Audi Q5 (2008-2017) Review

The Audi Q5 is a large, classy SUV, but it’s getting on in years and has fallen behind rivals

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Good to drive
  • Holds value well
  • Solid build quality
  • Expensive
  • Fairly firm ride
  • Limited off-road capability
Audi Q5 prices from £15,995.
Finance from £326.48 / month.

The Audi Q5 sits smack bang in the middle of the current Audi SUV line-up: it’s larger than the Audi Q3 but smaller than the Audi Q7. That puts it into direct competition with prestigious rivals such as the BMW X3, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Lexus RX and Mercedes GLC.

Unfortunately, having been introduced way back in 2008, the Q5 is no longer in the first flush of youth and has been largely left behind by those cars, particularly in the areas of fuel efficiency and in-car technology. However, it’s still an appealing SUV in its own right, with powerful engines, imposing looks and a very high-quality interior remaining its key selling points.

Standard equipment is generous from the bottom of the range up, and there’s a vast amount of space inside, too – whether in the boot for luggage or legroom for front and back-seat passengers to stretch out in. Quattro four-wheel drive is fitted across the range. This affects fuel economy, which is part of the reason no Q5 can reasonably be called ‘cheap to run’, but it also makes the Audi Q5 a great towing car.

On the downside, the Q5’s ride is quite harsh (a problem common to many Audis) and specifying the smarter-looking larger alloy wheels only makes the situation worse. It’s also not as much fun to drive as the more nimble BMW X3 and lacks an advanced hybrid version to improve fuel economy like the Lexus RX. What’s more, it finishes a distant second to the vastly accomplished Land Rover Discovery Sport when it comes to off-road ability – the Q5 is definitely more at home on tarmac than on the rough stuff. The top-of-the-range Audi SQ5 is very fast in a straight line, but fails to truly entertain its drivers in corners.

Key facts

Warranty Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size 540 litres
Width 1,898mm
Length 4,629mm
Height 1,655mm
Tax (min to max) £145 to £225

Best Audi Q5 for...

Best for Economy – Audi Q5 2.0 TDI [150] Quattro SE

This is one area where the Q5 really shows its age. Even this modestly powerful 2.0-litre diesel version – the most efficient in the range – costs £145 a year to tax and can only just manage 50mpg fuel economy.

Best for Families – Audi Q5 2.0 TDI [190] Quattro SE

As the entry-level diesel isn’t that efficient, you may as well go for the smoother and more powerful 190 version of the same engine. The ‘basic’ SE specification should be more than sufficient, though, as the Q5 is very well equipped as standard.

Best for Performance – Audi Q5 SQ5 [326] Quattro Tip Auto

The dedicated performance version of the Q5 gets from 0-62mph in a sports-car-like 5.1 seconds and is a very swift overtaker. It’s still a big, heavy SUV, though, so its agility on twisty roads is limited.

One to Avoid – Audi Q5 2.0T FSI [230] Quattro S Line Tip

A petrol engine, four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are a pretty disastrous combination for running costs, and so it proves here, with claimed economy not even reaching 40mpg. Petrol Q5s are worth less on the used market, too.


October 2008 Audi Q5 goes on sale
Feb 2010 Recall of 2,200 Dec ’08 - May ’09 Q5s for possible loose interior trim
April 2012 Mid-life facelift boost efficiency across range
June 2012 High-performance SQ5 model added
August 2012 Recall of 733 Jan - Jul ’12 Q5s as sunroof glass could break
October 2014 Q5s among 6k Jan ’12 - Aug ’14 Audis recalled for braking issue
April 2015 Q5s among 1,114 Apr ’11 - Apr ’12 Audis recalled for possible fuel leak
December 2015 New range-topping SQ5 Plus model joins the range

Understanding Audi Q5 names

Engine 3.0 TDI [258]

You can see the size of the engine, in litres at a glance (3-litres in this case). Diesel versions are badged TDI, while the petrol engine is TFSI. The engine's power in horsepower is shown here as 258. You may also see it given in the slightly different format of brake horsepower (bhp)

4WD Quattro

Quattro is Audi's name for four-wheel drive

Trim S Line

The trim level lets you know how much equipment comes as standard and tanges from the most basic SE, through S line to S line Plus. The performance versions are either SQ5 or the better-equipped SQ5 Plus

Gearbox S Tronic

Automatic Audi Q5 models have either an S tronic gearbox with two clutches, making gearchanges extremely smooth, or a Tiptronic (Tip) version which is less sophisticated but can handle more power than the Q5's S tronic gearbox. Both versions have paddles behind the steering wheel so gears can be selected manually.

Audi Q5 Engines

Engines: 2.0 TDI, 3.0 TDI (diesel); 2.0 TFSI (petrol)

The smallest diesel engine in the Q5 range – the 2.0-litre TDI – is offered in two different power outputs: 148 or 187bhp. Neither is particularly efficient compared to more modern diesel, so we’d recommend the more muscular performance of the 187bhp engine, which is more in keeping with the Q5’s nature and helps make it an excellent long-distance cruiser and tow car.

Audi offers a single petrol engine for the Q5: a 2.0-litre TFSI with nearly 230bhp. It takes the car’s 0-62mph time down to around seven seconds, but also makes it pretty expensive to run. Petrol Q5s can be hard to sell on, as well, so they don’t hold their value nearly as well as their diesel equivalents.

The 254bhp version of the 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine is used in high-spec versions of the ‘regular’ Audi Q5, but it’s been left as a bit of a halfway house since the introduction of the high-performance SQ5 version in mid-2012. That car uses the same 3.0-litre diesel engine, but with a significantly higher power output of 322bhp. In late 2015, a further upgraded ‘SQ5 Plus’ version was introduced, although strangely it’s no quicker than the normal SQ5 despite having a few extra horsepower.





0 - 62mph

top speed

2.0 TDI


48.7 - 50.4mpg




2.0 TDI


47.1 - 49.6mpg




3.0 TDI


45.6 - 47.1mpg




3.0 TDI






3.0 TDI






2.0 TFSI


35.8 - 38.7mpg


6.9 - 7.2s


Audi Q5 Trims

Trims: SE, S line, S line Plus, SQ5, SQ5 Plus

Even in entry-level SE form, the Q5 is very well equipped, coming with DAB digital radio, cruise control, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and three-zone climate control. The latter provides separate ventilation controls for the front-seat occupants, as well as an individual temperature setting for the back.

The Q5 S line is all about sporty looks and boasts various S line exterior trim pieces, such as distinctive-looking bumpers and side skirts. This model also has larger alloy wheels and its own S line sports suspension, but we’d strongly recommend you get the standard setup (which is a no-cost option) instead. Moving up to S line Plus gets you xenon headlights, a visual parking aid, sat-nav and an electrically operated tailgate.

The SQ5, meanwhile, puts the emphasis firmly (and we do mean firmly) on handling, with suspension that’s 30mm lower and even stiffer than the standard car’s. More welcome additions include an SQ5 body kit, which gives it the sportiest looks in the range, plus classy LED interior lights. On top of this, the SQ5 Plus gets 21-inch alloy wheels and gloss-black styling additions outside, plus diamond-stitched leather sports seats inside.

Audi Q5 Reliability and warranty

Audi is generally known for building solid and dependable cars, but the Q5’s results in Auto Express magazine’s 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction paint a mixed picture. While owners rated the car an impressive 13th out of 200 models for build quality, it could only managed 121st for reliability.

So while the Q5 is definitely well screwed together, it seems it’s not totally immune to mechanical or electrical issues. That makes it particularly disappointing that it only has a three year/60,000-mile warranty, which is about the bare minimum you can expect with a car these days. Even BMW puts no mileage limit on its three-year cover.

Used Audi Q5

The Audi Q5’s good looks, superb interior and practical nature, coupled with the high desirability of the Audi ‘four rings’ badge on the nose means it holds its value exceptionally well on the secondhand market. Even three-year-old examples with average mileage on the clock can still command around two-thirds of their new list price and discounts on brand new or pre-registered examples are fairly modest. What’s more, despite its expensive running costs, the high-performance SQ5 model holds its value even better than the regular Q5, showing that it’s very sought-after among a certain subset of buyers.

If you are in the market for a used Audi Q5, it’s well worth stretching to a post-April 2012 example, if you can afford it. The car was facelifted then, getting slightly more efficient engines, and although it’s still not on par with its rivals when it comes to running costs, every little helps in this respect.

Other Editions

Q5 (2016)

Well-built, plush and packed with (optional) technology. The Audi Q5 is a tasteful family SUV