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In-depth reviews

Audi Q5 - Engines, performance and drive

Excellent cruising refinement, but despite a composed chassis and comfortable suspension, the Q5 isn't the most involving drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£48,115 to £59,165
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The Audi Q5 focuses on being safe, composed and comfortable to drive. The entry-level Sport has ‘dynamic’ suspension, providing the most compliant set-up. The S line trim has firmer ‘sports’, which is fine for most UK roads, provided you stick with the smallest 19-inch wheels. The largest 21-inch wheels available as an option on Black Edition models lead to the ride feeling unsettled at speed and tends to thud over potholes. It can’t match the ride quality of a similarly specified Mercedes GLC.

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The handling of the Q5 is predictable, making this an easy car to drive quickly that is happy to change direction when thrown into corners. What it is not, however, is overly thrilling. That’s because the steering, in particular, is short on feedback; it’s easy enough to trust and accurate enough for you to confidently place the Q5 into a corner. But it doesn’t give you much of a sensation of what the front wheels are doing and how they interact with the road surface below.

The roughest surfaces encountered by the average Q5 are likely to be a particularly dusty corner of a Waitrose car park, but should the driver get desperately lost and end up on a gravel track, then the car should be able to get you through because all models come with quattro four-wheel drive. It’s not exactly a Land Rover Discovery Sport in terms of off-road prowess, but it’s capable enough for most situations.

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As with lots of Audis, the Q5 has a wide variety of driving settings available through its ‘Drive Select’ button. This allows you to select different modes that affect everything from the throttle response and stability control system, to how the gearbox responds and the amount of steering weight. We found ourselves flicking between ‘Comfort’ and ‘Dynamic’ settings, and leaving ‘Efficiency’ alone more often than not. The ‘Efficiency’ setting stymies the throttle response to eke out better fuel economy. It is also possible to mix your favourite settings from key elements of the car and store these under an ‘Individual’ preset to save you having to go back and forth between modes.

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The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is excellent, with rapid, smooth shifts and software that does a decent job of kicking down when necessary. You can always override the system, too, by flicking paddles behind the steering wheel to shift manually – although they’re not as nice to use as the aluminium ones in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The Q5 is quiet on the move, with the plug-in hybrid models delivering a smooth transition from electric power to firing up the combustion engine. Select hybrid mode, and the Q5 will err towards utilising its battery power, although it will cross over to the petrol engine under stronger acceleration.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The 2020 facelift introduced mild-hybrid technology for the standard Q5 petrol and diesel versions, bringing improvements in power, performance and overall efficiency.

The entry-level 45 TFSI 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit now produces 261bhp (up from 247bhp), while the 40 TDI 2.0-litre oil-burner delivers 201bhp (up from 187bhp). That’s a 14bhp increase over the (pre-facelift) diesel model, and it includes a 12-volt mild-hybrid system, which uses a belt-driven starter-generator (BSG) to deliver a little extra power and torque to assist with pulling away. The diesel is our pick of the range, because it's punchy enough, efficient and reasonably refined – managing the 0-62mph sprint in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 137mph.

For those interested in petrol power, the 45 TFSI manages the 0-62mph sprint in 6.1 seconds, and will do 149mph flat out.

Company car users – and private owners looking for plug-in hybrid flexibility – will be best served by the TFSI e models. There’s plenty of performance on tap from the 295bhp 50 TFSI e, with 0-62mph arriving in just 6.1 seconds, and reached a maximum speed of 148mph.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £46,700

Most Economical

  • Name
    40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic [C+S]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £46,820

Fastest

  • Name
    SQ5 TDI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £58,110
Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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