Gunjan Gupta, The Hush Post: Before January 18th the launch date arrives, we bring to you the brand-new Audi Q5 and all that it has or hasn’t. In the luxury midsize SUV segment the latest entrant is the brand-new Audi Q5 which is larger, lighter, swankier and more luxurious than ever. But the new Q5 has to be really special, as beating the likes of the impressive GLC and the feature laden XC60 won’t be easy.

The initial impression it gives is that the new Q5 looks like a juxtaposition of first generation Q5 and the new Q7. Viewed upfront it looks huge and handsome. The large single-frame hexagonal grille, slim high-tech full LED headlamps and the shapely bumper is reminiscent of the larger sibling.

In profile, it has a very similar stance to the old car but thanks to the more pronounced shoulder line which looks elegant. From the back it looks more like a jacked up estate than an SUV. Overall the new Q5 should appeal to most, but design you may give a 50-50.

Beneath the exterior, the new Q5 is based on the MLB evo platform which also underpins the A4, A5 and the Q7. This modular platform uses lot of aluminium and high strength steel in its construction, as a result of which the new car is 90kg lighter compared to the old Q5. It is longer and taller than the old car.

The inside of it, reminds you of older Audis than the new ones. You get a conventional dash layout with a well-shaped centre console and missing are the distinctive vents that expand across the width of the dashboard like in the new Q7 and A4. What is thoroughly modern though is the Virtual Cockpit system which we have come to love in all newer Audis. It high-res instrumentation screen is crisp, easy to use on the move and gives you information like navigation, trip data and phone notification. The MMI system is quick and easy to get use to but not as intuitive as the BMW’s i-Drive system. There’s a touchpad, too, which we used mostly for inputting addresses on the navigation or to search contacts which makes your life easier when you’re on the move.

Right from the knurled finished air-con controls, to the beautifully textured dash top, everything just feels right on the money. Thankfully Audi hasn’t fallen for the minimalistic design approach like some of its rivals and have sensibly kept separate buttons and switches for the air-con, drive modes and so on. As for its functionality, it really is better than Volvo if at the same time it loses some points in its fanciness.

As you sit in the new, it’s high up like while the low dash in front give you a clear view of the road ahead, almost like your windscreen is like a French window. The front seat is well bolstered and there is loads of space up front. At the rear you get more knee space and the seat is comfortable can be reclined well enough. The 510 boot is large and well-shaped. You can also slide the rear seat forward to add space and you also get 40:20:40 split folding function which adds to the Q5’s functionality.

The Q5 has a massive sunroof, electric leather seats, parking assist with rear camera, three-zone climate control, electric boot opening, cruise control with a speed limiter, 8 airbags, not to mean to drive to kill yourself but just in case they are needed. Also LED lighting, Matrix Beam headlamps, and the Virtual cockpit instrumentation are latest of the lot. A glaring omission though is the keyless door opening which is present even in cars which cost much less.

The new Q5 is best in terms of comfort. On the highway though there is quite a bit of body movement, especially over irregular surfaces. It’s best to switch to Dynamic out on the highway and in this mode the Q5 displays a much flatter poise and a more comfortable ride.

Handling is a bit of a 50-50 bag. In dynamic or in auto mode, this SUV shows grace. There is leech like grip thanks to the Quattro system too. But the steering which is lifeless, gives you a disconnected feel and takes away from what would have been an otherwise fun to drive SUV. In Comfort mode the steering feels too light and with Dynamic mode just adding more resistance than feel.

It’s a very well done-up SUV with no huge drawbacks. It might come across a bit boring in the way it looks or the way it drives but as a no-nonsense, easy to drive and live with SUV the Q5 just feels right for the kind of money. It is a huge leap forward over the old car and the beautifully made cabin makes it feel premium and luxurious. How the latest Q5s takes to the market will depend on its price. But for that wait till Janaury 18th.

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