Vorsprung durch Technik, connectivity and aeroacoustics
THE press release for Audi's new Q5 tells you much about the motor industry's priorities these days, says William Scholes.
The new car brings with it "an intense focus on connectivity, driver assistance, aeroacoustics and driving dynamics", says the company. This writer, for one, is a little saddened by the fact that 'driving dynamics' is last in the list. And what are aeroacoustics anyway?
Top of the heap is 'connectivity'. This used to mean there was a cigarette lighter socket which could double as somewhere to charge a phone but in 2016, it covers gadgetry like Bluetooth, smartphone mirroring, wireless charging and satnav systems so complicated they need their own maps just to navigate the menus.
In the case of the new Q5, the car will learn your regular routes and destinations and work out quicker ways to get you there and guide you where best to park. It will also talk to the calendar on your smartphone so the car too knows where you need to be, and when. A wifi hotspot, handwriting recognition and voice control are among other features...
So-called 'swarm intelligence' also figures in the Q5's armoury, gathering information from other cars and sources to alert drivers to weather and traffic conditions.
Much of this tech overlaps with modern safety systems - the Q5 can be had with something like 30 devices such as blind spot warning, lane assist and automatic parking to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Audi has also played it safe with the new car's design.
Having recently updated the designs of the A4, A5 and Q7, it's no surprise that the Q5 is also given the Audi-du-jour treatment. It's a handsome if predictable piece of work, wearing sharp creases where the original 2008 car was soft-edged.
The Q5 has been a great success for Audi, with 1.6 million sold in eight years, making it the world's favourite posh SUV.
Over that time, the market has become increasingly fragmented and competitive, but there is nothing to suggest that the Audi won't remain at the top of the class.
When it goes on sale in Northern Ireland in spring 2017, it will be available with three engines: 2.0-litre diesel with 187bhp and 295lb/ft, 2.0-litre petrol with 249bhp and 273lb/ft and 3.0-litre diesel with 281bhp and 443lb/ft. Plug-in hybrid and high-performance SQ5 versions will arrive later.
Prices should start around the £35,000 mark.