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Roadshow Video Reviews
2014 Audi Q5 TDIWith its diesel engine, the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI gets about 5 mpg better than the equivalent gasoline version.
I know what you're thinking every time we bring you a car with a new advanced power train, the question is that's great, but how long will it take me to earn back the additional MSRP in my measly fuel savings? Let's do that math. With the 2014 Audi Q5 with the turbo diesel and check the tech. Now to my eye the first thing I noticed about a Q5 is that it's exceptionally svelte. It doesn't have that big broad shouldered look of some crossovers that are based on lower to midsized sedans. This guy is based on the same platform of the Audi 5 generally speaking. You can tell it's been significantly enlarged, but it still has a compactness to it. It's a 2-row, 4-door only. There are no other configurations of it and there's no third row option by the way. Now to be fair the 2014 Q5 is very much a carryover in the cabin. This is largely an engine story but let's do a quick review. Audi's MMI is not standard, but it is included on this car at mid or higher levels. You've got this 4-zone controller, a nice little turn, click, and jog wheel, additional buttons around there. It is not a touchscreen in any way, shape, or form and you've got very good though not perfect voice command. Let's look at a few things on the main menu here, navigation, this is one of the cleaner looking nav screens that is out there. You've got direct zoom in and out right here on the knob. There's no menu to have to go to like some cars. Same thing goes for tour and move. You can just hit this little jog wheel and just move it again. Some cars make that a menu. Forget it. By then it's too tedious. And of course the Audi trademark you can go to Google Earth as your actual view on the map. This is really pretty cool stuff, but you will need to use a live data connection to do that. That data connection lives down here in a SIM card. This car has its own 3G account separate from your phone. Here we go. Here comes the Google Earth data loading in, takes a while. That's 3G, wished it was 4 but it ain't. As it's doing this it's gonna buffer. I think it's a 25-mile radius so you're not constantly buffering as you go. It does a big gulp at once and if you're really into maps, the combination of this kind of photo realism plus really good traffic and guidance information you get here and on the helper screen makes this quite a nice experience all in. Switch in to 3D view for additional oohs and aahs, turn on a few POI's. This is a kind of fun system to use. Now here's one of the best things about it. When you wanna find a place to go because you've got a live connection and Google services on the other end of it, the voice command button actually becomes useful. Let's check it out. Online destination, Pizzeria Picco. -Online destinations, retrieving requested information. -If it's really smart it's gonna check in the greater area. -Please enter the line. -2. -Pizzeria Picco has been accepted. -Okay. What you just saw there is a big slice of the way all-navigation system should work but most don't. About all that mars that is a beep tone negotiation you've gotta do. You either have to wait for those beep tones that I think take too long or constantly get here on the voice button to preempt them and that's too much work. So I wished they'd get rid of that the way BMW has. All your modern sources are in here. No headlines to speak of, a hard drive I'd never used, an SD card 2 of them in fact that I find odd. You hook up your iPod to what they call the MMI connector there in the cable and of course we have Bluetooth streaming, though I don't think every Q5 has that. Watch your trim level. Standard audio can be optioned up to Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker, 505 watts and as we'll see at the end of the piece the price on is not bad. I think I would do it. Now your drive controls. Your stick here is for your 8-speed automatic. It's a Tiptronic though it doesn't have any Tiptronic controls on the wheel. No paddles or thumb toggles at all. It's all gate-based. So in drive, once for drive, another one for sport mode, take it to the right and that's where you get your shift ability, up for upshift, down for downshift the way it should be. You can option this car up with Audi Drive Select which will give you several buttons for different sort of drive train personalities. We don't have that on this car. The last thing I'll point out is a standard and vast power glass roof. This guy is big and then once you get that big glass panel open, look what you can do. You've got a mesh panel you can decide to have closed which gets great gentle air circulation through here without all the buffeting of being all the way open or all that sun baking and getting all the UV on your head the whole time. It's a real nice middle ground. Now the decals on the side of this thing didn't tip me off, we've got a TDI in this vehicle and they're pretty proud of that. As the Q5 gets that engine let's refresh what this great Audi mill is all about, 3-liter V6 sitting longitudinally of course, single turbo. You see it's sitting right there, not a twin-turbo configuration. The results are 240 scrawny horsepower, simply not enough to move something of this weight but hold on. Here comes the torque, 428 crushing foot pounds. Now we're doing just fine. Weighs about 4500 pounds, a big boy, zero to 60 though in 6-1/2 pretty trim seconds. MPG is rated at 24/31. Normally you get something low to low-mid between those two, but I've been observing 30+ in real world. That's nice. All these guys have Quattro all-wheel drive standard and go out through that one-choice-only 8-speed automatic that we talked about. By the way, 2 gears on that 8-speed automatic are overdrive. We're gonna check that out on the road and this car does use urea injection. It's got a 6-gallon AdBlue tank that once in a great while you will have to add to. That's how they scrubbed a lot of the soot and junk out of the diesel exhaust. Let's go for a ride. Let's start here without moving an inch. Maybe a little hard for you to hear but listen to this. I'm gonna turn down the fan all the way to nothing. Audios off. It doesn't sound like a diesel. It sounds like any other car with a gas engine. That's a real breakthrough not so much even in smoothness of the engine, but I think isolation of the cabin and that's a good thing. Let's go for a ride. Now of course with the kind of torque you have in a diesel getting off the line is really fun. I mean woosh. It's like getting shot out of a cannon. You don't rev very high in these guys, what, you start to peter out a 4500 on the clock there. The only issue I find with this power train transmission and engine combination is it does tend to hunt out those 2 overdrive gears very aggressively, but on the freeway typically the vehicle would get caught flatfooted when you need to make a quick little squirt into a hole in traffic and it's in like, you know, top gear and even this much torque doesn't get the job done. That's frustrating that happened more than a few times. Nice isolation of the cabin. Road feel is I'd say more comfortable than it is sporty. Therefore it's not a fatiguing car to drive at all. Visibility is not bad. It was just surprising for a car of this type at this era. Now as I mentioned we don't have Audi Drive Select so there's no adjustability on the suspension, really a nice smooth car to drive. I'm very impressed with this vehicle and how much the diesel behaves unobtrusively. Okay. Let's price our Q5 TDI, $46,500 plus delivery is your base. So here's what I do. I take that $46,500, I add $3500 for the MMI, navigation, camera, HD radio, advanced head unit, that's a good buy overall with the many technologies you get. Google connectivity, good voice command all of that. Another $850 for the Bang & Olufsen upgraded audio system and that's it. I'm not gonna add in the passive blind spot check. Don't really need it as well as the $2,000 for the dual rear-seat entertainment system. Get the kids a couple of iPads. Bottom line, it's gonna take us some time to earn back the diesel premium on this vehicle regardless of what other Q5 you compare it to. However it's fairly manageable especially compared to the gas V6 where you'll earn this back in I think less than 4 years depending on your diesel prices. Combine that with the nice lines of this car, the really excellent cabin tech, and the fact this is a really outstandingly executed diesel and you've got a package you can definitely consider. Unlike some vehicles out there that will take you longer than your lifespan to earn back the green premium.