Q up for this Audi
THE Audi Q5 is a superb all rounder that will keep you going when others flounder in winter snow and ice. But despite all models having four wheel drive (4WD), it’s not really an off-roader – more a high estate and load lugger for the road.
It’s much less intimidating than the huge Q7, which often seems too big for smaller country roads and city streets in this country, and the high driving position gives an excellent view all round.
There’s loads of space for a family inside, with plenty of legroom both back and front, and a very good-sized boot.
The styling ticks all the right boxes for me and I’ve enjoyed driving a number of them over the years – both petrol and diesel.
The majority sold in this country have been diesels of course, but that seems to be changing with governments around the world trying to improve air pollution by banning diesels from city centres.
Of course, as far as the latest diesels are concerned, that’s a fallacy, as they are still less polluting than equivalent petrol-powered versions.
But as is often the case, the blinkered view of our politicians doesn’t change with the times.
For this review, I’ll concentrate on the Q5 built between 2008 and 2016, which to my eye is better looking than the present one.
As with all Q5s, they are very car-like to drive, with excellent handling and road-holding.
Diesel engines range up from a 143bhp 2.0-litre to a 3.0-litre V6 with no less than 254bhp and petrols available go from a 2.0-litre with 180bhp to a 3.0-litre with 268bhp.
All of the larger engines come with either a CVT or a tiptronic automatic gearbox, while the smaller engines have either a six-speed manual or a CVT.
The lowest-powered 143bhp diesel doesn’t offer particularly good performance in such a heavy vehicle. It gets to 60 miles an hour in 11 seconds and should do 40 miles per gallon. The same engine is also available with 167bhp and it does the sprint in 9.5 seconds and still manages about 40mpg.
Later versions of the 2.0-litre have 150 or 190bhp and are noticeably quicker, with economy closer to 50mpg. The 3.0-litre V6 TDI has an excellent 258bhp and reaches 60mph in just over six seconds while managing 42mpg.
Petrol models start with a 2.0-litre turbo that has 180bhp and is capable of 30mpg. It reaches 60mph from a standstill in 8.2 seconds. A more powerful version of the same engine has 230bhp and is significantly quicker. Top petrol performers are the 3.2 V6 and the 3.0 TFSI. Both have around 267bhp and cover the 60mph sprint in 6.7 seconds, with a best of 33 miles per gallon.
The Q5 shares its chassis with the contemporary A4, so it has excellent road manners and is very, very safe. There’s very little roll in the corners and the VW group steering has long been one of the best on the market.
Comfort is also very good, despite the suspension set up for a sporting drive. Standard equipment in mid-range SE form brings traction control, heated mirrors, alarm, parking sensors, leather trim, audio remote control and alloys.
Most secondhand ones will have been fitted with additions from the very expensive Audi extras list, like cruise control and heated sports seats. Bear in mind that larger alloy wheels and lower profile tyres might look better, but they don’t improve the handling and comfort can be badly affected.
Pay about £15,600 for a ’15 15-reg 2.0 TDI 150bhp SE auto, or £19,100 for a ’16 16-reg 3.0 TDI S-line auto.