Expert Reviews

First Drive: Audi Q5

Friday 12 May 2017

First Drive: Audi Q5

The Q5 has been one of Audi’s best selling cars since it was introduced in 2008. Clearly not keen to mess with a popular recipe, it’s a case of adding just a few extra ingredients rather than starting again.

Importantly for a premium car there has been lots of additional kit added. For example a smartphone interface, powered bootlid and automatic city braking technology all come as standard.

Looks & Image

The Q5 sits in the middle of Audi’s SUV range – it’s slightly smaller than the Bavarian firm’s chunky Q7, but larger than its crossover-sized Q3.

Much sharper styling and slimmer headlights give the Q5 a more purposeful face, but it still maintains its understated looks one of the main characteristics that made it so popular.

Inside the seats are uber comfortable and the whole cabin has top-notch build quality. There are no cheap feeling plastics and all surfaces feel as though they would hold up to being poked and pulled at by kids.

Space & Practicality

Considering this is only a mid-sized SUV, the amount of space inside is impressive. The driving position is spot on and you ride high above the road, but sit relatively low in the cabin – almost as if you were in an A4 or A6 saloon.

With an extra 10-litres of boot space, there’s plenty of practicality on offer, with more than enough room for the weekly shop or the family Labrador. Put the rear seats down and you get a total of 1,550 litres – handy for that trip to the tip.

Behind the Wheel

After the surprisingly agile Q7, the Q5 almost feels like a bit of a disappointment. It’s great for moseying around the city streets and wafts down the motorway quietly, but there’s little in the way of excitement.

The all-wheel-drive system and over-eager traction control system combine to stop any notion of fun through the corners whatsoever, but as a daily car to travel to work in or take the kids to school, it’s a comfortable and practical SUV.

A major issue however is the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. Attempt to accelerate quickly from lower speeds and it fails to accelerate quickly enough. This is especially evident at junctions and roundabouts where the clutch hesitates to engage. Once on the move it’s a slick shifter, though.

Value for Money

Our top-spec S line model starts at a little under £40,000, which puts it on a par with rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace and BMW X3. 

Standard equipment is excellent, with cruise control, park assist, semi-autonomous city braking and the Audi Connect safety and service system all included, among many. The main bonus of S line models is the sporty body kit, but with sport suspension automatically included you’re better off going for the Sport trim for more comfort.

One option box that’s definitely worth ticking for is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the traditional instrument binnacle with a beautifully designed digital layout. At £250 it is well worth the extra.

Who would buy one ?

The Audi Q5 will appeal to families looking for space and practicality and whp want lots of badge appeal. Design-wise it’s one of the more understated options in the segment, so will appeal to those who don’t like to be flashy.


Facts at a Glance

Model: Audi Q5 S line
Base price: £39,405
Engine: 2.0-litre diesel
Power: 187bhp
Torque: 400Nm
Max speed: 135mph
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
Economy: 55.4mpg
Emissions: 133g/km

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