While the Q5 is a light driving car that feels like you can easily fling it over and around brooks and brushes and hills and plains, it’s also versatile in that its rear seat is as comfy and spacious as you’d expect, says Pavan Lall.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Audi
Think of any top-ranking luxury carmaker and it’s almost always defined by a few star products that serve as their bestsellers.
It’s the S Class and sedans for Mercedes-Benz, the 3 Series and other sporty saloons for BMW, and the Q range of SUVs for the VW-owned Audi. That’s not just a point of view. It’s a reality backed by statistics.
Historically, at least 45 per cent of Audi’s sales have come from the Q lineup.
While Audi has expanded its range of SUVs, touting technology and light weight as their unique features, it also made a strong case for its standing as the German SUV of choice for a number of reasons despite manufacturing low-key but competent sedans such as the A4, A6 and A8.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Audi
The latest Audi Q5 (2021) then is positioned for buyers as a “luxury crossover” offering a premium vehicle capable of delivering an elevated driving experience whilst being a very powerful car.
While it looks sleeker and more streamlined than its earlier avatar, the new Q5 comes with a spacious design and precisely designed ergonomics that make for both pliant driving and a comfortable passenger experience.
Inside the car, kitted out in leather with Audi’s trademark digital cockpit and an instrument cluster, the vibe is all technology and software. And that’s not a bad thing given the world we live in.
Examples include keyless entry, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, park assist, automatic emergency braking and traffic jam assist.
I almost leaned over to check if there was an Instagram assist button anywhere.
In the exterior, the Q5 now sports a new bumper and higher air inlets.
Moreover, new design cues for LED headlamps and tail lamps have also been incorporated.
The ride seems a little more planted than before and that may have something to do with the fact that the wheel size has been increased from 18 to 19 inches.
While the Q5 is a light driving car that feels like you can easily fling it over and around brooks and brushes and hills and plains, it’s also versatile in that its rear seat is as comfy and spacious as you’d expect.
This makes it a car that can be used to drive as well as for being chauffeured around in.
While no one second guesses a German car’s creds on safety and strength, it’s good to know that despite its light-weight feel the Audi Q5 has received a rating of 5 stars (NHTSA), and is also equipped with eight airbags — two more than some of its peers.
However, as with any SUV with a high ground clearance, do not expect this to be immune to the risk of rollover if pushed too hard.
Audi has moved its entire product range in the country to petrol and electric lines since last year.
So far, it has already introduced eight new products in the market in the first nine months of the year and the Q5 marks the ninth launch for the four rings.
Considering that Audi says its product’s marketing pillars are bolstered by new body styles, petrol engines and electric vehicles, expect the Q5 to roll out in a pluggable version not too far down the road.
Out in the hills of Maharashtra, through rough country roads and hilly terrain the Q5 cruised ahead like a champ never letting its passengers ever feel the undulations of the path ahead.
Ample trunk space, great sound acoustics, super-responsive steering, and optimum suspension and comfort mean this is an SUV that you don’t feel tired even after spending four hours driving around in.
Down a hilly road, once one slowed down, a four-foot-long cobra saw the Q5 coming and scooted to the side of the road to let the car pass.
Clearly, there are some things that even nature doffs its hat to.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com