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German Engineering isn't all its cracked up to be

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Old 11-18-2017, 02:23 PM
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Default German Engineering isn't all its cracked up to be

Now that I have your attention ... Here are a few of my observations of dumb design ideas after owning my first "luxury" car for a month, the 2017 Audi Q5 Premium Plus with Technology Package and S-Line package (bought used with 8600 miles on it). I'm coming from years of owning GM/Chrysler vehicles, and we still own a 2014 Chrysler Town & Country and 2011 Kia Sportage. This Q5 drives like a dream -- has more than enough power, is a very quiet, comfortable ride, and I'm loving every minute of it. I imagine I'll own this car for many, many years to come. That said, there are quite a few things that are just downright dumb about the Audi Q5. (If there is a workaround to any of these, please share in a reply.)

1) Rear hatch -- can't manually open it even if the car is unlocked. Well, it will open if the key is in my pocket, but often the car is unlocked and someone without the key wants to open the rear hatch! Several people have about pulled their arms off attempting this (myself included).

2) Rear hatch -- can't close the thing EXCEPT for the button on the tailgate door (driver's door button and remote will not close it!) Seems rather stiff to close manually -- I must admit I haven't even tried a manual closure yet. Hope the hatch button never goes out!

3) No "headlights on" indicator display on the dashboard. Seriously? I've had this on every make of vehicle for as long as I can remember. This is important because state law requires headlights are on when wipers are on. Kinda makes the "auto" headlight setting pointless if I have to manually make sure to turn on my headlights every time it is raining or its getting a little darker out and I want the lights on -- I can never know for sure in auto mode.

4) I set one of the three home buttons (or whatever they are called) to open my garage door. IT ONLY WORKS WHILE THE CAR IS RUNNING. So if pull in my garage and park, shut off the car, then try to close the garage door from inside the car (which used to be my normal procedure), I can't close the garage door. Now I have to park in the garage, THEN close the overhead door, THEN shut off the car, which is kinda stupid cuz now I'll trap more auto exhaust. Not to mention if I want to open the door from inside the car when I go to leave, which I like to do in cold weather (I have dogs that stay in the garage, so want to keep as much heat in as possible), I have to start the car FIRST then can open the overhead door, making sure to get as much toxic fumes in my garage as possible. Thx, Audi! My wife's Town & Country has these home buttons, garage door works just fine even if the car is off.

5) Some of the accessories do not work if the car is not running. Radio/MMI works for a while (5-10 min?), or until driver's door is opened. But the power sockets shut off immediately, so if I'm charging my phone, that stops when the car stops, even if I stay in the vehicle for a while. Again, reference my wife's T&C. Those will operate until the driver's door is opened. Can't recall right now if power windows work or not with car off, but I think they don't. All other manufactures they do until the driver's door is opened.

6) Dual Climate Control. If the passenger adjusts their side, then it automatically takes it off of singular control (which it should), but the only way to reactivate singular control (left side controlling entire car temperature again) is to navigate through the MMI and reactivate it. All other vehicles I've driven with this feature have a "dual" button where it can return to singular control with the simple push of a button. Audi has two "Auto" buttons on their climate control system, one by each temperate dial, about what, 4 inches apart. Why put two "Auto" buttons? It's redundant. Dumb design. Put a "dual" button in place of the passenger's "Auto" button and make life simpler!

7) No engine oil dipstick. Really? I've read on this forum you can buy one, even though Audi will tell you they don't have them, but on a $50,000 automobile I shouldn't have to.

8) Audi expects toddlers to drive? The overhead sunglasses holder will only hold child's sized sunglasses. My sunglasses fit in both my Kia and T&C overhead holder, but they don't fit in the Audi.

9) Cruise control is on a little stick right next to the turn signal stick. I've already flashed my brights 3x at oncoming traffic at night while attempting to activate the cruise control. I know this may just be something to get used to, but all the cars I've driven have cruise control on the steering wheel face, not on a little stick. Did I mention this stick is right next to the turn signal/brights stick? Even though I'm aware of this and been working with it for a month, I still flashed my brights by accident just last week.

10) Has a winter package with heated seats, but no heated steering wheel? My wife's T&C has a similar package, but has a heated wheel, which is VERY nice when you are driving without gloves in the winter. So the soccer mom car bests Audi once again.

There are a couple other things I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting at the moment, as I thought I had a mental list of about a dozen annoyances. I would expect a couple minor annoyances changing car brands, but certainly not this many moving up to a "luxury" car. Again, this Q5 is lotsa fun to drive. Quality is definitely a step up from the 2011 Kia I was driving (and now gave to my daughter). But there are so many little things that make you wonder what they were thinking (or why they were not thinking).

Last edited by yeamac; 11-18-2017 at 03:33 PM. Reason: spelling error that changed the meaning of the word!
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:09 PM
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Here are some responses. Several of your annoyances seem to stem from you not having read the owner's manual I suppose.

1) There is a setting in the MMI under vehicle settings and central locking to disable the unlocking of the trunk. The previous owner must have set it that way. If that setting is on, then you can't manually open the trunk unless you have the key in your pocket. That's an optional safety setting, so nobody can open your trunk if you are pulled over and unlock the car to let passengers in and out.

2) It's stiff because of the automatic closing feature. You can still manually close it, but it requires more effort because you have to turn the motor and gears along with it.

3) The symbols around the light switch light up if the headlights are on. Just leave it in Auto. The headlights will automatically turn on if the rain sensor senses rain or you turn on the wipers. No need to even bother with it. The lights are on when they are supposed to be. There is also setting in the MMI where you can delay them if you like. I believe there are three settings. Early, medium and late or something like that, so that controls how dark it needs to be before the lights turn on.

4) That's for security reason, so nobody can open your garage door by breaking into your car sitting outside the garage. You do realize that with the portable remotes etc. Somebody can brake into your car, steal the remote and then open your garage.

5) Pretty common for German vehicles. It's a way to avoid draining the battery if you left something plugged in.

6) Press and hold the driver side temperature **** for a couple of seconds and that syncs the left and right side again. (All explained in the owner's manual btw)

7) Controversial topic. I really don't see the need anymore. You can check the oil level in the MMI under car diagnostics. Much easier than opening the hood and getting your hands dirty

8) Get smaller sun glasses :-). I think it's the same size as in my RS5 and my Ray Ban fit just fine.

9) You'll get used to it. Never had an issue. The stalk is smaller and below the turn signal stalk. All my cars had a stalk, so this is just a matter of what you are used to.

10) Yeah, heated steering wheel used to be reserverd for the A6 and above. I believe the current generation finally moved that option downstream

Last edited by superswiss; 11-18-2017 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:26 PM
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Great answers Superswss! Pretty much match mine but kept getting bumped out of my reply box.

Just recently rented a new Toyota Camry on a business trip and the cruse control functionality sucked. The lever was on the right, got used to that pretty quick.
No entries for speed change register if your foot is on the gas, it just ignores you. We can change the set point up or down while our foot is on the gas. If the speed limit changes you can multi-task.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:32 PM
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superswiss, thanks for the solutions to #s 1, 3, & 6. Greatly appreciated! I've read bits and pieces of the manual but haven't had time to read the whole thing. Hopefully over the holidays will get to more of it.

I'd make a list of what I like about the car, but don't have time for that now, as it'd be super long!
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:44 PM
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Sure made plenty of time for the neg's.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:49 PM
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As I prepare to leave from where my car is parked outside, in the cold:

11) no remote start!

I'm sure its to "save gas," as the manual says something about not letting your car warm up in the winter but just start it and drive, but there are times you have a layer of ice/snow on the window and a warm car will help you remove it AND drive more safely.
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by shokhead View Post
Sure made plenty of time for the neg's.
subtleties are lost on some ppl -- inference was that I like waaaay more than I dislike about the Q5
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:05 PM
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Don't like the title of this thread. You purchase the last year of a nine-year vehicle life-cycle and are finding fault with the functionality that was designed probably in 2006. I am amazed how well the Q5 has held up against the competition over those years, and now. It is a great vehicle.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:10 PM
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"7) Controversial topic. I really don't see the need anymore. You can check the oil level in the MMI under car diagnostics. Much easier than opening the hood and getting your hands dirty"

I agree with yeamac on this one. For example, when I shut off the engine to add oil, I want to see the oil level. Without a dipstick, I have to start up the car and get into to the MMI to look for the oil level. For the 2014 A6, the MMI would not provide the oil level update for a very long time.
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Old 11-18-2017, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Albertc View Post
"7) Controversial topic. I really don't see the need anymore. You can check the oil level in the MMI under car diagnostics. Much easier than opening the hood and getting your hands dirty"

I agree with yeamac on this one. For example, when I shut off the engine to add oil, I want to see the oil level. Without a dipstick, I have to start up the car and get into to the MMI to look for the oil level. For the 2014 A6, the MMI would not provide the oil level update for a very long time.
Turn on the ignition, bring up the oil level in the MMI, check how low it is (the bar represents about 1 qt), then start topping off your oil slowly, bit by bit, walk around to the door and watch the oil level go up on the MMI until it reaches the top. Let the oil collect in the pan, so just like with a dipstick, give it some time for the oil to settle and the level go up on the MMI. Really doesn't need a dipstick. I've topped off my oil on the go no problem. Pulled up to the next Autozone, bought a quart of oil and topped it off using the above method. It's only after you close the hood, that the oil level won't be available for a while.
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