AUDI Q5 2012-17
Audi’s soft-roader retains its prestige shine THE EXPERTS SAY
King of leafy suburbs and private school car parks, Audi’s Q5 has long been the darling of the prestige soft-roader market. This five-seat mid-size SUV is strong on style, build quality and practicality, making it the aspirational choice of hip parents and lifestyle-orientated professionals.
New versions cost more than $70K but savvy used shoppers can buy into the Q5 dream for a smidge over $10K. Be careful though. At this price you’ll only find high kilometre examples from 2009-10 (when the Q5 was introduced) and some have well-reported oil consumption, engine failure and auto gearbox issues.
The facelifted “8R” Q5 landed in December 2012 and owner reports suggest it’s far more reliable. Pre-loved versions, listed as MY13 and later, start from $20K and these older examples still look sharp against the completely new Q5 that landed last year.
All are automatics with Audi’s “quattro” allwheel drive and there’s no bad engine choice. You’ll find a near even split of diesel and petrol among used examples, starting with the 2.0litre diesel, returning a thrifty 6.1L/100km yet putting out an impressive 380Nm.
Given Audi’s renowned chassis engineering, these Q5s are more car-like in the road-holding stakes than most SUVs and can handle plenty of power. Audi obliged with a supercharged V6 and stonking 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel with a 0100km/h time of just 5.1 seconds.
The cabins look a tad dated these days but Q5s retain their class with leather seats, good standard equipment, a tactile feel to the switchgear and intelligent layout. Grip the steering wheel, open the centre storage and caress the surfaces and you know you’re investing in class.
Size-wise they’re not big enough to feel cumbersome, but with ample cabin space for two adults or three kids across the rear seats, and the boot’s a sizeable 540L (with seats folded, 1560L).
Choose your Q5 according to needs and budget. Four-cylinder diesel (2.0 TDI) and four-cylinder petrol (2.0 TFSI) are cheapest; the former the choice of the economy-minded, the latter for swifter performance.
Included were 18-inch alloys, roof rails, power tailgate and front seats, Bluetooth, 6.5inch monitor, convenience key, front and rear park sensors, hill descent control and hill-hold assist. For the 2014 model year, Q5s added xenon headlights and tri-zone climate control.
Six-cylinder models (3.0 TDI and 3.0 TFSI) cost an extra $12K when new but were worth it. Each had Milano leather, paddle-shifters, improved navigation, voice control, seven-inch screen, DVD player, reverse camera and LED running lights. The petrol engine cracked rest to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds, the diesel 6.5 secs.
Not enough? In May 2013 Audi launched the world’s fastest production diesel SUV, the SQ5 TDI, with 230kW and 650Nm – trumped again in 2016 with a 250kW/700Nm SQ5 Plus with quattro Sport differential borrowed from Audi’s RS performance grades.
SQ5s are rocketships with very non-diesel race-car exhaust notes, and were so popular Audi Australia reckoned the hot versions accounted for about 30 per cent of all Q5 sales. Fitment on these includes 20-inch wheels, lower suspension, Audi drive select dynamic handling and Nappa leather.
Regular Q5s never had the softest of rides but were best on 18-inch alloys. SQ5 models are crashy on pot-holed city streets as their suspension was optimised for twisty back roads.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Favour Q5s with impeccable Audi service histories. Many used models will be out of the three-year warranty and repairs, parts and service are expensive. Goodwill fixes are far more likely if a Q5’s stayed in the Audi service family.
Most auto gearbox gremlins had been ironed out by this stage but if you test a Q5 with nasty gearbox noise, jerkiness or long hesitations then shop elsewhere.
Creaky front suspension and vague steering suggest worn front ball joints and some owners have reported rattles from the optional sunroof if fitted.
Diesel particulate filter blockages can develop if used only on short journeys, so be wary of city-based Q5s. Should the filter fail, it’s a massive repair bill.
Navigation map updates have proved troublesome (and pricey) for some, so ask the seller how recently this has been done. Have a good poke around at cabin fit and finish — most have aged well but some owners have complained.
When new, Q5s came with countless cost options. Find a free-spending first owner and you can score such goodies as temperature controlled cup holders, heated seats, radar cruise control, B&O audio, dynamic steering and blind spot monitor.
Particularly favour those that had expensive Exclusive Off-Road Styling, S Line Exterior or S Line Sports packs with sportier styling, bigger wheels or Nappa leather.
To check on recall work, put the VIN in at productsafety.gov.au and ensure one you’re In its four years on sale, the Q5 facelift sold more than 14,500 examples in Australia, including more than 4000 in 2015. Over that period the Q5 consistently outsold most of its stablemates but for the small A3.
Among current used listings, nearly 70 per cent are diesels.
The entry level 2.0 TDI ($62,200 new) from late 2012 is $29,000. The flagship 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel ($75,500 new) is now worth $35,350.
For 2016, the base four-cylinder diesel ($63,600 new) is valued at $43,400. The V6 diesel Sport Edition Q5 ($83,355 new) is now $54,850.
Retained values for the Q5 are comparable with the BMW X3 for 2012, have held up better than for the Volvo XC60 but trail such contemporaries as the Range Rover Evoque and Mazda CX-5. For 2016, the Volvo, BMW, CX-5 and Evoque hold their value better than the Audi. PRICE NEW $62,200-$108,900 SAFETY 5 stars
ENGINES 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 165kW or 169kW/350Nm; 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 130kW/380Nm; 3.0-litre V6 supercharged, 200kW/400Nm;3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, 180kW/580Nm, 230kW/650Nm, 240kW/650Nm or 250kW/700Nm TRANSMISSIONS 7 or 8-speed auto; AWD THIRST 6.1L-8.5L/100km
considering has been returned to Audi for required fixes.
Running costs mean you should enter used Q5 ownership with care but these Audis are beautiful, drive superbly for an SUV and retain their prestige shine. A 2.0-litre diesel is a smart choice unless you’re a city driver only. The sixcylinders boost the performance and specification for the full luxury Q5 experience. The ever-popular ballistic SQ5s are rightly aspirational — with prices to match.
OWNER SAYS RAMA HEIDARI:
I have a 2015 Q5 3.0 TDI which is used every day for my small business and for driving twice a week between Canberra and Sydney. On the motorway it has excellent thirst, about 5.5L/100km, which I’ve never had from any car. It isn’t as fast accelerating as the Audi A4 I had before but it’s a nice drive, all the technology works well and I’ve had no problems with it. I’m getting to an age when lower cars are not very suitable so it’s good to be higher up. My husband says we should update it but I’m still in love with my Q5 and don’t want to change it.