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New Audi is a luxury SUV for the price of an executive saloon

The Audi Q5

SO WHAT would have happened if the bust didn't take place?

How would we live today if the credit kept on rolling in and we kept spending cash that wasn't really ours, or wasn't real money in the first place?

Up to the point of the crunch, our deranged sense of worth meant that given a friendly bank manager we could have anything that we wanted.

We had a house, so we bought another one on the strength of the first one's unpaid mortgage, then we bought a holiday home on the collateral of nothing, then we bought another one, and so it would have gone on.

When we weren't buying up soon-to-be distressed assets we were going on holidays to places like Dubai, the kind of place once you arrive, you realise you've actually got too much money and not enough imagination.




If the bust hadn't happened we'd have built our very own Dubai, probably on the Curragh, minus the Arabs, the desert and hotels with dolphins in the swimming pool.

In between holidaying, lunching and increasing our property portfolios we were most obsessed about cars, and SUVs.

And builders and bankers would drive around in double decker sized-SUVs, cars so big that you'd need a cherry picker to raise you into the cabin.

What happened to this nation and her people during the boom was the epitome of bad taste as we became obsessed in dipping our snouts in the trough of faux prosperity.

And as our pseudo wealth increased so too did our recklessness. Everything got bigger and bolder, best symbolised by our turning of the humble 4x4 into a gargantuan mobile office block on very large wheels.

By the end Range Rover had created the humongous Vogue, BMW had brought out the X5 and Toyota Land Cruisers the size of freight trains were whizzing from the boardroom to building site and onto the school run.

The tree cuddlers were up in arms against the oligarchs of the open road and even the Government started over taxing cars that were generating massive amounts of money in VRT in the first place.

But now, things have calmed down a little, and our ambitions have become more modest, the ambition of most people these days being able to afford to pay off the car that they have.

For those who are in the happy place of looking to buy a comfortably large SUV without going down the super-size route there is the Audi Q5.

The Q5 is the perfect sized car for anyone who doesn't have more than three kids and one wife. It is surprisingly big for a medium sized 4x4, and it is quite the mover thanks to a nifty 2.0 TDI engine.

There are seven gears, S-Tronic of course and there is an impressive 177bhps as well as the obvious Quattro four wheel drive. There is the Audi Bluetooth and music Interface systems, chrome roof rails and, oak panelling, and Park System Plus. This is luxury motoring for the times we live in, and for the future when the pretend money will soon start spluttering out of the big cash machine that we all hope returns, but in a more reasonable format. But all of the toys, all of the spanking good looks and every other bits of the Vorsprung yada yada is completely left in the shade by the driving experience. It is smooth, energetic, sophisticated, handles fantastically and makes you feel as if you really are behind the wheel of something very special indeed. Prices for the Audi Q5 start at €40,960.