You’ve heard all the kerfuffle about diesel engines, right? Well, at the moment only older diesels are in the firing line over emissions, but certainly the general theme from policy makers is to encourage us to move away from anything that's refuelled from a black pump.
That’s fine if you’re in the market for a small car or family hatchback – there are some very efficient petrol engines available in these that combine good performance with decent economy. But what if you want a large SUV, such as the Audi Q5?
We rate the Q5's 2.0 TDI 190 diesel engine highly, because it offers excellent running costs and effortless, refined pace. But if you want to go petrol over fears about future penalties, or for any other reason, you might want to consider this 2.0-litre TFSI model.
What's the 2017 Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 252 quattro like to drive?
You might think a 2.0-litre petrol would be a bit puny for hauling around this sizeable SUV, but you’d be wrong. Thanks to it having a turbocharger, the engine develops a heady 249bhp, so when you stick your foot flat to the floor it feels decidedly brisk, squishing you back in your seat and barnstorming to the 70mph limit before you reach the end of the motorway slip road. Outright, it’s much quicker than the 2.0-litre diesel model.
What about torque? This often-quoted but decidedly esoteric force is what’s needed to accelerate smoothly and solidly from low revs, something that diesels tend to have in abundance. That’s why they usually feel more relaxing to drive, because you don’t need to rev them as hard to release their performance. Happily, this 2.0 petrol musters plenty of it, so feels just as gifted at keeping pace with traffic as its diesel counterpart.
At speed, wind and road noise are better supressed than in the rival Jaguar F-Pace, and at full chat the engine stays dignified, emitting no more than a fruity background buzz. The gearbox – this model comes as standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic – slips slickly from one gear to the next, although at parking speeds it’s less proficient, being slightly jerky and annoyingly hesitant when you’re performing a tight parallel park.
While we haven’t yet had a chance to put this petrol Q5 through our True MPG test, we did manage to average a creditable indicated 32.2mpg during a snarled-up commute on the M25. Yes, we would expect more from the 2.0 TDI diesel, but that wasn’t a bad showing by a petrol in a car of this size. That said, around town you will be firmly rooted in the mid-20mpgs.
As we already know, the Q5 is a comfortable and quiet car to mooch about town or cover vast distances at speed in. Our 2.0 petrol model had Audi's pricey (£2000) but proficient optional air suspension. Only a cavernous pothole will make it thud offensively - otherwise it patters and pads along even over patchy roads with a serenity that rivals such as the F-Pace and BMW X3 can’t muster.
It is quite floaty on gently undulating roads, but you can stiffen it up using the drive-mode switch and selecting Dynamic mode. This certainly gains you tighter body control with less body lean in bends as well as weightier steering, but there’s no doubt that those who enjoy eager driving will find the F-Pace’s extra chassis precision invoking a broader smile.
What's the 2017 Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 252 quattro like inside?
We’ve got a hugely detailed breakdown of the Q5’s interior features in our main Q5 review, so head there for the nitty-gritty.
But suffice to say that in the quest for the perfect driving position, drivers of all shapes will appreciate the amount of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel. And also the fit and finish: Audi really has this particular facet licked, with the Q5 looking and feeling considerably plusher than all of the competition.
It’s roomy, too. This car will seat four tall adults with ease, or five at a push. The boot is also big, matching the X3 when it comes to the number of shopping bags you can cram inside.
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