Unlike any other Sports Utility Vehicle, the Q5 really bucks the trend. This beautifully crafted vehicle boasts amazing streamlining, a light and spacious cabin and specifications to blow your mind.
The goodLooks, build quality, performance and versatility
The badOwners are too scared to get it dirty
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro 190PS S line S tronic
There’s no denying the fact Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs as they are more commonly referred to are all the rage and in very high demand, but few premium models can compete with the exceptional Audi Q5.
The stylish model from the German marque faces stiff opposition from the likes of Land Rover, Mercedes, BMW and even Jaguar these days following the launch of the F-PACE, but the latest generation Q5 is still proving the one to catch.
Admittedly, the new Q5 looks fairly similar to the outgoing model, but the engineers, technicians and designers have been ultra-busy working on some important improvements inside the cabin along with other developments that are not quite so easy to spot.
For example, the new Q5 is about 90kg lighter than its predecessor which debuted back in 2008 and that pound-shedding is due to the introduction of additional aluminium and a weight-saving body shell. In addition, the suspension has been revised to improve the vehicle’s all-round ride and handling.
When competing in such a fiercely competitive segment, making a good first impression is crucial and the Q5 does just that with its bold, athletic and muscular stance that helps it stand out in any crowd. Factor in the 19-inch alloys, sweeping headlights with LED daytime running lights, privacy glass, smart chrome trim and huge grille housing the Audi rings and the Q5 is quite a stunner.
Move inside the premium-styled cabin and the car is instantly recognisable as an Audi thanks to the fabulous virtual cockpit instrument display that can be personalised to show different read-outs such as navigation directions, maps, music and phone contacts etc. There is a vast number of techno treats to explore, including the likes of a touch sensitive pad where instructions can be scribbled by hand rather than selected from a menu. And being an Audi, the list of optional extras is seemingly endless allowing customers to build and dress their car any way they choose.
The test car also featured a Technology Pack (a £1,100 option) that introduced Google Maps with Streetview, Navigation Plus, wireless phone charging, on-board Wi-Fi, an 8.3-inch colour screen and plenty more besides.
It was powered by a 190PS 2.0-litre diesel engine mated to a newly improved S-tronic dual clutch 7-speed gearbox and it was priced at £39,405 (£45,210 with options fitted). It could reach from 0 to 62mph in 7.9 seconds and maxed out at 135mph. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 55.5mpg with carbon emissions of 133g/km.
The cabin is light, bright and spacious with ample room for a trio of passengers to travel in comfort in the back seats with the latest model offering extra legroom. Up front the driver is treated to an elevated seating position and the all-round visibility is excellent. All dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for driver usability and despite a wealth of on-board technology, all the systems, set-ups and features are designed to be easy to operate.
Despite the Q5’s size (it measures more than 4.6 metres in length), it is beautifully agile and proved easy to manoeuvre as it weaved its way through the busy town centre traffic. Then out on the more open roads and motorways it really comes into its own as it accelerates smoothly and rapidly through the gears – there are steering wheel-mounted paddles if you fancy taking a little more control and a Drive Select system allows you to alter the car’s handling and characteristics as you switch between the comfort, auto and dynamic settings.
The road-holding is super-grippy even in the wet, meaning sharp bends can be attacked with a degree of confidence, and the advanced suspension helps to iron out the bumps and dips along the way. The interior is well insulated against any road surface, engine or wind noise and the knowledge that the car features Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system adds a further degree of assurance.
Boot space is generous too with a capacity that ranges from 550 to 1,550 litres depending on the seat configurations and there are a number of alternative storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin to safely store bits and bobs.
And of course, the car is kitted out with a whole host of advanced safety systems to protect occupants and pedestrians alike.
All in all, the latest Q5 is a fabulous SUV that is as versatile as they come. It is ideal for the business driver who clocks up the motorway miles during the week and needs plenty of storage space and then at the weekends it is the perfect car to cater for the needs of an active family who like to do things with a true sense of style.
Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro S line 225PS
With its bold, athletic stance, plentiful supply of innovative on-board technology and thrilling driving dynamics the Audi Q5 proves there is lots of fun to be had in the mighty SUV segment.
The vehicle looks striking from any approach thanks to its sculpted sporty stance, twin tailpipes, roof rails, body-coloured door mirrors and handles, large grille, tinted windows and sweeping light clusters.
Step inside and the build quality is first class and upmarket.
There is ample space for five adults (of the taller variety) to travel in comfort and the elevated roofline results in plenty of height in the back.
The boot can accommodate 540 litres of luggage, a capacity that is increased to 1,560 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. This is accomplished with the least amount of fuss thanks to two release buttons in the boot which see the seats automatically drop down.
There are nets to hold delicate items in place and elsewhere there are numerous handy storage compartments including a good-sized glove-box, a deep central bin, cup holders and door pockets that can hold water bottles or tins of drink.
Techno treats and creature comforts are plentiful and include heated leather seats, an excellent sound system with CD player and DAB digital radio, dual zone climate control, sat nav and Bluetooth connectivity.
The S line model that was tested also boasted some additional storage, lighting and technology packs along with a number of optional extras which bumped the price-tag up from £34,675 to £39,570.
So on to the performance then. Admittedly if the Q5 driven with a particularly heavy right boot then you will be making frequent visits to the fuel station and even when driven cautiously the petrol-powered model in the line-up is still pretty thirsty. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 179g/km. However after a week-long test drive, I was only seeing an average of 27.4mpg.
But fear not – it’s not all doom and gloom because this particular model has a whole host of plus points that easily compensate for the poor fuel efficiency. For example, it can sprint from 0-62mpg in just 7.2 seconds which is pretty nippy for a vehicle of its size and has a top speed of 142mph.
But stats and times aside, it’s actually the manner in which the Q5 goes about its business that cannot fail to impress.
With its quattro permanent all-wheel-drive the road-holding is incredibly grounded and sure-footed even in slippery conditions and despite its larger-than-life dimensions, the vehicle is deceptively nimble which means lots of fun out on the open road.
In busy congested city centres the high seated driving position is a notable plus factor when watching for pedestrians and cars darting out from all angles and then out on faster roads the Q5 really comes alive with exhilarating driving capabilities.
The acceleration through the six-speed manual gearbox is rapid, smooth and responsive, yet it remains totally controlled at all times. The highly efficient insulation throughout the vehicle means the cabin remains nicely hushed and the effective suspension systems iron out many of the road’s uneven surfaces along the way.
As one would expect from Audi, the Q5 is packed with a comprehensive array of safety specifications to help protect passengers and pedestrians alike as well as prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.
All in all, the Audi Q5 is an SUV with attitude and bundles of character. It’s a fact that there are more economical models in the Q5 range, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the open road without worrying about costs.
Audi Q5 2.0 TDI S-line (manual)
It seems the more technology that is developed the more complicated cars are becoming. Long gone are the days when you turned on the radio via a dial and pressed a search button to find the desired station.
These days, there are touch screens with double tap operations, scroll functions and synchronisation to mobile device options.
But that said, Audi somehow manages to keep the quality of techno treats bang up to date without overcomplicating things.
The interior is always clutter-free and very driver-orientated. But don’t think you are being short-changed on the gadget and technical wizardry front because there are goodies galore to be explored.
For example, the test car – a stunning Q5 – boasted features such as a pitch perfect Bang & Olufsen sound system with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, adaptive cruise control, sat nav and dual zone air conditioning.
But all the controls, dials and read-outs were simple to operate leaving the driver to concentrate on the road ahead rather than searching for fiddly buttons or rotating through menu systems.
There’s no denying the fact that the Q5 looks fabulous from any approach – it is high-sided but not imposing and still maintains sleek streamlining and neat flowing lines with a sporty and athletic stance.
Add in the large single grille, smart alloys and tinted windows, sweeping light clusters and the vehicle simply oozes premium quality through and through.
The interior is kitted out in a smart blend of luxurious leather and alcantara upholstery and thanks to its height even the trio of back seat passengers are treated to bags of head room.
Powered by a 2.0-litre 150PS diesel engine with six-speed manual transmission, the test car offered an impressive combination of performance and economy. It could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 119mph, but along the way could deliver combined fuel economy of 47.9mpg.
The Q5 is certainly a car for all occasions – it’s ideal for long business runs, but is just as happy on the busy school run too. In and around town, it proved beautifully agile for its size and the outstanding all-round visibility is a bonus factor with cars darting out from all directions.
Then out on the faster lanes and motorways, the car moved effortlessly alongside quick moving traffic. The impressive insulation meant there was next-to-no engine or road surface noise and the road-holding was very sure-footed meaning tight bends could be attacked with confidence.
Another notable feature of the car is the suspension which somehow irons out many of the roads bumps and dips along the way.
Comfort levels for all occupants are superb and the heated seats with three settings are another bonus as winter approaches.
There is a Drive Select feature which allows you to choose between different modes that adjust the car’s handling and performance accordingly.
These are Auto, Dynamic, Individual, Efficiency and Comfort – the dynamic turns up the fun factor and the efficiency is friendlier on the pocket.
The generously-sized boot has a capacity of 540 litres and this can be increased to 1,560 litres with the rear seats folded flat. And elsewhere there are a number of smaller convenient storage options scattered throughout the vehicle, including a good-sized glove-box, deep door pockets and a central storage bin.
And as one would expect Audi has kitted out the Q5 with a comprehensive range of safety features to protect occupants and pedestrians, including Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.
All in all, the Q5, which sits neatly between the Q3 and Q7, is an eye-catching, versatile and feature-rich car that also delivers great all-round driving dynamics and impressive economy along the way.
Admittedly the asking price of £33,210 (£39,240 with a few extras added) is not the cheapest option out there, but what price do you put on all-round quality?
Audi Q5 3.0 TDI Quattro S Line (auto)
Boasting all the excitement of a sports utility vehicle combined with the poise and agility of a coupe, the Audi Q5 really is the vehicle for all seasons.
Packed to bursting with quality touches, luxurious creature comforts and Audi‘s Quattro all-wheel drive system, the Q5 offers a comfortable, powerful and responsive drive with safety credentials that are world class.
Admittedly at £37.5k, it’s not the cheapest option out there and the extras on the vehicle supplied for my test drive cranked the price up to a breathtaking £46k, but with Audi you know your money will be well spent.
With its 19-inch alloy wheels, rugged ready-for-action build and eye-catching lines, you cannot fail to be impressed when you first lay eyes on the Q5 and that level of quality continues throughout the cabin where you are greeted by luxurious leather seats – heated of course – and an array of first class technical specifications.
The cabin offers a light and airy atmosphere to all occupants and back seat passengers are treated to plenty of leg and head room.
With its high sides all occupants benefit from excellent visibility although the massive door mirrors – they seem to be the size of dustbin lids – can rather impair the driver’s view at some angles.
Interior features include dual-zone climate control, the S line 3-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel with gearshift paddles, an incredible technology package with sat nav, Audi Music Interface and a parking system all built in plus stacks more.
The seats are extremely comfortable and offer electric lumbar support to front seat occupants, but I did rather expect to be able to adjust the seat’s position at the push of a button rather than reaching underneath for a lever.
But that minor gripe aside, I have left the best for last – the drive itself.
In and around town, the Q5 cruises comfortably through the congested traffic, but out on the more open, faster roads, the 3.0-diesel driven engine bursts into life delivering a powerful and exciting performance packed with acceleration, road-holding and outstanding manoeuvrability.
Of course, the Q5 is crammed with safety features including all the usual favourites, plus hill-hold assist which automatically activates the electromechanical parking brake when stationary, side assist, which aids the driver when changing lanes – radar sensors are located in the rear bumper and the driver is informed with a visual signal in the door mirror if a vehicle is in their blind spot or approaching quickly from behind and a whole lot of other specifications to keep occupants safe.
All in all, the Audi Q5 is a beautifully crafted, feature-packed vehicle with plenty to offer the driver who loves a bit of style in their life along with a sense of adventure.
Audi Q5 3.0 TDI quattro SE
Guaranteed to bring out the green-eyed-monster in onlookers the beautifully crafted Audi Q5 is always going to stand out in a crowd.
The interior is specced up to the nines and boasts some of the most ergonomically-friendly designs on offer in any sports utility vehicle today.
It may be viewed as the slightly scaled down version of the Q7, but believe me, there is nothing scaled down about the quality of equipment levels or the actual performance itself.
The high-seated driver’s position means excellent, unobscured all-round visibility and despite its size, the Q5 is a dream to park in tight spaces.
It would be fair to say that it’s not the cheapest vehicle in showrooms today and buyers can expect to dig deep for a number of optional extras, but the Q5 is not really targeting the penny-pinching market.
For example, just £5 short of £2k gets you the mightily impressive Technology Pack, including its Multi Media Interface infotainment control system. This system takes sat nav to a whole new dimension… literally. For the maps appear lifelike with textured buildings and the lane guidance is shown in 3D for motorway exits. This advancement relies on a built-in hard drive rather than the usual DVD.
That gives some clue as to the quality buyers can expect for their money from Audi.
Comfort levels are exceptional and the Q5 can easily seat five adults with plenty of room for luggage too.
The massive panoramic glass sunroof really adds to the levels of creature comfort front and back.
When it comes to the drive, the all-wheel-drive Q5 delivers on all counts as it smoothly works through the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox.
And it’s out on the open road where it really opens up with impressive power levels and plenty of pace as it eats up the road and tackles any sharp bends with ease.
Of course, the safety features on the Q5 are second to none, but somehow Audi has managed to blend a perfect mixture of performance, comfort, safety and beauty all under one bonnet.