Audi stick to tried and trusted formula with new Q5
First Irish drive: Audi Q5; Audi Q2 1-litre petrol
I feel I could have written some of this First Drive report for you on the new Audi Q5 in advance of driving it in Dublin last week.
That is criticism and praise in unequal measure. The reason I could have done so is that they have stuck to what made the previous generation Q5 compact prestige SUV/crossover such an outstanding success.
It hasn't changed much in looks at all, and the interior, while using better materials and promoting more interactivity/connectivity, largely follows the principle of being strong, sturdy and chunky in a typical modern Audi sort of way.
Which is exactly how it felt to drive too.
I get it. I do, honestly. Why fix something if it ain't broken?
I can say this without fear of contradiction: If you're happy with the old one, you're going to be happy with the new one.
So everyone's happy all round? Well, I'd like to have seen a bit more invention, a few more lines to differentiate it from its predecessor, but then Audi would counter and say there's a lot of invention.
And they are correct - even if it is where you can't see it, under the skin.
One hidden advance is the introduction of a variation on the marque's famous quattro permanent four-wheel-drive set-up.
Now you can get 'quattro on demand' - a system that gives all the power to the front wheels under ideal driving conditions and only includes the rear when extra traction is required.
The upshot? From a handling and driving point of view, I couldn't detect any but they say it will reduce fuel consumption. I can see how that would be the case as you only have two wheels 'working' a lot of the time.
The 'on-demand' makes sense for less powerful models, especially in suburban environments. It is important to note, however, that the higher-powered 6cyl diesels in the Q5 will have permanent quattro.
And there will be a 150bhp with just front-wheel (2WD) in July, from €47,500.
Incidentally, across the new Q5 range they are claiming a 22pc improvement on fuel consumption.
Just to refresh/update you on prices and specs: Prices start from €48,350 for the 2.0 TDI 150bhp SE. There is also the 2.0 TDI 190bhp S tronic quattro, from €54,850, likely to be the most popular of the four diesel versions. That engine packed real punch, I must say.
The new car is longer (at 4.66m), 1.89m wide and 1.66m tall with a 2.82m wheelbase.
Critically, it has shed as much as 90kg in weight because of increased use of steel and aluminium.
Audi claim there's a lot more standard spec on the new arrival too. There are two trim lines: SE and S Line. Equipment levels include xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights, Audi MMI Navigation with 7ins display, Drive Select system, leather, and parking sensors front/rear.
The LED interior lighting pack is now standard, as is their smartphone interface, Audi Connect (3-month free trial), and automatic boot lid.
S Line trim includes LED headlights, sport seats, 19ins alloys, leather/alcantara upholstery, etc.
The famous virtual cockpit is an option as part of some interesting 'packs' they have. Apparently these have become quite popular and let people get a clutch of items for a specific price.
So my first brief acquaintance with the Q5 was more or less what I expected.
In an uncertain world, that is something many people value.
In this case it's the same again - only better.
* Audi Q2 1-litre 3cyl petrol
It is most certainly not the same again with Audi's baby SUV, the Q2.
I've reported on my drives abroad in it before, so my big interest in Dublin last week was focused on the 1.0 TFSI 3cyl petrol (115bhp).
This was a lovely surprise and a reflection, as I mention with the Honda Civic's 1-litre (See Page 2) of how manufacturers are shifting smaller cars towards petrol with diesel coming under a bit of pressure.
The first word both I and my driving colleague used about this was, "sweet". And that is exactly what it is: a sweet little petrol engine that's perfectly at home in the Q2.
There is a 6spd manual version (5.4l - 5.1 l/100km) at €30,950 for SE trim and €34,250 for S Line.
And there is the 7spd S-Tronic (5.4l - 5.1 l/100km) costing €33,350 and €36,650 respectively.
You couldn't but be impressed with it; there was a liveliness in response as well as easy pulling power.
Indeed, the more we drove the Q2, the more we questioned how you could drive anything other than petrol in a car like this in suburban areas.
This little beauty - we know it from the Skoda Octavia and it's in the revised Golf too - augurs well for the Q2 and for petrol usage generally.