Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S line

21 Nov, 2012 10:30am Damion Smy

Minor tweaks help to keep the Audi Q5 fresh, with an impressive new engine and automatic 'box

Verdict

4
The Q5 2.0 TFSI is fast, comfortable and well made. It’s also easy to live with, stylish and good to drive. The ride is now more comfortable and the steering sharper than before, while the new auto is super-smooth. It also makes the Q5 cheaper to run, but in 2.0 TFSI form it’s expensive compared with its rivals.

The facelifted Q5 has arrived in the UK, with a number of subtle changes that Audi hopes will keep it selling well against rivals like the swish Range Rover Evoque and sporty BMW X3.

But it might be difficult to spot exactly what’s new about the Q5, because the changes are limited to squarer headlights, a new lower bumper and a more sculpted bonnet.

You’ll be able to spot an S line model a bit more easily, though, as the striking xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights now come fitted as standard. The S line includes wraparound LED tail-lamps, too, but the only other change to all Q5 models is a slightly tweaked rear diffuser.

While the 2.0 TDI will take up the lion’s share of Q5 sales, the new 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder tested here isn’t without merit.

It has 222bhp, compared with the previous Q5’s 208bhp, but more important is the 50Nm of extra torque, which brings the total to 350Nm and makes the engine more flexible.

The power boost has also knocked a tenth off the 0-62mph time, cutting it to 7.1 seconds. A new eight-speed automatic box helps improve fuel economy – at 35.8mpg, it’s 3mpg better than its direct predecessor. CO2 emissions have also dropped from 199g/km to 184g/km.

In the cabin, the changes include more gloss black and chrome details, a few redesigned switches and tweaks to the steering column stalks. The build quality is great, while the high driving position provides good visibility and the supportive sports seats hold you in place.

The new 2.0-litre turbo is superbly smooth and refined: it’s quiet at idle and sounds great when you’re accelerating, but it’s never intrusive. This refined engine is complemented by impressively low levels of wind and road noise, all of which means the Q5 is a superb long-distance cruiser.

The new eight-speed gearbox isn’t especially responsive in full auto mode, and it takes a bit too long to respond when you accelerate. But if you change gears using the paddles mounted on the steering wheel, the shifts become near-instantaneous.

The new electro-mechanical power-steering is light and easy, and the revised suspension delivers a comfortable ride without compromising the way the Q5 goes around corners.

Then there’s the benefit of 1,560 litres of luggage space and the extra ground clearance that makes loading the car easier.

The TFSI isn’t cheap, though, and as the diesel-powered Q5s are so refined, powerful and efficient, it’s no surprise that this petrol model will account for a small number of UK sales.

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Ride quality determinately needed sorting. Hope it's as good as A7 with air suspension.

Key specs

  • Price: £35,015
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
  • Power: 222bhp
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 7.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 138mph
  • Economy: 35.8mpg
  • CO2: 184g/km
  • Equipment: Xenon headlamps, Bluetooth, leather seats
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1,341
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