Friday came and the weekend had officially started; locked in and confirmed, our first weekend press car.
I’m beyond excited as this is the first press car I’ve had for longer than 8 hours.
Driving up from Canberra in an Abarth 500 is fun (sometimes), but knowing that I was about to trade it for a weekend of luxury caused peak anticipation, whilst feeling every bump, pothole and slight gust of wind in the 500.
Finally, I had the keys to the Q5 3.0 TDI.
As you step into the car, you immediately notice the full colour ‘digital cockpit’ that Audi has been using for a little while now. Featuring a clear map of Sydney, as well as the usual items you’d expect, it makes the drive through the city a breeze aided by effortless acceleration.
Driving the Q5 was certainly a surprise, as this was the first Audi I have driven in quite some time. I’ve had experience with a range of Porsche SUV’s, so it is fair to say that my initial expectations were held high. The car being diesel was an initial gripe I had, as brands such as Porsche have moved away from diesel with convincing reason, so it’s interesting that Audi has gone for a full onslaught of new diesel vehicles, including high-performance variants.
When you bury your foot deep into the accelerator, you’re greeted with a hint of turbo lag, which is quickly sorted, allowing you to access more than 600Nm of torque. I’m impressed. You’d expect a large 3-litre diesel V6 to be unresponsive and lag to quick responses to throttle inputs, however, it is graceful and responsive. This is quickly becoming a convincing case for diesel cars.
Saturday was filled with long drives and curvy roads, a good way to test what the Q5 was like outside of busy Sydney streets. I’m instantly in love with the air suspension that the Q5 possesses. It’s an impressive system, you’re comfortable, yet still receive a fair amount of feedback from the road. Audi’s semi-autonomous radar cruise control has won me over as someone who frequents the Sydney to Canberra drive. The car kept a safe distance between the car in front, as well as steering for you.
You are spoilt for choice with the number of driving modes, each changing how the car responds to the road. With Comfort mode being the weapon of choice for rough city streets (alongside the use of heated seats AND three-way massaging seats). Dynamic mode livens up the diesel Q5, which great for backroad driving, hugging corners and responding to acceleration, making the Q5 an engaging drive.
Overall the car is pretty flawless as a family cruiser; it’s comfortable, it’s powerful, it’s good to look at and still has some flavour to keep true car enthusiasts interested. However, diesel is an odd choice for today. As brands (such as Porsche) are stepping away from diesel to embrace the oncoming flood of electrified models over the next decade, Audi seems to be chasing down diesels. I see the point – powerful diesels behave similar to electric cars, with lots of torque available without needing to rev the engine into redline.
It’s a convincing case for diesels and Audi’s development in designing an almost perfect diesel motor. The Audi Q5 should be on your list when considering your next mid-sized luxury SUV.