Eric Tipan / Jenna Genio | May 10, 2016 08:12
The conservative premium crossover
The 2015 Audi Q5 is the luxury brand's midsize SUV that slots right in between the two other models in the J-segment, the compact Q3 and the full-size Q7.
As today's compact vehicles somehow extend their wheelbase and dimensions to increase cargo and cabin space, the Q5, at first glance, actually seems to be just about the right size for a young, small Filipino family looking for something to upgrade to from a sedan.
It is not too diminutive like the Q3, which looks more like something a young bachelor would be driving around to look cute without actually trying hard to and then there's the Q7, which packs a more considerable amount of heft.
The Q5's exterior is undoubtedly Audi. The massive grille sports the brand's four rings flanked by bi-Xenon headlights that already come with daytime running lights - part of the 2012 facelift, which also included a bump in the powerplant's output and efficiency.
Audi design has never been flashy - always clean, simple and understated. The Q5, as with any Audi, combines these elements effortlessly to form an elegant exterior that can live up to the marquee's prestige and reputation.
It may not have a bold and audacious design, and even if it was made all the more plain with an ordinary looking roof rack, the Q5 was still an instant head turner on the road.
Inside, the Q5 2.0 TDI quattro shows why it is just one notch up from the base trim of the model lineup. Except for the leather seats, leather on the steering wheel and shift boot, the cabin comes pretty plain.
The black on black color combo gives off an sophisticated look and the soft-touch material that makes up the dashboard is a nice uhm… touch but if you're familiar with the brand, you know that it gets more upscale with the higher trims.
A 7-inch multimedia interface displays the various vehicle settings including the radio and Bluetooth/USB connections to the system but it isn't touchscreen. All input must come from the terminal located right under the center aircon vents.
Minor items like the radio and audio volume can be controlled via a series of buttons on the steering wheel including answering calls routed using Bluetooth connection.
It has a three-zone climate control and heated side mirrors that come with anti-glare feature.
The Q5 2.0 TDI quattro doesn't come with a Start/Stop button. Instead of turning the key for ignition, the keyfob is shoved into its slot to start the 2.0L turbocharged diesel engine.
This trim's engine has a pedestrian output of 179PS but packs a solid amount of torque with 380 Nm. The transmission is a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.
As a safety feature, the electronic handbrake will not disengage automatically even if the driver shifts to Drive unless the seatbelt has been securely fastened.
Acceleration is steady and smooth due to the dual-clutch feature albeit a little slow. Brochure says 0-100kph takes 9.0 seconds and I suspect this may be due in part to the fact that it tips in at a little more than two tons due to its quattro permanent four-wheel drive layout.
Steering was true-feel. It wasn't deceivingly light to make you think you're behind the wheel of a compact but it also wasn't cumbersome-heavy. Each turn made was indicative of the vehicle's size and weight.
The steering feedback and four-wheel grip combination made it such a pleasure to handle.
Building up speed from 0kph may feel like you're driving on Velcro but you'd like that sensation as you take sharp turns and even on straights at 100kph.
It felt quite rooted to the ground on SLEX as I zipped through light traffic on a Saturday afternoon. I took sharp turns at speed with relative ease and plenty of stability with barely a hint of body roll on the Q5.
The cabin's insulation from noise, vibration and harshness is average while the suspension is firm enough for a sporty drive without sacrificing a comfortable ride.
The current Audi Q5 can trace its lineage all the way back to the very first model that made its world debut at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show.
It went through a major facelift in 2012 but after a total of eight years, it is a little long in the tooth, even by automobile standards.
In its present form, the 2015 Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro presents a very conservative package that will deliver an entry-level SUV experience by Audi standards. It may not bring in the 'wow' factor but it surely ticks all the necessary boxes - safety, comfort and reliability – and as a motorist, that's all you'll ever really need.