review: Colin Sharp | images: Carla Nunes | price from: R1 100 000

There have recently been learned opinions passed on the pollution factor of diesel engines, right? Currently, only older diesels are in the firing line over emissions, but certainly the general theme from policy makers seems to encourage a move away from anything that’s an oil burner.

If the consideration is for a small car or family hatchback, there are some efficient petrol engines available that combine sprightly performance with reasonable economy. But in the sector of mid-range SUVs there is now the Audi Q5 in 2.0-litre TFSI guise.

Some might imagine that a 2.0-litre petrol engine would be on the puny side for hauling around this sizeable SUV, but not so. Due to its efficient turbocharger the engine develops a heady 185kW, so when the loud pedal is flattened it feels decidedly brisk, whistling rapidly up to 100km/h in 6,3 seconds and on to a 237km/h maximum. It’s notably quicker than the 2.0-litre diesel option.

So what about torque? This oft-quoted, but decidedly esoteric force being what’s necessary to accelerate smoothly and solidly from low revs, is something diesels tend to have in abundance. This is why they usually feel more relaxing to drive, not needing to be revved hard to liberate their performance. Happily, the new Q5’s 2.0-litre petrol mill musters plenty of it so that this model feels just as nimble in keeping pace with any diesel counterpart.

Architecturally the new Q5 is svelte and yet muscular. It has a pretty and cleverly sculpted profile, and at speed, wind and road noise are very well suppressed; while at full bore the engine stays dignified, emitting no more than a pleasing background buzz. This model has as standard a 7-speed dual-clutch A/T, which slips slickly from one gear to the next and can be made manual with plus and minus steering wheel paddles. From a standing start it really impresses. And while the power is more than apt, the fuel economy proved to be equally impressive.

For the full article see Habitat #262 November / December 2017


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