Refreshed Audi Q5 has the talent, but at a cost



Strange, how totally out of control price increases, a la Eskom, municipal services, government officials’ salaries, fuel and cars, have desensitised end-users in our country.

When this writer was force-fed education in some of the country’s best reformatories, a luxury car cost R3 000, and a three-bedroom house R9 000.

The thought that either would one day cost more than a million never occurred.

Yet, to many people that does not seem remarkable these days, though I still battle to comprehend how a family car can cost more than what people used to retire on.

Which is why I panicked when Mark Jones, our Road Test Editor, handed me the keys to an Audi Q5 45 TFSI quattro S line, saying: “Be very, very careful with this – it costs R1 288 800.”

That ruined it for me. Every time I ventured out in the vehicle, I stressed mightily about potholes, taxis, big trucks, high kerbs, idiots who do not use their mirrors and other idiots who sail through red traffic lights.

At shopping centres I would spend an hour to find a parking spot so far from the shops that nobody else would want to go there and perhaps open their bakkies’ doors against the Audi’s expensive bodywork.

Naturally, the thought of driving it hard and fast rarely occurred, and was never acted upon. Maybe I am just getting really old.

European-spec Q5 pictured.

But Audi would counter the car is worth a serious wad of wonga, since you do not only purchase a vehicle, but “Vorsprung durch Technik”. And, leadership via technical expertise must come at a price.

Back to basics, the Audi Q5 test vehicle came powered by four-cylinder, 1 984 cc, turbocharged, petrol engine that produces 183 kW of power at 5 000 rpm and 370 Nm of torque between 1 600 rpm and 4 500 rpm. The above goes to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic gearbox.

ALSO READ: Updated Audi Q5 declares war on BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC

The 20-inch spoked alloy wheels are wrapped in 255/45 R20 rubberware, and the car has a full-sized spare wheel.

With many large SUVs looking pretty much the same, the Audi Q5 has the four rings and unique lights all round to denote it as nothing but an Audi. That apart, it has sleek lines.

Safety-wise, the Audi Q5 comes with ABS, brake assist, stability control, traction control, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitor and park distance control with cameras all round. In addition there are front, side and curtain airbags – eight in number – in case you still get it wrong and hit things.

Inside, it would seat five adults in comfort on leather covered perches. It has everything that can click, bang, get plugged in or call Russia without love.

Our particular test vehicle had a R24 300 Comfort Package that added power adjustable front seats, seat heaters, seat lumbar support, electric steering wheel adjustment and a storage compartment addition.

Audi Q5 road test South Africa
A number of options relating to colours, materials and veneers are available for the interior.

Adding another R29 400 was a Technology Package with MMI Navigation Plus, Audi virtual cockpit, plus an Audi connect navigation and infotainment system.

There is more, much, much more.

Like, at R38 000, you can purchase four-corner air suspension with electronic shock absorber control.

Fork out another R25 100 and you will get you a panoramic glass roof, the Anthracite black wheels come at R44 500, adaptive cruise control costs R21 600, the Park Assist package R31 000, while the LED lights front and rear will set you back a neat R38 000.

Mindful of damaging any of the above, we did not drive the Audi Q5 vigorously, but some tentative exploration showed it to have proper acceleration.

We therefore take Audi’s word it will go from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds, with a top whack of 237 km/h.

Like all quattro models, this one felt absolutely steady, whether accelerating, braking or turning.

The steering gave great feedback, the dual-clutch ‘box changed so smoothly, up or down, one had difficulty discerning its actions, and the headlights must count among the best outside of the rallying realm.

Finally, we averaged a fuel consumption figure of 9.4 L/100 km over the week of the test, while mainly driving in city traffic.

In all, a brilliant drive all around, if you can afford it.

The Q5 comes with a one-year, unlimited distance warranty and a five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan as standard.

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