Audi Q5 Review
Well-built, plush and packed with (optional) technology. The Audi Q5 is a tasteful family SUV
Strengths & weaknesses
- All have four-wheel drive and automatic gearbox
- Luxurious interior
- High-tech options
- Awkward dashboard design
- Rough-sounding diesel
- Not much bigger than Audi Q3
Audi Q5 prices from £14,058 Finance from £253.75 per month
If you are on the look-out for a plushly appointed, tall and rugged-looking SUV that will take the stresses and strain out of family motoring, the Audi Q5 is designed for you.
It is the middle-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) to be found in Audi showrooms, parked between the Q3 and Q7. Every version comes with five seats and quattro four-wheel drive, giving it some basic off-road ability.
Pricing starts at more than £41,000, putting it in line with other desirable SUVs such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60. It also means that every Q5 attracts a £310 car tax surcharge on cars costing more than £40,000 until they are seven years old.
The money does buy you a beautifully finished interior that oozes a feeling of good quality. (Whether or not the family soon takes the shine of it is a moot point.) One of the features drivers particularly like about the Q5 – and other Audis – is what’s called the Virtual Cockpit. It’s a 12.3 inch digital instrument display behind the steering wheel that gives superb clarity and can be tailored to display information to the driver’s preference, such as navigation and mapping, or sport-type digital dials.
However, that’s only standard on the poshest Vorsprung trim level. Otherwise, it’s part of an optional Technology Pack that costs £1,395 and comes with a larger dashboard screen, a touch sensitive panel with handwriting recognition (to enter addresses into the sat-nav), wireless phone charging and a 36 month subscription to Audi Connect Infotainment Services – better known as an internet connection.
The driving position is extremely comfortable, the dashboard is a model of restrained good taste and Audi has wisely kept buttons for the most-used features, such as the climate control, heated seats, parking sensors and the Drive Select system, which alters the way the engine, gearbox and steering feel. Newer models, such as the Q3 have replaced most buttons with on-screen controls.
As a family car, it’s more than competitive when it comes to offering comfortable back seats, space to stretch out in and two Isofix fitment points for child seats. The boot can cope with 550-litres of luggage, which is the same as its German competitors and more than the Volvo XC60, but a good 100 litres less than the surprisingly accommodating Jaguar F-Pace.
But if you're willing to sacrifice some luxury, you'll have considerably more space - and the option of seven seats - in a Skoda Kodiaq, which offers better value for money and shares engines with the Audi (Skoda is a sister company).
Perhaps of more significance is that this car isn’t that much more spacious that the latest Audi Q3, which starts at £10,000 less than the entry-level Q5 from new, has a boot that's just 20 litres larger and includes a virtual cockpit display as standard. It makes justifying the extra cost of the Q5 difficult, particularly as the larger car is no better to drive.
With the exception of the Porsche Macan, few SUVs feel genuinely sporty. That’s unlikely to bother most buyers of this type of car, though; comfortable suspension, stable roadholding and quiet manners on motorways are much more important. And in those respects, the Audi Q5 delivers. If you can stretch to its £2,000 price tag, the optional adaptive air suspension gives the 4x4 a pillow-soft ride, although you'll still feel a thud at slower speeds over potholes.
Choosing which model best meets your need is simpler than in the past. Audi has streamlined the mainstream Q5 range, so there's only one petrol and one diesel engine to choose from. Each comes with quattro four-wheel drive, making it ideal for winter weather, trips to the beach or towing; also included is Audi’s S tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox.
The high-performance SQ5 version was removed from sale last year but should return soon. Later this year, a TFSI e plug-in hybrid Q5 will go on sale, and will offer an electric-only driving range of up to 25 miles before its petrol engine takes over.
It's a complete family package, but so is the current Audi Q3, and if you're looking for a new or nearly-new model, then most buyers will find the cheaper SUV more than adequate. It was only launched last year, however, so choice on the used market is currently limited.
|Warranty||3 years / 60,000 miles|
|Boot size||550 litres|
|Tax||£205 to £830 in first year, £450 thereafter|
Best Audi Q5 for...
Best for Economy – Audi Q5 40 TDI Sport
With only one diesel engine to choose from, those who want their Q5 to be as efficient as possible should consider the Sport trim. with the fewest gadgets and smallest wheels, it's the most efficient Q5, with an official fuel economy figure of 51.4mpg - expect closer to 40mpg in real-world driving.
Best for Families – Audi Q5 40 TDI Sport
If budget is important, then the entry-level Sport trim would be a good choice, especially when paired with the 2-litre TDI diesel engine. It’s generously equipped.
Best for Performance – Audi Q5 45 TFSI S line
Until the high-performance SQ5 returns on sale, petrol-powered 45 TFSI engine is the sportiest choice. S line trim makes the car firmer to feel sportier.
- April 2017 First deliveries of Q5 begin
- June 2017 High-performance SQ5 arrives
- September 2018 Engine line-up reduced and renamed in line with Audi's new badging stratgey only 40 TDI and 45 TFSI versions are now available.
- February 2019 High-end Black Edition and Vorsprung trim levels are launched with extra black details and more technology respectively.
- Late 2019 New TFSI e plug-in hybrid version will join the range
Audi Q5 Engines
Diesel: 40 TDI
Petrol: 45 TFSI
Audi currently offers just one diesel and one petrol engine from new and there isn’t a great difference in price. They both drive all four-wheels via a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic gearbox.
The 2-litre 40 TDI diesel is not the quietest engine of its kind. From cold there’s the familiar and unwelcome diesel rattle, and this is especially noticeable at low speeds. Put your foot to the floor and there’s a fair turn of speed, the gear changes are swift and once settled to a motorway cruise the Q5 is quiet. Ignore the official numbers: real-world fuel economy is around 40mpg, according to the Equa Index, which publishes realistic figures based on public road testing.
More enjoyment is had from the 2-litre 45 TFSI petrol, as long as you’re comfortable for fuel economy to fall to around 30mpg during normal driving. It has a crisp, pleasant sound and pulls eagerly from low revs. Both are quick enough for a family SUV, but the petrol is the swiftest, accelerating from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds - well ahead of the 8.1 seconds of the diesel.
There’s more choice on the used car market because the engine range was slimmed down at the end of 2018 when the engines were renamed to their current format.
Older models were available with a 2-litre diesel which offers good economy (around 40mpg) and strong performance, as well as a more powerful 3-litre diesel.
A 2-litre petrol engine accelerates from 0-62mph in a quick 6.3 seconds, but you’ll be lucky if fuel economy exceeds 30mpg. The 3-litre engine fitted to the Audi SQ5 reduces the acceleration time of 5.4 seconds but real-world fuel economy drops to 25mpg.
Q5 40 TDI quattro
Up to 51.4mpg
Q5 45 TFSI quattro
Up to 39.2mpg
Audi Q5 Trims
There are four trim levels available with the 2019 Audi Q5 SUV range. The most affordable Sport trim is reasonably well specified. It comes with bright Xenon headlights with LED daytime lights, aluminium roof rails, heated front seats, part-leather trim for the seats, three-zone climate control, a power-operated tailgate, navigation and parking sensors.
Next up in the range is S line. Most of its enhancements over Sport are designed to give it a more sporty appearance, and it comes with 19-inch alloy wheels. LED headlights are standard, as is tinting for the back windows.
Black Edition includes 20-inch alloy wheels, cosmetic enhancements such as black finish for the roof rails and wing mirrors, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Topping off the Q5 range is Vorsprung. This comes with 21 inch alloy wheels, Audi’s Matrix adaptive LED headlights, running boards, a panoramic sunroof, heated outer rear seats, electric front seats, Nappa leather, an LED interior lighting pack and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. There’s also a rather nice Bang and Olufsen sound system and wireless charging dock for phones.
Audi Q5 Reliability and warranty
Audi doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to making reliable cars. Out of 27 car manufacturers, the German company languished in 20th position in the 2018 Driver Power survey, carried out by Auto Express.
With that said, the previous generation Q5 performed strongly in the same survey. It was judged to be the sixth most dependable SUV and 4x4. Any new Q5 will come with a three-year warranty that is unlimited in mileage for the first two years, then reverts to a limit of 60,000 miles in the third year, and UK breakdown cover is included.
Used Audi Q5
There’s plenty of choice of current-generation Audi Q5s. Early 2017 models cost from around £28,000 , while nearly new Audi Q5s are currently available for £14,058 from BuyaCar, or from £253.75 per month with finance.
Don't be alarmed by the difference in angine badges. The format was changed in late 2018. Before then, engines were shown by their size in litres, so a 2.0 TDI model is a 2-litre diesel. Later cars use a number that corresponds to power - a 2-litre diesel engine is now badged 40 TDI.