Audi Q5 review
The Audi Q5 is refined and comfortable, but other SUV rivals offer a bit more involvement and agility
Despite only being in its second generation, the Audi Q5 has firmly established itself as one of the most popular premium SUVs on the market – it's a very solid rival for the likes of the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.
Sharing chassis parts with the larger Audi Q7, as well as the Audi A4, the Q5 is a known entity. It offers a comfortable, refined driving experience, but doesn’t quite match the X3 or Jaguar F-Pace for driver involvement. It compensates for this with a supremely well finished cabin, though, and bags of safety technology and hi-tech equipment, including some of the best infotainment packages available on any car.
About the Audi Q5
The Audi Q5 is one of the most popular premium SUVs for sale today, and should be on your shortlist if you're looking to buy or lease a classy family 4x4. The second-generation Q5 arrived in 2016, with a facelifted model in 2020 bringing further styling and tech tweaks. Sitting alongside the conventional Q5 is the coupe-SUV styled Sportback model, both of which are available in Sport, S line and Black Edition trim levels.
With prices starting from over £47,000, the Audi Q5 is right in the mix of the premium SUV class. Its main rivals are the BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60 and Mercedes GLC, while other cars worth considering include the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Where the Audi Q5 impresses is with its interior quality. Like all Audis, there's a solidity and premium feel that puts it above its main rivals. And with all cars getting sat-nav, LED interior lighting, leather seats (heated up front), three-zone climate control, Audi's MMI infotainment system and Virtual Cockpit Plus digital driver’s display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an electronically opening boot, you're not short of kit. However, higher-spec cars add even more equipment, and there's still an extensive options list that can bump up prices further.
The regular Q5 (both the SUV and Sportback) is offered with either a 2.0-litre petrol engine, badged 45 TFSI quattro, or a 2.0-litre diesel unit labelled 40 TDI quattro. Those with deeper pockets can opt for the plug-in hybrid Q5 TFSI e which offers a pure-electric driving range of up to 38 miles. The 50 TFSI e is now the only plug-in powertrain offered in the Q5, after the more powerful 55 TFSI e was removed from the price list. All cars utilise a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox.
Car group tests
- Audi Q5 vs Volvo XC60 vs Hyundai Santa Fe: 2021 group test review
- Audi Q5 TFSI e vs Volvo XC60 T8
- Audi Q5 vs Jaguar F-Pace
- Volvo XC60 vs Audi Q5 vs Mercedes GLC
Used car tests
The performance-orientated SQ5 uses a 3.0-litre diesel engine to produce 336bhp, with an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The SQ5 is also available in SUV and Sportback form, in either Black Edition or range-topping Vorsprung trim levels.
In 2017, Audi launched a petrol-powered SQ5 with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 to sit alongside the diesel, however it was removed from the brand’s range in 2019 due to emissions regulations.
Overall, the Audi Q5 feels like a premium product, but despite the tweaks to this facelifted second-generation car, it doesn't really stand out in any particular area to put it at the front of the hugely competitive premium SUV pack. Since its launch, both the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and BMW X3 have received a facelift and there’s also an all-new Mercedes GLC to contend with.
Used and nearly new
The first-generation Audi Q5 made its debut in 2008 and was the first mid-size SUV from the German brand, following in the wake of the larger, seven-seat Q7. Using the same underpinnings that would eventually be the basis for the Porsche Macan, the Q5 was car-like to drive with impressive refinement, comfort and practicality.
The original lasted nearly a decade in production, with only a minor facelift 2012. It was finally replaced by the Mk2 in 2016, which was slightly bigger but essentially followed the same winning formula.
Audi Q5 history
Audi Q5 Mk2: 2016 to present
The latest Q5 is larger and more luxurious than its predecessor, but it retains the original’s family-friendly approach and standard fit four-wheel drive. There’s an even wider range of engines on over, including a petrol-powered SQ5 and even a plug-in hybrid. It can’t quite match the class leaders for entertaining driving dynamics, but it’s more comfortable than before and boasts enhanced refinement.
Audi Q5 Mk1: 2008 to 2016
The original Q5 proved an instant hit for Audi by distilling all the desirability of its larger Q7 model into a smaller and more affordable package. Quattro four-wheel drive was standard across the range, while the interior mixed top-notch quality and plenty of practicality. There are a wide range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, as well as a high-performance SQ5. This featured 3.0-litre V6 TDI and was the first Audi S model to feature a diesel engine. You can read our full Audi Q5 used buyer’s guide here.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Audi Q5 is refined and comfortable, but other SUV rivals offer a bit more involvement and agility
- 2Engines, performance and driveExcellent cruising refinement, but despite a composed chassis and comfortable suspension, the Q5 isn't the most involving drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsLighter construction, 'on-demand' quattro four-wheel drive and revised engines should deliver good efficiency
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe facelifted Q5 cabin remains smart, functional and beautifully finished, with improved levels of standard equipment
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceComfort and visibility are first-rate, although the Q5's boot space is only average for the premium SUV class
- 6Reliability and SafetyAudi has equipped the Q5 with plenty of safety kit, while a strong Euro NCAP rating provides peace of mind
- 7Long term reviewFinal report: plug-in hybrid Audi Q5 rocked our man’s world for five months