Drive on, ride on
In terms of performance, the Audi Q5 petrol variant feels superior to the diesel equivalent. However, there’s no price difference
Audi has launched a Q5 with a petrol engine. It is the second SUV after the Q7 to get a petrol power plant. The turbocharged direct-injection unit that displaces two litres to produce 252bhp is the same that is found in the Q7. In terms of cost, the petrol Q5 costs as much as the turbo-diesel variant.
As far as the appearance of the luxury SUV is concerned, the Q5, except for the badge on the tail gate, looks identical to the existing diesel. The hallmarks are the big Audi signature grille, LED lamps and a deep bumper with large air vents at either corner. The bonnet flows backwards to merge with a coupe-like pillar, forming in the process a shape that is both sophisticated and strong.
A sharp belt-line marks the sides even as the roof nicely tapers to the rear. The rear styling of the Q5 seems to have been influenced by that of the Q7.
Inside, the Q5 offers a typically Audi cabin that makes use of high quality materials and is hard to fault. Identical to that of the diesel, the cabin does not add any new feature or change even as the engine at the front changes from diesel to petrol. The well-finished cabin is big on space and comfort and the dash is low and presents a good view. Both the front and the rear seats are quite comfortable. Available in two trims — Premium Plus and Technology — the Q5 petrol features a good deal of equipment though not the most in its class. The top-spec Technology variant flaunts automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, powered front seats with memory for driver’s seat, three-zone climate control, digital instruments and smartphone connectivity (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility), among others.
Quick and agile
Mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, the four-cylinder engine has the SUV feeling a shade hesitant when moving away from a stationary position. Routing power to all the wheels via a Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Q5 petrol could feel a little jerky in the city’s stop-and-go traffic. With the all-wheel drive system distributing power such that torque is applied to all the wheels when wheel slip or loss of traction is detected, the luxury SUV responds well once the rpm is built up and the any kind of jerkiness disappears.
Spooling up close to 2000rpm, the turbocharger is instrumental in the SUV exerting a strong pull. It is quite a surge, and accompanied by smooth shifting of gears. There isn’t much difference at this stage between the torque convertor-based auto transmission of the Q7 and this dual-clutch unit. Upshifts and downshifts seem precise and helps the vehicle to be in the right gear most of the time. Well-anticipating downshifts as the right pedal is pressed, the Q5 petrol impresses with its ability to perform. The sport mode keeps the engine in the upper reaches of the power band. An amount of tyre noise does creep in at speeds, but the luxury SUV feels well planted and agile when changing lanes and negotiating corners at good speeds. The Quattro system helps in putting power down on the road under a variety of situations, only if the steering could offer some more feedback.
The adjustable dampers do a good job of tackling surface irregularities. Hardly any shocks reach the cabin except for big potholes. The 18-inch dia wheels and tyres with a good aspect ratio help too.
Priced at Rs 55.27 lakhs for the Premium Plus variant and Rs 59.79 lakhs ex-showroom, Delhi, for the top-spec Technology variant, the Q5 petrol, comes across as quick and agile. In terms of performance, it feels superior to the diesel equivalent.
Pros: Space, comfort, performance, features on Technology trim, petrol and diesel variant price is the same.
Cons: Steering could provide more feedback.