A Driving Pleasure - Meet Mrs Marty

A Driving Pleasure

I’ve driven an Audi Q5 for two years and I love my car. So when the team at Audi Middle East asked me to join them for a 2 day press trip for the launch of the new Q5 and SQ5, I jumped at the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new generation.

The Trip

Working in PR and with brands for so long makes any campaign or brand related experience extra interesting when I’m on the guest side. The trip was set in Salalah, Oman, where the roads, weather and scenery made for the perfect backdrop for the test drive route. On receiving the invitation, I highlighted to the team that in order for me to attend, I’d need to have Noah and Andrew in tow – the little man is still 100% breastfed, and at 10 weeks he was too little to leave behind. Without hesitation, he was accommodated for, and any family related request taken care from the time we reached the hotel.

We were accommodated at the Rotana Hotel, a simple yet comfortable property on the coast of Salalah. We had to skip the welcome dinner to settle Noah in, but I joined the team at the morning briefing that preceded the drive, and was genuinely impressed by the presentation on the improvements made to a vehicle I had already grown to love.

I’d thought long and hard about the trip before going – firstly about whether it was a good idea to sandwich it into the 2 days we had available between trips to South Africa and Australia, but also about whether my readers would appreciate a motor related piece. But, then I thought back to when I found out that I was expecting Noah and asking myself the question about whether the car I drive was comfortable, suitable and most importantly safe for family travel – something I’m sure every expectant parent does. I believe the Q5 to be 100% that, and with a fresh model on the market I thought it was something certainly worth sharing. We’ve become a bit of an Audi family, even hiring Audi’s when we travel (Avis has a great selection) and out of all the models I’ve found the premium SUV’s are by the far the most enjoyable member of the fleet.

After the briefing on the car, the safety considerations for the day and the route, we headed off in pairs for the drive each getting a good amount of time behind the wheel. We drove along highways, off-road on to rocky beach hills, and up mountain passes, giving us a good feel for the versatility, power and handling of the vehicle. To change things up I drove the new SQ5 – a comfortable and luxurious drive.

The midway stop for the day was a beautifully catered BBQ picnic, set against the lush greenery of Oman’s hills. It was the tail end of the Summer ‘greens’ and the route took us from the common regional sights of arid brown hills, into rolling hills of bright vegetation, fauna and flora. Lunch was relaxed and low key, with good conversations and the chance to meet some of the new faces in the group which consisted of journalists, influencers and car enthusiasts.

I skipped out on the last two hours of the drive to head back and feed Noah before he stepped up and put his cuteness to work in the baby seat, in one of the new Q5’s. On my drive home I learnt that if you wanted to, you could get a age appropriate Audi babyseat to go with your car.

My overall impression of the trip was that it was a well co-ordinated experience by a team confident in their brand. The vehicles speak for themselves and putting us behind the wheel allowed us to listen.

I’m a girl’s girl, and while I’m happy to hitch a tent and get my hands dirty in the mud at times, the technical side of cars isn’t my thing. But, it is all worth considering when buying a new vehicle so if you need to know what exactly it was that impressed me that much about the all new Q5 and SQ5 cars, read below and find out.

At a glance: The new Audi Q5 and SQ5

Exterior design and body

– Q5: Length 4,663 mm, width 1,893 mm, height 1,659 mm
– SQ5: Length 4,671 mm, width 1,893 mm, height 1,635 mm

– Singleframe grille with strong frame, large air intakes, optional LED (rear dynamic rear lights) and Matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn lights (front & rear)

– New equipment lines concept with clear differentiating features on the exterior

– Lightweight design with high-end steels and aluminium, lightest body in its class

Interior and luggage compartment

– Elegant, horizontally oriented design, large trim strips, new colours and materials, new lines, numerous personalization options

– Generous space, standard rear seat back has three-way split, optional horizontal and seat back angle adjustment for rear bench

– Luggage compartment has 550/610 to 1,550 litres of volume, variably folding mat is standard

– Standard power tailgate with sensor control

 

 

Controls and displays

– Audi virtual cockpit with high-resolution 12.3-inch display for the SQ5, optional for the Q5

– Newly conceptualized MMI control, in the top version with touchpad (MMI touch or MMI all-in-touch), free-text search and natural language voice control, can also be operated from steering wheel

– Optional head-up display for quickly acquiring key information

– Optional pneumatic massage function for seats

– Automatic air conditioning with new user interface and high-efficiency technology

Infotainment

– Modular infotainment platform, second generation (MIB2)

– Optional MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and 8.3-inch MMI monitor

– Audi navigation with personal route assistance

– Audi phone box with inductive charging is optional

– Audi tablet as a mobile Rear Seat Entertainment system

– Audi smartphone interface

– High-end option: Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound

Driver assistance systems

– Hill descent assist and Audi side assist

– New: park assist, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning, turn assist, collision avoidance assist

– New safety systems: Audi pre sense city, basic, front and rear

Engines

–  Q5: 2.0 TFSI with 252 hp and 370 Nm

– SQ5: 3.0 TFSI with 354 hp and constant 500 Nm

Drivetrain

– Automatic transmissions with freewheel function and shift-by-wire control

– quattro drivetrain with new, efficient ultra technology for the four-cylinder engine, further advanced wheel-selective torque control

Suspension

– New lightweight five-link suspensions, front and rear, delivering significant progress in sportiness and comfort, lower centre of gravity

– Newly developed electromechanical power steering, optionally with dynamic steering

– Audi drive select dynamic handling system, new off road and all road modes

– adaptive air suspension with damper control for all quattro variants

– Optional wheels from 17 to 21 inches in diameter

 

 

Doing the first press trip with Noah made me a little nervous, but the little man traveled like a dream and was so well behaved when he spent the day working with his daddy at the hotel. Huge thanks to the Audi Middle East who were patient, and ever so accommodating along the way.

Safe travels xxx

Zah

 

 

Video edit: Andrew Marty {@the_travel_hub}


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