Audi Q5 SUV review
"The Audi Q5 does many things well in its fight against the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Jaguar F-Pace"
- Powerful and efficient engines
- Very comfortable on the road
- Spacious and practical
- Unadventurous styling
- Steering doesn't have much feel
- Infotainment screen doesn't retract
Since the first Audi Q5 was introduced around a decade ago, the SUV market has changed dramatically, with nearly every manufacturer introducing a high-riding model. In this time, the Q5 has continuously evolved thanks to tweaks to keep it competitive in what is now a fiercely contested premium SUV market. Today, the Q5 finds itself up against a host of talented rivals, including the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar F-Pace.
Gradual improvements have been beneficial, with the latest Q5 offering a smoother ride, more comfort, increased efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. More updates were made in 2020, with a facelift that introduced reworked front and rear styling. The latest diesel engines also offer improved fuel economy to help keep running costs down, and there's now a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that has an electric range of 26 miles.
You can buy the standard Q5 with one of two engines. A turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘45 TFSI’ petrol engine produces 261bhp or there’s a 201bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, badged ‘40 TDI’. Both engines come with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and quattro four-wheel drive and are capable of getting the Q5 from 0-62mph in under eight seconds. For those that want a faster version of the car, there is the range-topping Audi SQ5, which boasts a more powerful 336bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine.
Drivers looking for the most cost-effective Q5 will find the 2.0-litre '40 TDI' diesel appealing. It returns up to 44.8mpg and emits around 165g/km of CO2, so company-car drivers can expect a top rate Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax bill. These figures are a good match for the equivalent Mercedes GLC and a little better than the Land Rover Discovery Sport, but are in the top two brackets.
The 2.0-litre '45 TFSI' petrol Q5 returns 32mpg, a figure that decreases when bigger wheels are fitted (something that also has a detrimental effect on ride quality). The PHEV is offered in two versions, badged 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e, both of which officially return 117mpg and emit just 55g/km of CO2. Of course, fuel economy will very much depend on how often you charge the battery pack and how far you drive once it’s flat.
The latest Q5 actually delivers a more comfortable ride than earlier versions, but those who choose smaller wheels will be rewarded with a little extra cushioning over bumps. You'll find that the Q5 feels safe and easy to handle, but enthusiastic drivers may feel the car's responses are a little too dull to encourage spirited driving.
High interior quality has become Audi’s trademark and the Q5 combines impressive materials and in-car technology to challenge the very best in class. Its standards in this regard are on a par with the excellent Audi A4 and don't fall far short of the top model in the company's SUV line-up, the Audi Q7.
The Audi Q5 received the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash-testing. It features some very advanced safety technology, including standard autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Overall, the Q5 is one of the best all-rounders in its class and should be on your shortlist if you're looking at a premium SUV of its size. The Q5 is beautifully made, comfortable, modern and boasts a great engine range, plus it undercuts cars like the Jaguar F-Pace on price.