjusts the steering ratio and level of assistance. Also on the list are a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, a rear-view parking camera, a panoramic sunroof and even a heated and ventilated drinks holder.

Our Verdict

Audi Q7

The Q7 is accomplished, but doesn’t feel as at home on UK roads as more refined rivals like the Range Rover Sport and BMW X5

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Hilton Holloway

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19 April 2008

[quote Autocar]Audi is pitching the five-seat Q5 as the sportiest SUV in its class [/quote]

I doubt that if its based on the same platform as the A4/A5. They said they would be the sportiest as well. And all the reports say otherwise.

Its a decent looking car though, like the interior. It all looks far more convincing for the UK than the Q7.

Still, I wouldnt buy one if i was in the market. Freelander for me, or if i wasnt bothered about the off road side of things, then the new Ford Kuga would be on the list.

19 April 2008

Looks very nice - better than the Q7 and presumably more useable than that titanic vehicle. I'm sure we'll see plenty of these on the school run and in urban areas in due course, being badly parked and inconsiderately driven by ill-informed mums who are so distracted by their little darlings that they are unaware of their surrounding or any other motorists and who just don't realise that life would be so much easier with a smaller plain hatchback or estate car.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

20 April 2008

It looks a lot more 'jacked up estate' than SUV, which is no bad thing I reckon. I'm sure it will be competent but dull to drive and have a well-made interior, as that seems to be Audi's 'thing'. The Q7 seems at odds with their generally fairly discreet way of doing things.

20 April 2008

The Q5 may have a nice looking interior, but is it me or all new Audis need some design flair, they all have athe same bland look apart from the R8 & the S8. even the RS6 looks like an Avant with big wheels.

Being sporty i dont know about that, driven an A4 convertible recently, wat a mess compare to a 3 series, understeer and vague steering which also manages to be lifeless and totally disconnected fromt the front axel. may be the new chassis is better but i doubt it.

Audis used to be a handsome & comfortable alternatives to BMW's and they were good at that, but now tries so hard to be sporty it has completely lost he plot especially at the design department.

For a Sporty compact 4x4 i say wait for the new X3 or the GLK. at least they look interesting.

20 April 2008

Isn't this in reality just the overpriced Audi version of an already expensive VW? ie A Tiguan with a silly grill £30K? daft money. I prefer the monster Q7, at least it leaves plenty of parking space on the school run, my car fits underneath one!

21 April 2008

[quote The Apprentice]Isn't this in reality just the overpriced Audi version of an already expensive VW? ie A Tiguan with a silly grill £30K?[/quote]

Actually no, it isnt related to the Tiguan at all.

The Tiguan is based on the Golf chassis ALSO it has a Haldex (Part-Time) four wheel drive system which directs almost all the power to the front wheels under normal conditons and only diverts torque to the rear when it detects wheelspin from the front.

The Q5 is based on the new A4 chassis which has a proper Torsen (Full-Time) four wheel drive system which directs 60% of power to the rear under normal conditions - more if required.

The different chassis alone probably justifies the exra cost of the Q5 over a jacked-up Golf based 4x4. Still dont think much of the styling of either though. Totally boring

21 April 2008

[quote Autocar]priced from just under £30,000.

And prices in Germany, though not yet officially announced, are expected to begin at €33,000. With VAT at 19% in Germany and 17.5% in UK, does that mean that German automakers are now effectively pricing UK exports in euros? - i.e. pound for trading purposes is already at parity with the euro - one third depreciation in less than 12 months - way to go!

21 April 2008

What is the obession with making everything 'sporty'. It is doing my head in, if I was in the market for a small 4x4 for my growing family the last thing I want is the ability to coat the interior with childrens vomit as I carve apexes and shatter their still forming spines with a ride so hard that I can tell the type of pebble I have just driven over.

A sporty 4x4 is an oxymoron that produces monsters like the Cayenne & X6......hideous vehicles driven mostly by hideous people. This statement is not one of envy, I would love a Range Rover, it has the comfort! If you want a sports car, buy one.

Who cares if it handles like a sports car, it is not a sports car! It is supposed to be a practical family hauler that delivers comfort!

Rolls Royce are going to announce shortly that they have made the umbrella contained within its rear doors 'sporty'. They have done this by creating a special lightwieght rain repellant fabric and carbon fibre handle that no-one cares about or wants.

*rolls eyes and returns to work*

21 April 2008

I'd like to offer my own tuppence of opinion:

I have been awaiting this launch for quite some time, because I am a total Audi nut. Some may ask what I like, and I am ready to tell. Compared to offerings from BMW, Mercedes and Lexus - the prestige brands, I think that the design is better resolved, easier on the eye, and less ostentatious - think A5/3 Coupe/CLK, A3/1 Series/CLC, A6 wagon/5 Wagon/E Wagon. Its a matter of opinion, and mine is that without fuss, Audi always manages to look the part, look expensive, look well built. The lines are gentle, start and end in the right places, and do not offend. The question I ask is that does this translate as boring? Not to me. The power of understatement, of effortlessness, of clean, balanced lines, all work well for this brand.

The Q5 is no different. It betters the already great, though massive (too massive for some) Q7, and it takes understated to a new level. I saw some videos of the car on the move on the web, and it has balance, poise, and resolve. Compared to the X3, and the GLK (dont know if they'll build that), I know which one has my money, but I don't know if anyone can honestly say the Q5 is not more attractive. There are small pieces of detail that really accentuate the car, and if you dont look, you'll miss them. If you're looking for razzmatazz, the X3 is there for you, but do not be deceived - flashy looks soon wear off, and you get bored. Think how many major facelifts the 7 series has had since 2003! 2 (after the original new one) in 5 years?

But take another look at the Q5, and see how the accentuated lines over the wheels make the lateral line look like a wave from a quarter view. Look how simple rectangular lights are 1. brought to life by the beautiful LEDs and 2. do not intrude on the overall design of the vehicle. Look how well they got (what they call) "the encompassing boot lid" this time. I like the one on the Q7, but I understand how it could be misconstrued by someone else. This one fits well with the rest of the car. The rear light LEDs also look amazing. And if you look, you'll see the indicators come off as a clean streak at the top of the cluster. All very discreet, but the more you look at it, the more you see.

As regards school runs, I very much doubt this will be longer than a Volvo V70, or even a Ford Mondeo. Now, unless you want to take anything longer than a Golf off the roads, then leave the Q5 alone! I have my opinions on this... new type of discrimination and bigotry, but thats not for here.

To be honest, I hate this issue of sportiness myself. It totally detracts from what I have come to know about the Audi theme, and while I don't think the design language has changed, I think the focus has been altered by an ill-advised marketing team. Audi should be advertising themselves as the "dashing intellectual dude in the finely cut fitted suit", because thats what the design says to me. I wouldn't want to be seen with the "garish, arrogant dude who thinks he's all that because he's got good feet even though his attire doesn't fit as finely" (BMW). I've always been one for a good effortless drive, matched with a great interior, and a great exterior design. I care not for sport in my car, though I think most Audis are capable of coping with our roads at the legal limits, and if you want to be rough, the RS4 and R8 are pretty good at the corners, and even Autocar thinks the RS6 trumps the M5. I think Audi are trying to be what they aren't forgetting that what they are - though discreet - is probably already better than the competition.

I hope y'all will take another look at this wonderful car.... and have a different opinion about it.; and not because I work for them, or am paid to advertise, because I'm not (though over the years, I'm sure they owe me a few bob for my support!). I just think a lot of people have got the point wrong. Refocus on it - I think you just might like it.... and maybe even fall in love with it!

21 April 2008

I'm glad you added that you didn't work for Audi at the end because it answered my question I had while reading it.

I agree, it does look loads better than either the X3 or the GLK. I'm not always a fan of audi styling though. Against BMW you're right they are a touch more graceful, but I hate the large grill they've added in recent years. It goes with the so called "sportiness" they are trying to achieve and on the R8 it looks fine. On the RS4 not too bad. But on a base 2.0tdi A4 it look wrong. Same with the A3, it look soo much neater before the horible grill was added.


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