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Audi Q5

Why are Audi owners branded Britain’s most aggressive drivers when, clearly, they’re not?

Yep, like previous champions, BMW drivers, they tailgate other motorists into submission.

But there’s a simple reason for that.

It’s so they can get back to breaking the speed limit as quickly as they can.

Silly me, of course that’s the reason. Then it’s fine. Sorry Audi/BMW folk.

No, the real morons of the roads are Range Rover drivers.

And not just because their massive and anti-social houses on wheels fill up the road, or that other cars shouldn’t be on their road, because they think they own it. There are lots of other reasons.

Here are a few:

Have you ever seen a Range Rover driver let someone out into a traffic jam?

No of course you haven’t. Audi drivers will, though.

Has a Range Rover driver ever even acknowledged your presence, or waved a thank you for letting them out, or waiting for them?

No of course you haven’t. Audi drivers will, though.

Have you ever seen a Range Rover driver who can park his/her palace properly in just the one bay?

No of course you haven’t. Audi drivers can, though.

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There are many other things wrong with Range Rover snobs, but it’s the arrogance with which they push their way around that really disturbs me.

Last week I was driving a sizeable Audi Q5 when a Range Rover shot past me on the inside lane of a roundabout.

That lane is clearly marked for use by people turning left but Mr. I’m In A Bigger Car Than You didn’t believe the law applied to him.

Oh no, that’s for common people, not would-be aristocrats.

I’d like to have rammed the back of his car and dragged him out but, as he probably had a loaded shotgun on the passenger seat, it seemed safer to sit there quietly while he barged through the traffic in the same selfish manner in which Range Rover royalty treat life in general.

The Audi I was driving was a four-wheel-drive Q5 55 TFSI and at £54,910 it isn’t cheap.

But even though you could have got two of them for the price of Captain Arrogance’s Range Rover, at least I wasn’t driving around like an aggressive lunatic, even though I was in a car that’s clearly got a mistaken identity.

The Q5 makes a fantastic long distance machine. I found out that by taking it on a vast weekend 650-mile return trip to Macclesfield, then North Wales, then back to my home in Essex-by-the-sea.

Oh, and as it involved roadwork riddled motorways and crammed town centres I got the opportunity to let lots of people out into traffic jams, making a myth out of Audi’s mistaken image.

First thing I noticed was the rain. Even in normally dry Essex it had started raining and as I went further north it got progressively worse.

By the time I got to Macclesfield it had already rendered the purpose of my visit – to watch mighty Macclesfield FC – completely useless.

The Moss Rose (Macc’s ground) could have been renamed The Swimming Pool and the match was cancelled.

For once, I thought, four-wheel-drive could actually be helpful, as the car was continually threatened with waterfalls that fell from the hill sides, causing huge lakes on the roads.

The journey through North Wales was just as scary, with torrential rain flooding fields and turning rivers into white walls of water.

The extra height of the Q5 – the new one’s got nearly a foot of wheel clearance – makes it ideal for such conditions and the only problem I faced was adjusting its heating to stop blowing cold air over my knees.

It took nearly two days to figure out this one and left me with the impression that Audi dealers should provide school-style classes for new owners.

The Q5 55 TFSI is, like most new Audis, a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), but the Q5 takes that a step further by adding the letter P to make it a PHEV – that’s a plug-in HEV.

Be warned, though, if you don’t keep it charged up, your fuel consumption will fall from around 108 to 33mpg as the battery stops helping its 2.0-litre turbo drive the wheels.

That’s why it’s plugged in as I’m writing this.

With the battery fully charged the new Q5 will cover 26 miles on purely electric power at speeds of up to 86mph, though don’t expect it to last long at that speed.

In towns and cities, though, it will come into its own, where the Q5 will run purely on its electric power with no emissions, explaining its low (for now) combined CO2 figure of 56-60g/km.

It’s also staggeringly fast for a car that weighs 2,225kg.

It hits 0-62mph in an eerily silent 5.3s on its way to a limited top speed of 148mph.

Needless to say it is phenomenally impressive on the inside, where you’ll find quilted, white stitched black leather seats and the dashboard and doors finished off with brushed silver.

There’s such a lack of manual knobs and switches it feels almost spartan at first, but once you’ve attended Audi’s school of learning (or should that be “got used to it”) it all becomes remarkably simple and obvious to use.

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Space wise it’s good but not, for a car of this size, perfect.

There’s no problem with room, the boot is 92cm (3ft) deep and stretches to almost six feet with the rear seats folded down.

Trouble is, a lot of that space is taken up by a big bag full of different charging cables and Audi should have added a blow and kit to the bag because there’s no room underneath thanks to its battery taking up the space.

The means there’s nowhere to put a space saver spare, never mind a full size spare.

That means if you slice open the sides of one of it its standard run flat tyres on one of Britain’s famous pot holes (chasms) you’ll have to call for help.

Don’t expect to get any from a Range Rover driver.

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IMAGE RATING

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition S tronic.

REAR MIRROR MONSTER: Tall and aggressive, it fills up your rear view mirror in a way that few cars can. Bonnet is made to look bigger by fluted sides that make it appear raised while that dreaded four-circle badge will be right up your backside.

BACKSIDE BEAUTY: Despite its size the Q5 PHEV still manages to look pretty, with rear lights that resemble opened blinds, a deep silver strip along the bottom and, of course, no sign of an exhaust pipe, which is tucked away behind the bumper on the left.

PLAYTIME PLEASER: Touchscreen 9-inch MMI with sat nav, three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors with rear and overhead cameras, trip computer, leather seats – heated and electric at the front, keyless start and entry, auto folding heated door mirrors, auto dimming LED headlights, LED rear lights, phone charging tray, electric tailgate, seven speed auto box, 20in 15-spoke alloys, DAB stereo with Bluetooth, twin USB and SIM, SD and aux.

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NAUGHTY NIGGLES: No USB ports in the rear. The kids won’t be happy.

TASTY TOUCHES: Big glove box can be heated or cooled.

FAST OR LAST: Add excellent economy to the usual Audi features of silent, swish and violently fast.

WONGA WONDA: Good value for well-to-do reps who need lots of space and that Audi image.

WOULD CHANTELLE LIKE IT? So complicated Chantelle wouldn’t know where to begin. Nor did I.

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