Audi Q5 quattro S

tronic

Audi Q5, 2017, nose
Audi Q5, 2017, front
Audi Q5, 2017, side
Audi Q5, 2017, rear
Audi Q5, 2017, boot
Audi Q5, 2017, interior
Audi Q5, 2017, rear seats
Audi Q5, 2017, console
Audi Q5, 2017, virtual cockpit

THE present trend towards Sports Utility Vehicles has led to an overwhelming number to chose from.

But while most look good it can be a different story when you get behind the wheel.

Others on the other hand excel and one of those is the new Audi Q5, an SUV with a definite sporting bias.

The original Q5 was launched back in 2008 and instantly proved to be a best seller.

But now there's a new version which arrived here last spring. And while hardly dramatically different the new generation Q5 has been radically improved.

Audi says it's more comfortable, more agile, more efficient and better connected. Bold claims that - after a week of driving one - I find difficult to argue with.

The car still has that dramatic, bold, upright stance which is even more noticeable after an overall increase in size.

This not only adds to the Q5's kerb appeal but has allowed designers to create more interior space for passengers as well as 10 litres more luggage space beneath the tailgate, which now stands at 610 litres with the seatbacks up and 1,550 with them down.

The interior has a nice ultra modern mix of leather and Alcantara seats with aluminium features on the dashboard, centre console and doors. Easy read dials form part of Audi's virtual cockpit and can be moved at the flick of a switch to show the satellite navigation screen between them - mirroring the larger centre screen version.

The latest Q5 is now some 90kg lighter thanks, in part, to the use of more aluminium and this boosts not only its performance but its brilliant and agile handling.

A seven-speed automatic gearbox ensures not only smooth but seamless gear changes while paddles behind the steering wheel afford the opportunity to drive the car manually.

I liked the fact that a quick flick of one of the paddles while at the same time lifting off the accelerator instantly cuts drive to the wheels so you are effectively coasting and saving fuel. It's a useful feature when, for instance, approaching traffic lights on red or a junction already block by cars.

As soon as your foot touches the accelerator again the power cuts in.

With 198bhp the Q5 boasts good acceleration, reaching 62 miles per hour from standstill in just 7.9 seconds.

But its real appeal is in its strong mid range performance ensuring, for example, that even at motorway speed the need for more power is answered instantly with smooth efficiency.

There's a wide choice of driving modes available from eco to dynamic so you can change the car's handling and performance at the touch of a button.

And for more spirited performance you can just alter the gearchift from Drive to Sport.

The car I drove had air suspension to give even better ride and handling but it's an expensive option at £2,000.

I did find some negative aspects to the Q5. For a car of more than £40,000 I'm surprised there was no reversing camera and even more surprised at the absence of rear cupholders - especially as there was a rear armrest which folded down which could easily have accommodated them.

Even most budget priced cars tend to have at least one rear cupholder whereas this Audi left my rear seat passengers struggling to balance coffee cups on their knees while eating at one service station we pulled into.

FAST FACTS

Audi Q5 quattro S tronic

Price: £40,200

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 7.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 138g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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