► CAR lives with an Audi Q5 Sportback
► Slick and well-equipped crossover
► How will Anthony fare with it?
This is basically a new version of Audi's hugely popular mid-sized SUV involving the payment of a little bit more for a little bit less. The little bit more is about £2500 for the lazier tailgate attitude that begets the Sportback moniker, and the little bit less is the resultant loss of some 40 litres of luggage space. As Basil Fawlty once told Sybil: 'You wouldn't understand dear; it's called style.'
Dubious marketing dealt with, I can also reveal that this particular specimen is a first-class example of how to specify a car for a missus short on sleep yet impressively long on the expletives attendant to the hot fidgety fuss of screen menu wading in the interests of being left entirely alone by a car. At all times.
Nanny-free Nirvana is reached almost instantaneously with the discovery that there's no need to keep switching off the lane-keeping assistant, and no over-keen reversing alert attempting to rip the head clean off our shoulders every time we back out of the drive through the clematis...
Indeed, after so many months of being over-supervised by the Skoda Octavia, the Q5 is proving so free of undesirable frills that I still can't quite get my head round the fact that all I have to do is get in, get rid of Radio 1, and get going.
A lack of irritants rating at least 9.5 on the Scottish Midge Scale should not, however, be mistaken for a lack of toys. You'd expect something costing just an Ayrton short of 50 grand to be fairly comprehensively kitted out, and it is; an additional £5000-odd on the asking price here adding a few worthwhile items, and some I can't fathom at all:
Matrix LED headlamps powerful enough to grill sardines are a £1000 must, as is the £1400 Comfort and Sound pack, which includes heated front seats and a B&O sound system. The 'rear bench seat plus' for £350 alludes to the ability to slide the base to and fro – essential now that both hooligans have topped six feet.
Acoustic front door glass seems like a good idea for just £175, but how a £200 'comfort centre armrest' differs from the norm, and why every net unexcitingly listed in the £225 Storage pack isn't standard fare are both beyond me. I'm not sure much is to be gained on the ride quality front by upping the wheel diameter to 20in for £1000, and the thought of a puncture requiring the deployment of a £200 'collapsible spare wheel' fills me with dread.
A far more engaging prospect is the promise of 261bhp delivered by yet another iteration of the VW Group's 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol workhorse, especially when partnered with that relentlessly oleaginous seven-speed DSG gearbox and mated to all-wheel drive. The only downside is, of course, the threat of an average fuel consumption figure about half that of the departed Octavia. But at least we won't be slithering about on the oily bit of the forecourt.
By Anthony french-Constant
Logbook: Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI S line
Price £49,990 (as tested £55,235)
Performance 1984cc turbo four-cyl, 261bhp, 6.1sec 0-62mph, 149mph
Efficiency 32.5mpg (official), 27.2mpg (tested), 197/km CO2
Energy cost 23.6p per mile
Miles this month 346
Total miles 1582