Jan 25, 2013, 11.25 AM IST
2013 Audi Q5 3.0TDi in India road test
Of the entire Q range of SUVs that Audi offers in India, the Q5 and the Q3 have had to bask in the shadow of the largest, most premium SUV in the fleet, the Q7. Success has adorned the Q5 and the Q3 modestly though this has very little to do with the SUVs themselves, it's the segment they reside in that has seen lower sales numbers overall. In the roughly four years since the Q5 was first introduced in the Indian market, it has seen one minor change and this now is the second update but it's a more comprehensive makeover than before.
The revisions to the Q5 come in the wake of tightening emission restrictions that European and US markets now enforce almost every year. It's the one reason why we see European manufacturers constantly updating their models to keep them relevant in the global scheme of things. Exterior styling details, engine, ride comfort, interior detailing, infotainment and assistance systems received critical updates and refinement.
The most significant of these changes is to the engines which are now more powerful and refined. The range of both petrol and diesels have been retuned and remapped to give out higher performance and efficiency while significantly lowering emissions. I drove the 3.0-litre TDI which displaces 2967cc and it felt much more refined and quieter than before, almost going about its duties as silently as a petrol engine would have. It's astonishing how far diesels have come and this refined 90-degree V6 is an excellent example of those advances in diesel technology.
It's the same story with the performance which shows just as remarkable an improvement. In the run up to 100kmph, the new Q5 is now nearly a second quicker at 6.63 seconds. Overall performance has improved with the 7-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission contributing to it. Interestingly the 3.0 TDI gets only the 7-speed transmission, while with the other engines you can choose between the 7-speed or a newer 8-speed S Tronic transmission. This I believe is since the 7-speed is ideally matched to the higher torque outputs of the 3.0 TDI.
However its greater contribution is to reduce fuel consumption. Mechanically the engine and suspension are the only areas to be revised or rather refined. The rest is purely cosmetic with a new front face that does nothing much to make it look better than before.
I am not a big fan of the way the Q5 looks positioned as it is between the Q7 and the Q3 . Where the Q7 carries its size handsomely and the Q3 looks lithe and slim, the Q5 struggles to find a middle ground.
Inside the cabin too the revisions are so well camouflaged you really can't see much of a difference. What you will notice is the brighter interior shades which show off every detail and the new MMI interface on the centre console. Move beyond that and you will realise that this is a comfortable and sophisticated cabin with little lacking in terms of creature comfort or luxury.
Overall the Q5 has gotten better, moving a notch further up the luxury ladder. There is hardly anything it still needs, or does it? Watchout for our exclusive X3 vs Q5 story coming up soon.
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