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Audi Q5 unveiled at Beijing

Published: 21 April 2008

How does the new Audi Q5 stack up in the metal? CAR Online is reporting from the Beijing motor show - and we pored over the newcomer and met its designers at a preview night. The Q5 looks refreshingly better than in the spyshots and artists’ impressions doing the rounds.

Launching in late 2008 and going up against the Volvo XC60, Saab 9-4X and BMW X3, the Q5 will have serious rivals, but its lines are clean and its sloping roofline and small coupe-style windows creates a genuinely ‘crossover’ rather than ‘SUV’ profile.

Audi Q5: the design brief

The Q5’s body is curvier than its bigger Q7 brother's. Thank goodness. Exterior designer Irishman David Caffrey admitted to CAR: 'We were a little more playful on this car.'

The bonnet is more sculpted and a bold crease scores the side body above the front wheel arch before fading away under the B-pillar and reappearing above the rear wheel arch. A pronounced ‘rocker’ line at the car’s base rises to the rear wheel arch to add to the feeling of dynamism.

Click 'Next' to read about the Q5's interior

Click here for CAR's first official pictures storyAudi Q5: the inside story

Despite the rakish exterior, interior space on the five-seater is very good - especially with the rear seats slid back 100mm (an option on the Q5). Interior designer Christian Becker is at pains to point out that the design team didn’t want the Q5 to just be 'a scaled down version' of Audi’s big
seven-seater.

The Q5’s binnacle only wraps around the instrument gauges (as opposed to stretching the full width of the centre screen in the Q7) and more angled air vent shapes continue the feeling of driver focus.

In the back, there’s great head and knee room, fold flat rear seats and under floor storage. But don’t expect much in the way of groundbreaking technology beyond a seven-speed manual transmission and Audi’s optional ‘drive select’ for different driving conditions.

Q5 by numbers

CO2 figures have not yet been released but the 2.0-litre diesel registers 35.1mpg and the range-topping 3.0 TDI V6 will get to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, but still manage 36.6mpg. Pricing starts at sub-£30,000 with a UK sales target of 8000 per annum.

Click here for CAR's first official pictures story

For a full analysis of the new Audi Q5, buy the new June 2008 issue of CAR Magazine, out 30 April 2008

By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator

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