Powerful and efficient: the engines
The Audi Q5 is appearing on the market with three engines – one gasoline and two TDI. All of them are direct injection units with turbocharging. Their major strengths are high performance, beefy pulling power, refined running – and impressive fuel efficiency.
The 2.0 TFSI has been redesigned from the ground up. The four-cylinder engine combines three hi-tech features – turbocharging, gasoline direct injection, and the innovative Audi valvelift system for variable control of valve lift. Its high torque of 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) is already reached at 1,500 rpm and is maintained constantly up to 4,200 rpm; the maximum power output is 155 kW (211 hp). The Audi Q5 2.0 TDI reaches 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.2 seconds from a standing start, and has a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph). Its fuel consumption averages just 8.5 liters per 100 km (27.67 US mpg).
The 2.0 TDI, which owes its particular refinement to a common rail fuel injection system, also has a displacement of two liters; just like the gasoline version it has two balancing shafts. Also developing 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque (from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm), this diesel unit is capable of powerful acceleration and develops a high power output of 125 kW (170 hp). Its average fuel consumption of only 6.7 liters per 100 km (35.11 US mpg) supplies ample proof of Audi's efficiency strategy. The two-liter TDI propels the Audi Q5 from zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 9.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 204 km/h (126.76 mph).
The 3.0 TDI is the most powerful engine in the range. The V6 diesel summons up all of 176 kW (240 hp) and – from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm – 500 Nm (368.78 lb-ft) of torque. This superlative power takes the Audi Q5 from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 225 km/h (139.81 mph). On average the three-liter engine needs only 7.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (30.55 US mpg).
The 2.0 TDI channels its power through a six-speed transmission. For the 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI, Audi has developed a new generation of the dynamic S tronic – the innovative dual-clutch transmission now has seven gears. The hi-tech unit changes gear within a few hundredths of a second, and also provides astonishingly smooth gearshifts and high efficiency. The driver can set the seven-speed S tronic to change gear automatically or they can decide for themselves when to shift gear, optionally also via shift paddles on the steering wheel.
As on the Audi A4, the best midsize sedan in the opinion of the trade press, the driveline of the Audi Q5 features a differential located ahead of the clutch, and immediately behind the engine. This repositions the front axle well forward, resulting in a long wheelbase and an ideal axle load distribution. That in turn is the key to the Audi Q5's major strengths – its unruffled directional stability, high standard of comfort and thrilling dynamism.
Audi equips all versions of the Q5 with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. This distributes the engine's power 40:60 between the front and rear wheels, producing a slightly rear-biased, sporty characteristic. If need be, the quattro powertrain can divert up to 65 percent of the torque to the front wheels, or as much as 85 percent to the rear.
Aluminum links: the suspension
The suspension, too, underscores the dynamic character of the Audi Q5. The direct steering layout provides an intimate link between the driver and the road. The five-link front suspension and the trapezoidal-link rear suspension are made substantially from aluminum, and the underslung steering gear applies adjustments at the steering wheel directly to the wheels. Large brakes provide powerful deceleration. 17-inch alloy wheels with size 235/65 tires are fitted as standard, or Audi can supply wheels measuring up to 20 inches in diameter as options.
Audi's performance SUV drives with sporty precision and unwavering stability, while always providing a comfortable ride. Its ESP stabilization system incorporates new functions that the competition is unable to match. For instance, the ESP has a sensor that identifies when a roof rack is fitted and then knows that the Audi Q5's center of gravity is higher – this is significant, because the roof load may be as much as 100 kilograms (220.46 lb).
In this instance the ESP cuts in slightly earlier once the handling limits are approached; this allows the system to adopt a very dynamic basic characteristic. With a trailer load of 2.4 metric tons (4409.25 lb) (braked, at a gradient of eight percent) the Q5 is a powerful towing vehicle.
But the Audi Q5 also excels on rough terrain. Its climbing performance is an exceptionally high 31 degrees. The angles of approach and departure are 25 degrees, and the ramp breakover angle where the wheelbase really does matter is 17.6 degrees. The ground clearance is a substantial 20 centimeters (7.87 in) and a wading depth of 50 centimeters (19.69 in) is permitted when driving through water.
The standard-fit hill descent assist makes driving down steep slopes safer by holding the speed at below 30 km/h (18.64 mph). The ESP and ABS use special characteristic maps for off-road driving. The ESP majors on maximum traction in off-road conditions. The ABS automatically identifies the surface conditions and selects the ideal control strategy for sand, gravel or scree.
Audi drive select – made for driving enjoyment
On the road, too, a whole package of optional high-end technologies make the experience of driving the Audi Q5 even more captivating. The Audi drive select control system manages the engine's throttle response, the power assistance for the steering and the S tronic shift points in automatic mode. The driver determines at the push of a button whether these functions should have a predominantly comfortable, balanced or sporty response. If the MMI navigation plus system is also fitted, there is a fourth characteristic map that the driver can program as preferred.
Audi drive select can also be extended with two other innovative technologies – electronic control for the shock absorbers, and Audi dynamic steering. Equipped with a superposition gear, it varies the steering ratio and power assistance continuously depending on road speed – between a direct ratio at low speed and an indirect ratio at high speed. Near the handling limits, the dynamic steering stabilizes the Audi Q5 in tandem with the ESP by applying minor adjustments to the steering with lightning speed.
Audi is equipping its new performance SUV lavishly – such items as the automatic air conditioning and the audio system with eight speakers are included as standard. There is a particularly attractive system of multimedia components available. In the top specification, MMI navigation plus with hard drive and DVD drive, a Bluetooth phone, a TV tuner, an intelligent speech control system, digital radio reception, an interface for an iPod or MP3 player with USB connection and a high-end sound system from the Danish specialist Bang & Olufsen can all be combined. The top navigation system uses a high-resolution monitor to provide a new, three-dimensional map display. Its hard drive can also store music files in MP3 format.
The assistance systems: luxury from the full-size category
Audi can on request equip the Q5 with hi-tech systems adopted from the full-size category, making driving an even more controlled, relaxing affair. The Audi parking system advanced is a parking aid with rearview camera, Audi lane assist helps the driver to stay in lane, and Audi side assist alerts the driver to potential hazards when changing lane. The adaptive cruise control system keeps the performance SUV at a constant distance from the vehicle in front, and the auxiliary function known as braking guard warns an inattentive driver to prevent a nose-to-tail collision.
The other equipment items likewise underscore the Audi Q5's status as a performance model. These include the convenient key for keyless access, standard-fit tire pressure monitoring, a large panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic air conditioning, roller sun blinds for the rear side windows and the dynamic cornering light system Audi adaptive light. The high-beam assistant switches automatically between high-beam and low-beam headlamps. The front seats can be adjusted, heated and cooled electrically.
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