Audi Q5 at the Hotel

California

Audi Q5, 2017, Hotel California, wide, crop
Audi Q5, 2017, Hotel California, wide
Audi Q5, 2017, front, action
Audi Q5, 2017, desert highway
Audi Q5, 2017, side
Audi Q5, 2017, front, desert
Audi Q5, 2017, beach
Audi Q5, 2017, rear
Audi Q5, 2017, off road
Audi Q5, 2017, interior
Audi Q5, 2017, rear seats
Audi Q5, 2017, instrument panel
Audi Q5, 2017, boot
Audi Q5, 2017, gear lever
Audi Q5, 2017, cup holder
Audi Q5, 2017, display screen
Audi Q5, 2017, Hotel California, upright
Audi Q5, 2017, Hotel California, upright, crop

THINK dark desert highway and think Audi, not the Eagles.

This is the new Q5 SUV at THE Hotel California - and in an Audi you can check out and leave.

What happens then is a totally tropical experience. The Hotel California is just a few miles away from the Tropic of Cancer - an intersection now a tourist attraction on the one-time hippy haven of the Baja peninsula in Mexico.

Whether the hotel in Todos Santos has anything to do with the classic written by Messrs Frey, Felder, Henley and co back in the 1970s is open to conjecture but the hotel has been ‘programmed to receive' since 1947, stands next to a mission complete with bell and is reached via a long desert highway.

That was one of the roads Audi chose to show off the new Q5, now built down Mexico way in a brand new £1.5 billion factory which has just gone on line and will be producing the second generation SUV at the rate of 30 an hour.

Bigger and better than the original of 2008 the new Q5 has to make its way in a market that now includes the likes of the Jaguar F-PACE, the Land Rover Discovery Sport as well as a revamped BMW X3 and Mercedes GLE.

To make its mark Audi has fitted the latest Q5 with an array of technology including a new quattro drive system designed to boost fuel economy.

The so-called quattro ultra set up is smart technology that constantly senses road conditions and deploys four wheel drive only when necessary.

It is fitted on the 2.0-litre four cylinder versions of the new Q5 and gives the entry level 190ps diesel model an official fuel return of 56.5mpg - an improvement of some 16 per cent over the previous model.

The 252ps 2.0-litre petrol turbo version also benefits with it being rated at 40.9mpg compared to 38.7.

Emissions are 132g/km for the diesel and 157 for the petrol and on an exercise to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new system we saw the Q5 engaged in front wheel drive for 98 per cent of the journey.

The real world consumption was impressive at 37.6mpg for the TFSI petrol and 52.3 for the diesel, which with a starting price from £37,170 is likely to be the most popular.

The petrol Q5 carries a premium of £820 and the line up will eventually be bolstered to include a 3.0-litre, eight speed automatic diesel with 286ps on tap.

That's likely to be priced in the region of £45,000 and will be coming on stream later in 2017 a few months after the new Q5 arrives in the UK around Easter time.

On the road the new model handles in fine fashion.

Noise levels inside are markedly suppressed and the car sits on a development of the same platform Audi has used to create the new A4 saloon.

Adaptive air suspension is an option and it improves the comfort significantly varying the ride height by up to an inch in everyday driving.

For harsher off road conditions it can increase ground clearance by almost two inches making the new Q5 a very competent soft roader.

Hill descent control is standard and the quattro system automatically engages for maximum traction with the car's Allroad mode is selected.

There is also a new off road readout on the Q5's central display screen which shows angles of tilt and roll and other ride information as the vehicle progresses.

On the performance front it is quicker than before with the 2.0-litre diesel knocking off 0 to 60 half a second faster at 7.9 seconds and the petrol model managing it in a lively 6.3 seconds.

The new Q5 weighs in up to 90kg lighter than the original but still feels nicely robust.

Room inside has been increased front and back and the boot now has a capacity ranging from 550 to 610 litres thanks to sliding rear seats. Maximum load space is 1,550 litres and the Q5 remains hugely practical.

Audi's virtual cockpit multi-mode digital instrument panel is another option while the 2.0-litre Q5s come with a seven speed S tronic dual clutch transmission operated from a snazzy flat-topped gear selector.

The cabin is upmarket and classy and onboard systems include Wi-Fi connectivity, Google Earth mapping, live traffic information and wireless phone connectivity and charging.

The new Q5 is also close on being capable of driving itself and can operate in slow moving traffic without constant driver input thanks to some tweaks to the automatic cruise control.

Rear cross traffic warnings are also part of the car's armoury of anti-collision systems.

For the Q5 Audi has installed an optional touch sensitive pad as part of the so-called multi-media interface where instructions can be written by hand rather than selected from a menu.

Keyless operation has been tidied up with a slot in the centre console to accommodate the key fob while bottle holders in the front can be set to heat or chill drinks. A full colour head up display is another option.

The made in Mexico model may be a little more costly than the previous Q5 but it is a whole lot more car for the money and more refined in every aspect.

And to demonstrate confidence in the new model valuation experts CAP have already given the new Q5 the highest residual ticket price of any mid-sized SUV saying that every model will hold at least 55 per cent of its value after three years and 30,000 miles - what a nice surprise.

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