Almost 30 hours in airplanes with two dockings there and the same number back. And all for the sake of a fleeting meeting with him – the new Audi Q5. Now it is tested not somewhere in glamorous Europe, but in almost wild prairies, among giant cacti and cocktails of sand and dust.
The speed is 80 kilometers per hour. A narrow primer with constant differences of heights and insidious hummocks yulit between thickets of three-meter cactuses, reminiscent of their monumental trees. And fountains of ash dust from the car with a conductor in front. My crossover now and then takes off as if from a springboard, juicy landing in a cloud of dirt. A moment and in a dusty fog for a split second there is a turn. Do not miss it. And you can not brake – in the back, too, cars whose drivers no longer even see your stop signals. Cactus drive in the Mexican wilderness is somewhat like a wild rally. Only I do not know, unlike the rally drivers. Surprisingly, in this extreme entertainment you do not spend a stock of nerve cells. On the contrary, you feel almost relaxed, as in a session in the cinema. The new Q5 is really capable of inspiring much more confidence than the previous one.
He became lighter almost on a centner. And losing weight, it feels even more obedient. This is especially appreciated in almost extreme conditions, when you infinitely unravel the tangles of turns. And under the wheels are hummocks and dirt. But it seems to you, as if driving a car you are driving along an ordinary street. Of course, ignoring the flaws of the primer helps air suspension (it is now available as an option). But it’s worth switching into a car with springs, as soon as the reassessment of the traffic situation begins: you go a little more carefully, having ceased completely ignoring the pits. However, even in the basic version, the crossover can not be called too rigid. Even if you set Drive Select to a sporty mood. About a comfortable regime and not worth talking about.
Two-liter petrol and diesel versions are now equipped with a new all-wheel drive transmission Ultra. Audi engineers are proud of its main qualities – the ability to save fuel and the speed of response to changing road conditions. Now the second factor is more important to me. On the clarity of the reactions, the new transmission is almost in no way inferior to the traditional Quattro. Not only does it almost perfectly work these dozens of irregularities per second, absorbing blows, but also allows you to drive without fear of losing control when at a decent speed and in a corner the clutch will only have three wheels. After every ten milliseconds, the system analyzes a lot of important data. And the rotation speed of each of the wheels, and transverse and longitudinal acceleration, steering angle, and torque. If necessary, immediately shifts almost one hundred percent of traction from the front wheels to the rear.
The company’s engineer who occupies the passenger seat is carried away by a tablet that broadcasts information from all the main machine systems. When once again we take off on the springboard and pass exactly the turn, he does not miss the opportunity to once again report the instant reaction of the all-wheel drive system and various assistants. Delays that can lead to dangerous situations are excluded. But why these theoretical calculations? And why try to constantly turn the screen in my direction? Just distract from the road! Yes, I believe! Crossover behavior speaks about everything better than cold computer figures. By the ability to behave on bad roads, the new car is almost as good as its older brother Q7. And somewhere and it exceeds by the smaller mass.
Can try to deceive “Ultras”, or even better – to drive her mad on the sand? A wild beach on the Pacific coast for such provocations is just right. The engineer with the tablet protests. Of course, beach races are not foreseen by the official program. Therefore I will manage without boring passengers. Overclocking on the primer, a jump on the sand, followed by sharp movements of the steering wheel. But here the crossover behaves approximately. Even without thinking of losing the steering trajectory or digging into the sand. And respond to my provocation.
By the way, the resemblance to the flagship is noticeable not only in driving performance. But in the sensations from the salon. It is especially strong in the front seats. Landing behind the wheel is noticeably more convenient than before. Places overhead increased – now it is enough, perhaps, even a two-meter driver. And it’s time to assign the crossover index Q6 – so close it is in terms of comfort to the flagship Q7.
But you sit back, and here you are returned to reality – as in the previous model of the place quite a bit despite the substantial increase in dimensions. The passenger, whose height exceeds 180 cm, will rest his knees in the hard back of the front seat. How long will it last in the grip? I did not begin to detect, having moved again forward. Perhaps, in order not to torment “big people”, it made sense to build lining on the backs of armchairs made of soft materials? Desperate situations do not exist. Especially for German engineers.
Gasoline or diesel?
I confess: I started, as usual, with the program maximum – I chose the version with a three-liter diesel for my first acquaintance. This version is not expected in Russia yet. It’s a pity, because this modification actually “sat on the tail” of a solid Q7 – due to a combination of power and comfort. The huge thrust of 600 Nm, available almost at the bottom, allows the fry crossover to make lightning overtaking in almost any situation. And at low revs, the diesel does not seem to be producing excessive noise or vibrations at all.
Against the background of the top-diesel two-liter 190-strong version was much calmer. Although here and there is virtually no hint of turbojams and the delay in the reaction of the car to the kickdown. But all the same acceleration is measured and even slightly phlegmatic. On the other hand, the bulk of potential owners are larger and not required. And someone is more important than other advantages of such a car. For example, summer residents and fans of long-distance travel, for whom the main thing is not dynamics and approximate noise insulation, but low consumption and power reserve. And according to these criteria, a modest one with a volume of two liters is the best.
By the way, the familiar 250-horsepower petrol engine seemed slightly sleepy. Special settings, so as not to torment the transmission? Do you want to enjoy an active movement? Then the engine has to be untwisted closer to the maximum speed. But in this case the noise is already annoying. It turns out, on soundproofing with an active driving style, the petrol version even lost a three-liter diesel engine? That version we managed to disperse the car on a deserted Mexican highway to 220 km per hour. And my colleague and I talked calmly, without raising our voices. As if calmly rolling along somewhere in the city.
By the way, Q5 still have questions. After all, we have not driven the most evil gasoline version, which is expected later. Intuition whispers: it is she who is waiting for the moment to climb to the top line in the rating of personal preferences.
Photo of the author and Audi.