If there is a Q on it at Audi, there is also a way. Or one paves the way. The Ingolstadt-based company proudly presents the second generation of the Q5 among cacti on dusty slopes. 1,6 million models sold made it a successful mid-range premium-class SUV worldwide. The successor will come from the new Audi plant in San Chiapa, Mexico for the first time at the start of 2017. At least 150.000 vehicles are to be sold around the world every year. That can get hot for the competition, especially the BMW X3, the Mercedes GLC and the new Jaguar F-Pace.
First test of the new Audi Q5 - in Mexico
Out of the corner of their eye, skinny cows carefully follow the herd of cars, which are looking for a way at reduced speed. Not an everyday occurrence in the lonely, dusty desert of the Mexican Baha California, characterized by meter-high cacti and scrubby bushes. Here, of all places, in the middle of nowhere between the Gulf of California and the Pacific, the new Audi Q5 should demonstrate its off-road capabilities. But the selection of the test site is not as arbitrary as it seems. The second generation of the Ingolstadt SUV does not roll off the assembly line in Germany for the first time, but in Mexico. In the country where the Beetle was built for almost fifty years and to which Daimler and BMW are now also drawn, Audi laid the foundation stone for a modern car factory in the Mexican plateau northeast of Puebla almost four years ago. At least 150 units of the SUV, which has been used to success since the start of 000, are to be built there by around 2008 workers. The first new Q4200 rolled off the assembly line in October.
True to the motto "Never change a winning team", left the Ingolstadt designers the exterior of the SUV largely untouched. The sculptured single-frame grill with solid frame dominates the flat front and slightly sharpened edges to make the SUV appear more modern and dynamic. The slight plus in all dimensions provides eye-level with a BMW X3 and a Mercedes GLC. Recently, the Q5 can also shift the rear seat, thereby increasing the cargo space volume of 550 liters to 610 liters, the folding of the three-part rear seat back opens up good 1550 liter storage volume behind the passengers. In Europe, the five-seater with four diesel engines (the 2,0 liter TDI with 150,163 and 140 PS and the 286 PS strong 3,0 TDI) and the advanced petrol 2,0 TFSI with 252 PS.
Cattle trucks and the rancher pickups have left deep furrows in the reddish shimmering desert floor. The brand new Q5 take up their ambitious journey again in a temptingly long straight line and in due decency from the cows left behind. Depress the accelerator pedal vigorously - a signal that the quatro with ultra technology understands in this floor condition as an acute need for grip. The previously decoupled rear axle drive is activated within two tenths of a second. The new concept, which is offered for all engines except for the six-cylinder diesel - for which there is the sport differential on the rear axle upon request - increases efficiency, but does not compromise driving dynamics in the slightest. The outlines of the vehicles in front blur in the thick dust, only their taillights show the course of the road. The new air suspension effortlessly irons out the deep bumps, damper control and body height can be varied as required. The Q5 is just as easy to steer around dangerously sharp stones as it is around the larger-than-life cacti that are in the way. The adventure on and off the asphalt will be available from next spring for a price from 45 100 euros. With the many helpers who assist in traffic jams, parking, turning, overtaking and braking, the new head-up display and many other amenities for civilization, the price can be increased as desired.
Text: Solveig Grewe // Photos: Solveig Grewe / Audi