The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Every version of the Q5 has a height-adjustable driver’s seat, as well as a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel. The seat keeps you gripped securely in place through corners and four-way electric adjustable lumbar support is standard, along with extendable under-thigh supports: features that make it easy to fine-tune your driving position. For those who want even more convenience, eight-way electrically adjustable seats are standard on the Vorsprung and SQ5, but aren't available as on option on lesser trims.
It’s not just comfort the Q5 does well, though. The clarity of its instrument dials (which are digital if you add the optional Virtual Cockpit) complements the clearly labelled, logically positioned dashboard buttons, making the Q5 remarkably stress-free to operate when you’re on the move.
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.
Bright xenon headlights are standard on the cheaper trims, while the posher trims come with even brighter LED headlights. You can add optional Matrix LED headlights that can shape their light output to avoid dazzling other motorists, enabling you to use main beam more of the time.
As with many modern cars, the Q5’s rear pillars are pretty chunky. But, with front and rear parking sensors standard on all models, this doesn’t present too much of an issue. You can also add a rear-facing or 360-degree bird's-eye-view camera to further alleviate any parking worries. The latter comes as standard with range-topping Vorsprung trim.
Sat nav and infotainment
Audi’s MMI infotainment system, with its rotary controller and simple shortcut buttons, is much easier (and safer) to use on the move than rival touchscreen systems, such as those fitted to the Volvo XC60 and Jaguar F-Pace. Only the BMW X3’s iDrive system can match MMI for intuitiveness.
The Q5’s high-mounted 7.0in screen has crisp graphics that are easy to see when you’re navigating the menus. Every Q5 has sat-nav, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, enabling you to use selected phone apps through the MMI system.
A Technology Pack (standard on Vorsprung trim and optional on the rest of the range) adds MMI Navigation Plus, which brings Google Maps with Streetview, onboard wi-fi and a larger, 8.3in screen. You also get wireless phone charging and a 4G internet connection. It's a good system, but newer rivals have better-looking graphics.
The Technology Pack also brings Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system. This replaces the standard instruments with a 12.3in display that you can configure in multiple ways to put lots of information, including navigation maps and phone contact lists, right in front of you.
The Q5 is a prime example of Audi’s knack of showing other manufacturers how to make cars look and feel fantastic inside. Press something that’s meant to move, such as a switch or a button, and it will click precisely. Press something that’s not meant to move, though, and it won’t. Simple. The Q5’s interior fixtures and fittings are very robust, not to mention tactile, with dense, soft-surfaced materials in prominent locations and harder plastics generally kept out of sight.
All models come with part or full-leather seats as standard, while ambient lighting is available, bathing the interior in your choice from 30 colours.
It’s not just inside that the Q5 feels solid, either. Close a door and you’ll hear a satisfying thunk, while all the panel gaps appear to be millimetre-perfect. Only the BMW X3 gets anywhere near to matching its ultra-high standards.