Audi Q5 review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Audi Q5 is a premium crossover that rivals the BMW X3 and sits below the larger Q7 in the range

For: 
Stylish looks, good to drive, high-quality interior
Against: 
Expensive to buy, firm ride, thirsty petrol engines

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The Audi Q5 sits between the Q3 and Q7 SUVs in the Audi range, and provides sharp competition for the likes of the BMW X3, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC60.

Some may find its shape a little dull, and the Audi Q5 lines do resemble those of a shrunken Q7. But in 2012 a facelift added sleek new LED headlights to the Audi Q5 S line model, as well as an upright single frame grille and gloss black inserts to sharpen the Q5's looks.

Inside, the build quality of the Audi Q5 is great while roomy seats make it very comfortable indeed. There's an optional sliding rear bench that provides an extra bit of space in the boot or legroom should you need it.

The Audi Q5 comes in three main specifications, entry-level SE, S line and S line Plus. Overall, the Audi Q5 engine range is impressive, and the 2.0-litre TDI diesel is definitely the star of the show, offering performance and economy at a reasonable price.

Our choice: Q5 2.0 TDI SE

Styling

4

The Audi Q5 does look a bit like a scaled down version of the Q7. It's characterised by a big grille flanked with glitzy daytime running lights surrounding the headlamp units (these are optional on all but top-spec S line models).

Entry-level Audi Q5 SE models get 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, while S line and S line Plus come with even larger alloy wheels and more aggressive bumpers and arches.

Interior build quality of the Audi Q5 is great, with plenty of high-quality materials and a sleek, stylish design.

It's still not as stylish as the latest Audi A6, but the 2012 facelift did bring in new gloss dash inserts, chrome trim plus tweaks to the steering wheel stalks and instruments.

Driving

3.8

One thing you'll notice with the Audi Q5 is that the ride is a little bit firm, but well-judged damping does ensure that it handles bumps without major problems.

The 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre TDI engines both offer great performance, and the latter benefits from Audi's seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. A new version of the 2.0-litre TDI will arrive next year, replacing the current 175bhp version, and increase power to 187bhp as well as being quieter and more refined.

There's also a clever 2.0-litre TFSI petrol which offers impressive pace but your wallet will definitely feel lighter than if you opted for the 2.0-litre diesel. For serious performance there's a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 which comes in the SQ5 where it develops 349bhp and 470Nm of torque.

The Audi Q5 isn't really suitable for extreme off-road adventures, but it'll be fine for some light off-roading, thanks to features such as hill descent control and traction control for slippery conditions.

If you find the Audi Q5's ride to be a little bit too firm, then you can always opt for the Drive Select system which will allow you to alter the suspension set-up for performance or comfort.

Reliability

4.2

Audi is renowned for excellent build quality and this was reflected in our 2013 customer satisfaction survey, where the brand finished in 10th place overall (climbing 5 places from the previous year's survey).

The Audi Q5 itself received the full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It received a score of 92 per cent for adult occupant protection and 84 per cent for child protection partly thanks to stability control and six airbags fitted as standard.

There's also a selection of three, four, or five-year warranties to give you further peace of mind.

Practicality

3.8

The Audi Q5 offers 540 litres of boot space, which expands to 1,560 litres with the rear seats folded. This is more than you'd get with the Volvo XC60 but just behind the BMW X3. It's a massive shame that the sharp angle of the rear windscreen means loading bulky items can be a bit of a pain.

There is the option of a sliding rear bench, though, which further boosts practicality by moving back and forth 100mm each way. In the front, there's plenty of storage areas and cubby holes, and for a bit more cash you can even opt for a cup holder that chills cold drinks and heats up hot ones.

Running Costs

4

We'd definitely opt for a 2.0-litre TDI diesel model as they're powerful enough and the cheapest Audi Q5s to buy and run. The entry level 148bhp version returns 47.9mpg in fuel economy and emits 154g/km of CO2. The new 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine due the middle of next year, is set to be even more appealing. It has more power, but lower CO2 at 149g/km and fuel economy of 49mpg. The 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine, meanwhile, manages 44.1mpg and emits 169g/km of CO2.

On the other hand, the most expensive model to run will be the petrol SQ5 as this can only manage 33.2mpg and emits a massive 199g/km of CO2.

In terms of other costs, Audi offers a range of fixed-price servicing deals, which should help to keep bills to a minimum. Residual values should be relatively strong as the Audi Q5 is some what of a rarity on roads.

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Honestly, I'm amazed that this car gets such high marks. I've used one on and off for over 18 months and am now in the market for one. If you compare it to many other cars in this sector it simply doesn't stack up. Firstly, its just not that big, the interior is class leading quality wise, but there simply isn't enough of it. An Audi salesman once described one to me as a jacked up A4, and it is exactly that. Secondly, its poorly equipped compared to the competition, in basic form its expensive and has only basic features, even the S-line is low spec compared to direct competitors. Thirdly, the ride and handling are awful, clattery, over firm suspension even on the smaller alloys, handling is OK but some stretch away from the engagement with the X3 and CX-5. Finally, the seats!!! Like all Audi's (I've ever sat in) the seats are far too firm, long journeys result in hip ache or lower back pain... For me this car is 3 stars at best, the competition has easily caught up and overtaken this car, no wonder with Audi's ever extending massive range of cars... badge and style are no longer enough for me... my conclusion, could do better!

Beauty and car choice are very much a personal thing. I have owned a Q5 for 2 and half years now and have recently been looking for a potential replacement. Disappointingly I haven't found another SUV that I enjoy sitting in or driving as much as my 2.0 TDI Q5. The combination of the little 2 Turbo diesel and 7 speed gearbox means that it is respectably fast but very economical. Accelerating firmly is fun, the rev counter needle just moves up to 1500rpm and the gearbox does all the work taking you up to speeds that are fast enough for most situations.
It isn't perfect, the ride is a bit firmer than most, the load area at the back could have been a bit larger and at the price it doesn't come with a lot of "toys"
But sitting in the car and looking at the quality of the finish and the design, I can honestly say the X3 and CX-5 (even though the Mazda is very much cheaper) do not even come close .... my conclusion, my next car will be another Q5!

This could arguably be the sweet spot of the Audi SUV line-up, if the price was not so unreasonably high considering the equipment on offer - or rather the lack of it.

Get your facts right - the SQ5 isn't a supercharged V6 (not in the UK) - it's a V6 Bi-turbo diesel - really AE - did you right this or lift it from somewhere else?

It's so boring....I went and looked at one but its like every other Audi - one style for every model [R8 excepted], terrible ride quality and over priced for what you get in terms of performance and driving competence.. X3 and Evoque are so much better as cars and if you want value the new Qashqai

Last updated: 18 Jul, 2014
AEX 1,339
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