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Five stars for the new queen on the block - Audi Q5

2017-08-20 00:00

NEXT-GEN Q5: The second-generation Audi Q5 is now available in South Africa and is set to battle against a host of rival premium SUVs. Sean Parker drove all three versions in the Overberg. Image: Quickpic

  Gallery

Gallery: 2017 Audi Q5

2017-07-26 09:11

Audi has launched the new Audi Q5 IN South Africa.

Melinda Ferguson

Gaansbaai - It was one of those perfect circular moments; test driving the new second-generation Audi Q5 a few weeks ago, en route to the uber-luxurious Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Walker Bay.

The Q5 will always have a special place in my fuel-injected heart. Back in 2009, with plenty of cheek and very little driving ability, I managed to secure a seven-day test drive in the first-generation SUV for a magazine where I had just crowned myself motoring editor. I had been watching Top Gear for years and had read enough bland car reviews to believe that what I didn’t know about torque and RPM, I could get by on with my imaginative writing skills.

A late starter to the art of driving, it was in fact the first automatic car I had driven, hence I had to constantly remind myself to keep my left foot away from the pedals.

                                                                        Image: Motorpress

Roll on the new Audi Q5 eight years later. The Q5 has always been the queen of the impressive Audi range – since its release in 2008 it’s sold 1.8 million units worldwide. Almost a decade later, the time for a new regime is long overdue.

Looks-wise, the Q5 has definitely lost a few kilos – 90kgs, in fact. Sleeker in design than her predecessor, she’s put on some muscle in all the right places. Her new-found tautness has not meant a decrease in dimension – according to Audi, she’s larger, plus there’s a whopping 1 550 litres of boot space when the rear seats are down. What she definitely is, is gorgeous: front, sides and back, with new LED lights creating a crown jewel effect.

Inside, it has high-end finishes and plenty of room for both driver and passengers. Where the Q5 especially shines is by way of the inside tech with the new optional virtual cockpit, displaying brilliant graphics by way of its high-res 12.3-inch screen. The MMI terminal, housing the infotainment system, is top class, but it’s the Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system that takes auditory experience to another level.

I got to drive all three derivatives: the impressively frugal and powerful 2.0 TDI, which delivers 140kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Next up, with a dashing 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds, is the 2.0 TFSI, with 185kW of power and 370Nm torque (for GTI fans, this babe has similar figures). The tiara on top is the SQ5, powered by a turbocharged 3.0 V6 engine, with delicious power of 260kW and 500Nm of torque, streaking from ­0-100km/h in just 5.4 seconds. All derivatives come standard with Audi’s respected seven-speed, double-clutch S tronic transmission. Three guesses which my favourite speed queen was.

                                                                           Image: Motorpress

With permanent Quattro Ultra, power shifts via an eight-speed automatic gearbox in the lightening-fast SQ5. This system is Audi-speak for “on demand” four-wheel drive. For the layman, that means that when extra grip is needed, the SQ5 instinctively shifts to accommodate and sends the drive into the rear wheels. On gravel, on bends and on muddy rural roads, all three derivatives adapt like true royalty does to the masses.

Audi’s chosen launch venue was Grootbos, one of the Cape’s top luxury eco destinations. Swathed in spectacular fynbos, Grootbos is tucked away on the southern tip of the continent between mountains, ancient forests and the ocean of Gansbaai. From the sundeck of our private chalets, each replete with a fireplace and a massive sunken bathtub, spectacular views opened onto the fynbos and the pristine ocean teeming with aquatic life – from penguins to dolphins and seals. In early spring, southern right whales are frequently spotted.

All too soon we had to head back to Cape Town. En route, I silently grinned to myself when I noticed how, this time around, my right foot was instinctively in charge.

  • Ferguson was a guest at Grootbos. For more information, visit grootbos.com

Pricing

Q5 2.0 TDI quattro S tronic - R698 000

Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic - R747 500

SQ5 3.0 TFSI quattro tiptronic - R1 044 000

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