Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Audi’s curious naming policy means that the two engines currently available in the Audi Q5 need some explaining. The 40 TDI is a 2.0-litre diesel with 201bhp, while the 45 TFSI is a 2.0-litre petrol with 261bhp.
Both engines come with four-wheel drive (quattro) and an automatic gearbox as standard, and both also have some mild-hybrid electrical assistance to give performance and fuel economy a small boost.
Assuming you’re willing to consider a diesel these days, the 40 TDI is a brilliant engine; it's effortlessly strong from low revs and the acceleration arrives smoothly and progressively as the revs rise. The 45 TFSI is ultimately a fair bit faster, managing 0-62mph in 6.1sec (1.5sec quicker than the 40TDI), but needs revving harder to get the best from it.
Suspension and ride comfort
The suspension that your Q5 is fitted with as standard depends on the trim level you choose. For the very best comfort you'll want range-topping Vorsprung trim because this gets you adjustable air suspension for a super-smooth, class-leading ride at all speeds.
The problem is, Vorsprung is astronomically expensive – so it's a good thing that you can pay extra to have air suspension on S line trim and above. If you don't tick that option box, S line and Edition 1 cars come with sports suspension; this is best avoided if comfort is a priority.
Meanwhile, entry-level Sport trim comes with what Audi calls 'Dynamic' suspension and relatively small (for the size of car) 18in alloys. These deliver a perfectly agreeable ride that's firmer but more controlled than a Volvo XC60's.
All models have four-wheel drive, giving great traction in slippery conditions and good grip through corners, too. There's a lot less body roll than in an XC60 or DS 7 Crossback, no matter which suspension you go for. Indeed, the Q5 feels more akin to a well-sorted hatchback on stilts than a lumbering SUV, and is a close match for the BMW X3.
Agility is one thing, but, compared with rivals such as the Jaguar F-Pace and Porsche Macan, the Q5 isn’t especially rewarding to drive quickly. This is 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 SUVs. It's precise enough to allow you to place the car accurately through bends, though.
Noise and vibration
The Q5 is a wonderfully relaxing car on long journeys. Wind noise is very well stifled, even at high speeds, and while road noise is more noticeable in cars fitted with regular suspension than it is in those with adaptive air suspension, it’s far from annoying even with the former.
Every engine, including the four-cylinder petrol (45 TFSI), is smooth and hushed, and the diesel (40 TDI) engine is among the quietest in the class. Whichever engine you choose, the automatic gearbox slips smoothly through their gears.
Both engines get mild hybrid technology that helps to boost efficiency by increasing the amount of time they can be switched off. They restart quickly and smoothly, so you won’t get frustrated in stop-start traffic.
Superb to drive, with a spacious, high-quality interior. One o...
The Toyota Land Cruiser is roomy and great off road, but it’s...
The Mercedes GLC isn't the best all-rounder, but it's still wo...
There are better all rounders, but there is a strong chance yo...