If you’re looking for a mid-size SUV, then it’s likely that the Audi Q5 will be on your list. Despite entering the SUV market after both BMW and Mercedes, Audi has certainly established itself in this competitive premium sector. Read our Audi Q5 review to see whether this success has been justified.
While the latest crop of Audi designs feature plenty of sharp lines and large grilles at the front, the Q5 is a touch softer in its appearance. It certainly has a pretty assertive stance, especially on its large 20-inch alloy wheels that our test car sported, but the styling is a little forgettable alongside sharper-looking rivals like Jaguar’s F-Pace and the Volvo XC60. There are some nice touches though, with subtle reference points to the A5 Coupe thanks to the curved styling creases along the side of the Q5. However, it doesn’t quite deliver that ‘wow’ factor some people may be looking for unless you go for one of the top trim levels.
On the road
Audi Q5 review: On the road
- Petrol and diesel options available
- Hybrid option in the shape of the TFSI e
- Quiet and comfortable drive
In the US, the Q5 can be spec’d with a 248bhp 2.0-liter petrol engine (the 45 TFSI), while Europe also gets the option of 187bhp 2.0-liter diesel (known as the 40 TDI). Both the US and Europe though get a plug-in hybrid option in the shape of the Q5 TFSI e, which comes in two flavors, the 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e.
Both feature powerful 2.0-liter petrol engines that are paired with a 14.1kWh battery (with onboard charger), with the difference being the combined power output. The 50 TFSI e delivers 295bhp, while the 55 TFSI e produces an impressive 362bhp and a sub-0.60mph time easily under 6 seconds.
The clever part is that the Q5 TFSI e doesn’t have to use the power units simultaneously - you can swap to an electric-only mode if you wish to conserve fuel, with the Q5 TFSI e providing a 26 mile range under battery power alone. This means it's feasible to do short journeys like a quick commute or school run fuel-free, while you’ve got the power when you need it for those longer drives.
As you’d expect when the Q5 TFSI e is using battery power alone, it’s incredibly quiet on the move and perfect round town. When you’re going to be traveling for longer, the Q5 TFSI e’s hybrid mode sees the it swap automatically between electric and combustion running. This is designed to optimize efficiency, prioritizing electric running when on slower roads, and swapping over to the petrol engine when needed. Don’t worry though about a jolty ride as it changes between the two power modes, the transition is incredibly refined - you won’t even notice it to be honest, especially as the petrol engine is itself very quiet. You can also harness the combined power of the two power units for those times when you want a bit of extra fun.
To make the most of the hybrid system, you’ll want to look to charge the Q5 TFSI e regularly and this is easy to do. All the cables required are supplied as standard, with charging from a domestic socket taking six hours to fully charge the battery, or if you have a 7kW home wallbox installed, you’re looking at two hours. One trade off is the reduction in trunk size to accommodate the battery cells, which sees 3.3 cubic feet lost.
Interior quality and features
Audi Q5 review: Interior quality and features
- Excellent quality
- Intuitive controls
- Generous standard equipment
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol plus 14.1kWh battery
Power output: 349bhp
Max speed: 148 mph
0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
Fuel economy: up to 108.6mpg
Audi’s responsible for some of the best interiors going, and the Q5 doesn’t disappoint thanks to the quality of materials used. Everything you can touch or see is to a very high standard which is complemented by the way all the various switches and other contact points function very precisely. All this supports the feeling of a very well made car.
Upfront and the dashboard is dominated by a large 7-inch infotainment screen (8.3-inches if you opt for the optional Technology Pack) that’s easy to view from the driving seat. Rather than a touchscreen interface, this is controlled via a rotary controller and touchpad interface that sits just in front of the gear selector. If you think you’d prefer a touchscreen interface, don’t be put off by this - it’s incredibly intuitive to use and one of the best solutions available.
Another nice option if you opt for the Technology Pack is Audi’s excellent 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit. This sees traditional dials replaced by a large digital instrument display that can be tailored to prioritize dials in a regular fashion or shrink them to better display other information - it’s possible to have the navigation map displayed between the two digital dials for instance.
Standard equipment is pretty generous, with three-zone climate control, leather seats (that are heated in the front), cruise control and front and rear parking sensors all included. Audi’s also thrown in support for Android and iPhone connectivity as standard as well, unlike many rivals. It’s worth bearing in mind though that because there’s no touchscreen interface on the Q5, the experience might seem a little disconnected at first as you have to rely on the rotary control to navigate.
An extra we’d plump for is the reversing camera that makes parking that bit easier, while you can also swap out the 10-speaker stereo to a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen system if you’re a serious audiophile.
Passenger and trunk space
Audi Q5 review: Passenger and trunk space
- Decent sized trunk
- Ample space for four adults
- Option to recline rear seats
Regardless of the styling, the Audi Q5 is an eminently practical SUV. Compared to rivals like the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, it’s virtually identical in length at 183.6-inches, though a fraction shorter than the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60.
This large footprint means that the Q5 comes with a decent sized trunk at just over 21 cubic feet and if you’ve bought a load of flatpack furniture, then the Q5’s load capacity increases to an impressive 54 cubic with the rear seats folded down.
While the Q5 doesn’t have the option of a third row of seats like the larger Q7, there’s ample space for four adults to sit comfortably, with a good amount of head and legroom on offer. There’s space for a fifth adult at a squeeze if they’re prepared to sit in the middle seat in the back, but as they’ll have to straddle the relatively large central floor tunnel, they won’t appreciate being sat like that for long journeys.
A nice optional feature is something that Audi terms rather snappily Rear Bench Seat Plus. This allows you to not only recline the rear set of seats, but also means you can slide the seats forward to increase trunk capacity if needed. It’s something many rivals don’t offer at all and adds to the Q5’s versatility.
Audi Q5 review: Safety features
- Six airbags as standard
- 5 star Euro NCAP and NHTSA ratings
- Decent driver safety tech
Prices start at $43,300 / £41,420 for the 45 TFSI model, with the 50 TFSI e model starting at $52,900 / £49,735.
The Audi Q5 comes with six airbags as standard, while you can add two more rear side airbags as an optional extra. It gets and impressive five star safety rating from both the US’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), while there’s plenty of safety tech on offer as well. This includes Audi’s automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard. At up to speeds of 52mph, the system will warn you if you’re about to hit a pedestrian or the vehicle in front. Should you not respond in time, the Q5 will automatically apply the brakes.
If you opt for the Tour Pack, you also get Turn Assist. This handy feature will again automatically stop the car if you fail to spot a car when pulling out of a T-junction.
Audi Q5 review: Verdict
The Q5 has to be one of the best SUVs you can buy at the moment. Not only does it have one of the best appointed interiors in its class, but it's also incredibly comfortable and refined. Opt for the hybrid TFSI e power train and you’ve got not only an incredibly capable, fast and practical SUV, but one that’s also relatively efficient. A great all-rounder that justifies the premium price.