Drive – Audi Q5 Review

9 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Audi Q5 Review
Audi Q5

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Strong engine teams beautifully with slick auto

Spacious and functional cabin

Classy inside and out

Confident through corners


Firm ride

Storage light-on upfront

Reversing camera optional

No rear air vents

Since arriving on the scene in 2009, the Q5 has been quite the sales star, quickly asserting itself as one of Audi’s top sellers. In 2012, it was the biggest seller in the

fast-growing German brand’s Australian line-up, ousting the A4 sedan and wagon for the top spot. If anything, that shows the brand isn’t as strong in traditional luxury models, rather than being outstanding in SUVs, because the Q5 only just surpassed high-riding wagons from rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Still, it’s impressive that sales of the Q5 have grown progressively as it ages, something that bodes well for the latest update to a successful formula. With fresh styling details, more equipment and impressive technology, it makes the popular luxury soft-roader more appealing.

What do you get?

There are two basic equipment levels for the Q5 – one for the two four-cylinder engines (a $62,900 petrol and a $62,200 diesel) and one for the more-expensive six-cylinders (a $74,100 petrol and a $75,500 diesel).

All models come with Bluetooth, smart-key entry with push-button start, cruise control, colour control screen, detailed trip computer, automatic airconditioning, 18-inch alloy wheels, electric handbrake, tyre-pressure monitors, front and rear parking sensors, electric tailgate operation, partial leather (and fake leather) trim and an above-average sound system.

There’s also a brake warning system above 65km/h and a drowsiness detection system, as well as eight airbags and stability control, although an auto-braking system to avoid frontal crashes only comes with the optional radar cruise-control system.

V6 models step up to real leather used throughout, a reversing camera, tri-zone airconditioning (with rear air vents), satellite navigation, white xenon headlights and a 20-gigabyte on-board music server.

There’s also a long list of options, covering everything from various wheels and metallic paint (from $1424) to blind-spot warning (from $962) and a Bang Olufsen sound system (from $1193).

Other options include a variety of colours and trims and an off-road pack that brings unique styling touches and steel underbody protection for vital mechanical components.

What’s inside?

With the centre console gently tilted towards the driver and a commanding view of the road from behind the wheel, the Q5 cements itself early on as a driver’s machine – and one with quality finishes and elegant touches.

Only the large mirrors – which give a decent view down each side – detract from vision out the driver’s-side window.

Crisp white dials intersected by a colour trip computer dominate the clear, concise instrument cluster, while the central control screen continues the elegant yet functional theme. Controls huddled around the gear selector fall easily to hand, but that means there’s not as much odds-and-ends storage as some may like.

A deep centre console and deep, broad door pockets make up the shortfall, however.

The rear-door pockets are handy, while split-fold functionality makes use of the available 540-litre load area that’s flanked by a small storage pocket for loose items. Netting on the underside of the load cover is handy for smaller items.

The centre rear seat isn’t as accommodating as the well-positioned outer pews thanks to its raised, narrow surface and folding armrest that digs into the back of any fifth occupant.

There are also no rear air vents unless you choose the tri-zone airconditioning option.

Under the bonnet

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is an overhaul of the previous unit, upping the output by a modest 10kW, to 165kW. As previously, the engine is helped with the huff of a turbo, which endows it with muscular mid-rev response – there’s 350Nm on offer from just 1500rpm – and the sort of flexibility that makes for effortless around-town acceleration.

Linear response across the rev range delivers impressive breadth and punch that make for a solid performer. It’s helped by the slick-shifting eight-speed automatic, which fires through the gears rapidly with near-seamless changes.

For maximum performance, the 2.0-litre revs cleanly and with an enthusiastic zing. There’s also a Drive Select system that tweaks throttle response, gear-shift points and steering feel. There are three programmable modes – comfort, dynamic and efficiency – or you can let the car decide.

Fuel use is good without being exceptional, with Audi claiming 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres. Expect to use between 10L/100km and 11L/100km in everyday motoring.

On the road

Taut suspension ensures the Q5 sits remarkably flat for a high-riding SUV. Through sweeping bends, it’s astute and confident, with impressive grip and composure.

There’s a natural tendency for the vehicle to lean on its nose when pushed, gently nudging the front end wide.

But the Q5 has a well-calibrated stability-control system that assertively handles proceedings in slippery conditions.

Steering is light during parking, but meaningfully weighted at speed, which is helpful in cementing the Audi as a machine of confidence.

But that confidence comes at the expense of comfort. The Q5’s firm suspension can be jiggly at lower speeds and pitchy over speed bumps. It’s all well controlled, though, with the vehicle quickly settling from bigger imperfections.


Current Q5 owners will notice incremental improvements to what was already a convincing luxury-SUV package.

Combined, they reassert the popular Audi as one of the leaders in its class, with a car that melds functionality, style and above-average driving attributes into an attractive package.

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