Audi Premiers Q5 SUV
By Kevin Miller
Audi premiered its Q5 SUV at the Beijing Auto Show this weekend. Built on the same platform that underpins the A4 and A5, the Q5 is aimed directly at competitors such as the BMW X3, Infiniti EX35, Land Rover LR2 HSE, Lexus RX350, and the upcoming Mercedes Benz GLK and Volvo XC60. Audi claims that the Q5 is a sporty and versatile performance SUV. It is smaller in size than Audi’s Q7.
At launch, world markets will see choices including one gasoline engine and two TDI units. Each of the engines are turbocharged and feature direct-injection. Whichever engine is chosen, the Q5 is equipped with Audi’s latest-generation quattro AWD with rear-biased torque split (40/60).
The first available diesel mill is the four-cylinder 2.0 TDI, which employs a common-rail fuel injection system and two balancing shafts. This engine delivers 170 HP, with 25 lb-ft of torque available between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. Average fuel economy is 35.1 mpg (6.7 liters per 100 km). Equipped with this powerplant, the Q5 hits 62 mph in 9.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 126 mph. The Q5 2.0 TDI will be equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.
The gasoline engine is the four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI. It is rated 211 HP, with 250 lb-ft of torque available between 1,500 rpm and 4,200 rpm. The Q5 2.0 TFSI reaches 62 mph in 7.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 138 mph. On average, the vehicle achieves 27.6 mpg (8.5 liters of fuel per 100 km).
The second diesel engine, and the most powerful engine in the non-USA Q5 line-up is the 3.0 TDI. This V6 diesel delivers 240 hp, with peak torque of 368 lb-ft. This diesel takes the Q5 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, accelerating to a top speed of 139 mph. On average, the three-liter engine returns 30.55 mpg (7.7 liters of fuel per 100 km).
Both the 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI come with Audi’s S tronic twin-clutch transmission with seven speeds. The seven-speed S tronic can shift automatically, or the driver can select gears manually when desired, using controls mounted on the steering wheel.
When the Q5 launches in the US next year, it will be powered by a 3.2 liter V6 FSI gasoline engine, featuring direct injection, and Audi Valvelift System (AVS) variable intake valve lift. Rated 265hp and 243 lb-ft torque, this powertrain will get the Q5 from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The US-bound vehicle will have a Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission; the fancy S tronic will unfortunately not be offered. This powertrain is slower and certainly thirstier than the 3.0 TDI offered in the rest of the world- that it will the the sole US powertrain offering is a disappointment to potential customers who would like a Q5 which is both quicker and more efficient.
Although few Q5s are likely to see serious off-road duty, Audi proudly publishes numbers which tout the vehicle’s abilities: a climbing capability of 31 degrees incline, front overhang angle of 25 degrees, ramp breakover angle of 17.5 degrees, ground clearance of 20 centimeters (7.87 inches), and a fording depth of up to 50 centimeters (19.69 inches) when driving through water.
Among the Q5’s options is dynamic steering, which continuously varies the steering ratio and the power steering assistance depending on the speed driven. At the vehicle’s handling limits, Audi claims the dynamic steering stabilizes the Q5 in conjunction with the ESP by means of instantaneous steering interventions.
The Q5 is a two-row SUV, and can seat as many as 5 people. To keep the passengers comfortable, available triple-zone climate control (standard on US models) is available, and Audi even offers a climate-controlled drink holder to keep drinks hot or cold. The Q5 has a lot of optional infotainment upgrades: the highest upgrade level features a Bluetooth telephone, a DVD drive, a TV tuner, an intelligent speech control system, an iPod interface and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The Q5 will be the first Audi to offer Generation 3 MMI, and navigation with real-time traffic information. The navigation system boasts a high-resolution monitor for new, three-dimensional representation of maps. The navigation system’s hard disk can also save music files in MP3 format.
Backrests for the rear seats are angle-adjustable and can be folded down by using a remote release in the luggage compartment, which expands the luggage area from 19 cubic feet to 55 cubic feet. As an option, Audi offers the “rear bench seat plus”, which slides 4 inches lengthwise to provide a load-through facility. Also, the front passenger seat can be folded flat for transporting long objects.
US-bound Q5s have standard 18 inch wheels, full body monochromatic paint, LED taillights, and aluminum exterior trim. They can be optionally outfitted with bi-xenon lamps and LED daytime running lights. If the 18s aren’t big enough for you, Audi will be offering larger 20 inch wheels.
In the USA, the Audi Q5 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2009 as a 2009 model year vehicle. It will be on sale across Europe even sooner.
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