What Car? says...
The Audi Q5 has long been one of the most popular SUVs out there. That's no surprise, given that it sits in a sweet spot when it comes to size, as well as having a great interior and giving you a good mix of sportiness and everyday usability.
The Q5’s broad engine line-up includes a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option with a decent electric-only range, helping to keep emissions competitive with other premium rivals. If plugging in your car isn't for you, there’s also a 201bhp diesel engine and a 261bhp petrol, both with mild hybrid assistance.
Read on to find out how we rate the Audi Q5 in all the important areas...
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Audi Q5 engine range starts with the 201bhp 40 TDI diesel and the 261bhp 45 TFSI petrol. Both use mild-hybrid electrical assistance to give performance and fuel economy a minor boost, but it’s the diesel that impresses the most.
It feels effortlessly strong from low revs and provides smooth and progressive acceleration as the revs rise. It’s also even a What Car? Tow Car Awards winner, capable of pulling a 2400kg braked caravan with ease. The petrol is a fair bit quicker, managing 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds (1.5 seconds less than an unloaded 40 TDI), but needs to be revved harder to get the best from it.
Then there’s the 295bhp 50 TFSIe PHEV, which will be of interest to company car buyers thanks to its low company car tax rating. It can get up to the national speed limit fairly swiftly without using any petrol, and officially covers up to 37 miles in electric-only mode, or 36 miles in Edition 1 trim.
Need something even quicker? You’ll want to read our Audi SQ5 review. The SQ5's 336bhp 3.0 diesel engine enables you to hit 62mph from rest in 5.1sec, riding a huge wave of low-rev grunt along the way. All Q5s have four-wheel drive (called quattro) and an automatic gearbox.
Suspension and ride comfort
The Q5's suspension varies depending on the trim level you choose. For the very best comfort, you'll want range-topping Vorsprung because it gets you adjustable air suspension for a super-smooth, class-leading ride at all speeds. The problem is, Vorsprung trim is astronomically expensive, and you can’t specify its air suspension on any other version.
The next comfiest trim is entry-level Sport. It comes with what Audi calls Dynamic suspension and relatively small (for the size of the car) 18in alloys. These deliver a perfectly agreeable ride that's firmer but more controlled than on the Volvo XC60.
S line and Edition 1 cars come with firm sports suspension and 19in or 20in alloy wheels respectively. Both are comfortable enough and settle nicely at high speeds. There's a bit of fidget and thump on scruffy town roads, but not enough to be truly off putting.
All Q5s have four-wheel drive, giving great traction in slippery conditions and good grip through corners. There's a lot less body roll than in the XC60 or DS 7. Indeed, the Q5 feels more akin to a well-sorted hatchback on stilts than a lumbering SUV – it's a close match for the BMW X3 in that respect.
Agility is one thing, but compared with the Jaguar F-Pace and the Porsche Macan the Q5 isn’t particularly rewarding to drive quickly. That's mainly due to its steering, which doesn't give you quite the same sense of connection to the front wheels that you’ll feel in the best large family SUVs. It's weighty and precise enough to allow you to place the car accurately through bends, though.
As you'd expect, the performance-focused SQ5 is the most capable Q5.
Noise and vibration
The Q5 is a wonderfully relaxing car on long journeys, with road and wind noise very well stifled, even at high speeds. There’s a bit more thump audible in cars fitted with regular suspension than in those with adaptive air suspension, but it’s far from annoying with either type.
Every engine is smooth and hushed, and the 40 TDI is among the quietest diesels in the class – although it can't beat the 50 TFSI e PHEV, which can shuffle around in near silence on electric power alone. Whichever engine you choose, the automatic gearbox slips smoothly through their gears.
The stop-start technology on the mild-hybrid engines (40 TDI and 45 TFSI) works well, restarting the engine quickly and smoothly, so you won’t get frustrated in heavy traffic.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Every version of the Audi Q5 gets a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel.
The seat keeps you securely in place through corners (especially in S line models, which have heavily bolstered front seats that pin you in place) and has four-way electrically adjustable lumbar support as standard, along with extendable under-thigh support. All these features make it easy to fine-tune your driving position.
Eight-way electrically adjustable seats are standard on Edition 1 trim, with memory settings reserved for Vorsprung models. Neither is available as an option on the other trims.
Another Q5 plus point is its 12.3in Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display, which presents information with impeccable clarity. It tops off a dashboard that’s logically arranged, with chunky, easy-to-grab controls for the air-conditioning.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
It’s easy to see out of the Q5. For starters, the windscreen pillars are sculpted in such a way as to avoid obscuring your vision through bends, and the large door mirrors give a great view of what’s coming up alongside you.
LED headlights are standard across the range, and on S line trim and above they gain a matrix feature that shapes their light output to avoid dazzling other motorists, enabling you to use main beam most of the time.
As with many modern cars, the Q5’s rear pillars are pretty chunky, but with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera standard on all models, this doesn’t present too much of an issue. Vorspung trim (or the Comfort and Sound pack available on lesser trims) adds a 360-degree bird's eye view camera to further alleviate any parking worries.
Sat nav and infotainment
All Q5s get a 10.1in touchscreen infotainment system with built-in sat-nav. Its graphics are sharp and it responds quickly to prods and swipes.
Unfortunately, whereas previous Q5s gave you a well-designed rotary controller interface between the front seats to operate the system (much like the one in the BMW X3), the latest model is touchscreen-only. As a result, the infotainment can be quite distracting to use when you're driving.
That said, the system in the Q5 is faster and more intuitive than the one in the Volvo XC60. Android Auto and Apple Carplay smartphone mirroring is standard across the range, so you can use your phone apps on the screen, and the optional Comfort and Sound pack (standard on Vorsprung trim) adds a great-sounding 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo.
The Q5 is a prime example of Audi’s knack for showing other manufacturers how to make cars look and feel fantastic inside. The materials are top notch and tactile, with dense, soft-surfaced materials in all prominent locations and any harder plastics kept well out of sight. The Q5’s interior is arguably the best in the class.
Better still, it’s well put together. When you press a switch or button that's meant to move, it will click precisely. If you press something that’s not meant to move, it won’t. Simple.
It’s not just inside that the Q5 feels solid, either. You hear a satisfying clunk when you close a door, and all the panel gaps appear to be millimetre-perfect. It beats even the XC60 for quality.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You won’t be short of space in the front of the Audi Q5. The seats move far enough back to give even the tallest folk plenty of leg room, and the high ceiling provides an equally generous amount of head room.
Storage space is abundant. Each front door has a sizeable bin that’s shaped to accept a large bottle, and there are a couple of cupholders between the driver and passenger. You’ll also find a small cubby in front of the gear selector for loose items, along with a bigger storage cubby underneath the front armrest. Oh, and there’s a good-sized glovebox too.
The two outer rear seats in the Q5 offer decent head room and a reasonable amount of knee room for those with long legs, although not quite as much as in the Volvo XC60. There’s enough width for three adults to sit side by side in decent comfort, too, but the middle passenger won’t be quite as comfortable as they would be in the back of those rivals.
The Q5 isn't available with seven seats, although neither is a BMW X3 or XC60. If you want to carry more than five, look at the Land Rover Discovery or Mercedes GLB. Of course, there are non-premium seven-seat SUVs too, such as the excellent Kia Sorento.
Storage options in the back include a couple of decent-sized door bins that each have space for a litre-sized bottle. If you add the relatively cheap Storage Pack, you get nets on the backs of the front seats and cupholders in the central rear armrest.
Seat folding and flexibility
The Q5's rear seatbacks split and fold in a handy 40/20/40 arrangement, giving plenty of permutations when it comes to carrying people and paraphernalia.
Sliding and reclining rear seats (named Rear Bench Seat Plus) are standard on Edition 1 and Vorsprung trims, and a pricey option on mid-level S line (it’s only available with the Nappa leather upgrade). Unfortunately, this feature isn't available on entry-level Sport trim.
Q5s without PHEV engines have a 500-litre boot – roughly matching what you'll find in the X3 or Mercedes GLC. With no intrusions from the wheel arches, it’s a useful square shape that’s easily big enough to swallow a fold-up buggy or up to nine carry-on suitcases. That’s one more than an XC60 will take.
PHEV models aren’t quite as generous, with 465 litres. Their batteries take up space beneath the floor, consuming the underfloor storage area you get on other Q5s.
The Rear Bench Seat Plus option enables you to increase boot space to 610 litres by sliding the back seats forwards. That's on a par with the luggage space in the enormous Sorento (although taller rear passengers won't thank you).
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
As a big premium-badged SUV, the Audi Q5 isn't cheap to buy. It’s priced competitively against its key rivals, though, and should be worth more than many of its peers when you decide to sell it on in the future.
The relatively slow depreciation also helps make the Q5 cheaper than you might imagine if you're buying on PCP finance. Mind you, the Jaguar F-Pace holds on to its value even better, and tends to cost less in monthly payments. You can check the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.
For the cheapest company car you'll want the PHEV 50 TFSIe, which offers the same benefit-in-kind (BIK) rates as the equivalent BMW X3, F-Pace and Land Rover Discovery Sport. However, the Volvo XC60 and Lexus NX sit in a lower band thanks to their longer electric ranges.
To get the best economy out of the TFSIe version, you’ll have to keep the battery at full charge. A dedicated home charger should get the Q5 from flat to full in 2.5 hours, while a three-pin household plug will take around eight hours. The F-Pace and Discovery Sport can charge even faster because they’re both equipped for rapid charging.
Equipment, options and extras
Standard equipment is reasonably generous across the Q5 range, even entry-level Sport gives you plenty of kit, including 18in alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, part-leather seats (heated in the front), cruise control and a powered tailgate.
Our favourite trim, S line, gives you larger 19in alloy wheels, more aggressive-looking bumpers, privacy glass and matrix LED headlights. It also allows you to opt for the rear seat package with more flexible seating.
Edition 1 adds bigger (20in) wheels, further styling touches and Napa leather seats with electric adjustment for those up front. Range-topping Vorsprung is lavishly equipped, with 21in wheels, panoramic sunroof, massaging front seats, a head-up display and adaptive cruise control, but it's very pricey indeed.
In the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey petrol Q5s finished in the top third of the 24 cars in the large SUV category while diesels were near the bottom.
Audi as a brand didn't fare particularly well, coming 26th out of 32 car makers included.
All Q5s come with a three-year warranty, capped at 60,000 miles. Extended warranties of up to five years (or 90,000 miles) are available. The PHEV model has a separate warranty for the battery pack that covers it for eight years or 100,000 miles.
Safety and security
The Q5 scored five stars out of five for safety in its Euro NCAP safety appraisal. A closer inspection of the scores reveals that it's not quite as good as the GLC or XC60 at protecting occupants in a crash.
Every Q5 gets six airbags as standard, as well as automatic emergency braking (AEB), while the optional City Assist pack (standard on Vorsprung trim) adds more preventative safety aids, including blind-spot monitoring and a system that warns you of approaching vehicles when you're backing out onto a road.
The optional Tour pack (again, standard on Vorsprung trim) includes turn assist, which stops the Q5 if you fail to spot a car when pulling out of a T-junction, plus adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition. All Q5s come with a Thatcham-approved alarm and immobiliser as standard.
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We recommend the 40 TDI diesel with the Sport trim level. That gets you an effortlessly powerful engine and generous levels of standard equipment.
If you choose a mild-hybrid Q5, you get a 500-litre boot. That’s roughly the size of those found in the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC. If you add an option called Rear Bench Seat Plus, you can slide the back seats forwards to increase the boot to 610 litres. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Q5 has a slightly smaller boot, at 465 litres.
|RRP price range||£46,785 - £78,840|
|Number of trims (see all)||10|
|Number of engines (see all)||8|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, hybrid, diesel|
|MPG range across all versions||156.9 - 44.1|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,181 / £5,714|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£2,361 / £11,429|