What is it?
With petrol-powered cars making a comeback in the luxury segments, Audi announced a renewed focus on petrol cars in India, some time ago. Last year, India got the Q7 with a petrol engine; and now it’s the Q5 that the brand has made available with the petrol engine on offer. The engine in question is the same 2.0-litre turbo-petrol motor that produces a strong 252hp in the Q7. Interestingly, this Q5 45 TFSI-badged petrol makes 62hp more than the only Q5 on sale up until now – its 35 TDI’s 2.0-litre diesel counterpart that puts out 190hp. Despite its power variance, the TFSI costs exactly the same as the TDI.
What’s it like on the inside?
The Q5 petrol is identical to the diesel on the inside, so there’s really nothing new to report. What you do get is a well-finished cabin that’s big on space and comfort. The dash is low and gives a good view out, the front seats are comfy and you are also sat very comfortably at the rear.
Like the Q5 diesel, the Q5 petrol is available in two trims – Premium Plus and Technology. The feature-list is not class-leading for its segment, in general; but you do get quite a lot of kit. Equipment on the top-spec 45 TFSI Q5 Technology variant includes automatic headlamps and rain-sensing wipers, powered front seats with a memory function for the driver’s seat, three-zone climate control, digital instruments and smartphone connectivity compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
What it’s like to drive?
The petrol engine under the Q5 is a 1984cc, four-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The power is transmitted through Audi’s Ultra Quattro all-wheel-drive system which transmits power to all the wheels when the car detects loss of traction.
The Q5 does feel slightly hesitant when starting-off. There’s a bit of lag from the engine; and from the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as well (the Q7 gets an eight-speed torque converter), which makes driving around in traffic a little jerky. Build up the revs, though, and the engine responds well. The turbocharger kicks in at just above 2,200rpm with a surge of gratifying power. Gear shifts become smoother, too, and it’s only when you pay close attention that you notice the dual-clutch isn’t quite as smooth as the Q7’s torque converter unit. Still, upshifts are precise and the gearbox keeps you in the right gear at the right time. The downshifts when you floor the accelerator are correctly anticipated and quickly executed. There is also a Sport mode which keeps the engine in the upper reaches of the powerband and gives the SUV readier access to power.
Like all the latest Audis, overall refinement levels are very high on this version of the Q5, as well. The calm demeanour of the engine means that you won’t realise when you’re cruising at triple-digit speeds. The only real giveaway of the sort of pace you’re doing is the tyre noise that creeps into the cabin.
The Q5 is stable at high speeds and agile enough for quick lane changes and attacking corners. Switch the drive mode to ‘dynamic’ and you can feel the suspension set-up getting slightly stiffer, and it does add dynamism to the package. The Quattro system does its job well – it provides the necessary grip; but as ever, the Q5’s steering simply doesn’t give enough feedback around corners.
Driving around the city means dealing with potholes; and the adjustable dampers work extremely well in going over the regular ones with ease. The tall 60mm sidewalls of the 18-inch alloy wheels also play an important role in this. You can glide over some of the bad roads without slowing down much; and there is not much of vertical movement. Although, do make sure that you avoid the bigger potholes on the roads – those will be felt sharply, regardless.
Should I buy one?
The Q5 petrol has been priced at Rs 55.27 lakh for the Premium Plus variant and Rs 59.79 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top-spec Technology trim. These price tags are identical to equivalent variants of the diesel Q5. So, the question is: should someone interested in the Q5 go for the petrol or the diesel variant? If performance is a priority for you, the Q5 petrol is easily the one to buy. It’s quick and more involving to drive, yet holds onto all the strengths that make the Q5 such a well-rounded package.
The Q5 45 TFSI makes for a good buy, as is; but is it the best of the petrol mid-sized SUVs you can buy? That’s something we will only find out when it goes up against the Mercedes-Benz GLC300 and the new BMW X3 xDrive 30i in our upcoming comparison. Stay tuned.