Audi Q5 long-term test: report 4

This second-generation Audi Q5 has long been a favourite in the large SUV class, but has a recent facelift made it even better? We're living with one to find out...

Darren sitting inside Audi Q5

The car Audi Q5 45 TFSI quattro 265 S line S tronic Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor

Why it’s here We already think the Audi Q5 is one of the best large SUVs you can buy, but is this facelifted version a step forwards or a leap back?

Needs to Be comfortable for both short and long journeys, spacious and able to function as a mobile office when needed

Mileage 1647 List price £46,500 Target Price £43,498 Price as tested £52,800 Test economy 30.8mpg Official economy 32.8mpg

9 March 2021 – Data junkie

I’m someone who loves information. Whether it’s facts and figures or maps and markers, I want to be connected to every data strand available to build up the best possible picture of the world around me.

It's the same when I'm in a car. I want as much information about it as possible to be relayed to me through the instrument cluster. Digital instruments make that easier than ever, and I’ve been astonished by the sheer array of information my Audi Q5 can show me as I’m driving along.

The standard screen I’m greeted with when I start up my Q5 features digitised dials for the rev counter and speed, as well as showing what gear I’m in and my current speed as a digital readout – four pieces of the most basic information that almost all cars could tell you.

Audi Q5 dashboard

Then there’s the time, the mileage, the mileage on my current trip and the temperature outside, taking the data to eight separate pieces (but, again, nothing outstanding yet). There’s also a small bar running across the top of the screen telling me my remaining fuel range, what radio station or media source I’m listening to, whether my phone is connected and even how strong its signal is.

That’s 12 pieces of information so far, and at this point rivals using analogue dials and small information screens might start to struggle to compete.

The Audi Q5, though, is just getting started. In the middle of the screen is a large empty space for additional information, and I can choose to fill it with something as simple as the date and time, more detailed readouts from the media player and trip computer – or even a full-screen sat-nav.

The point is that without looking anywhere other than straight ahead of me or at the instrument cluster, I can see a detailed account of my surroundings, my car and my journey. No map needed for navigation, no separate media player for music, no notepad and pen to jot down my fuel economy – it’s all on a single screen.

Audi Q5 interior with virtual cockpit display

In some ways, the trend for car makers to develop ever more futuristic interiors is a bad thing. Take, for example, the shift away from traditional buttons and dials to touch-sensitive panels that are more distracting to use on the move. But I think launching a car with a digital screen instead of analogue dials is a brilliant idea.

Another aspect of the Q5’s infotainment system that has proved to be a real bonus recently is the wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. When you’re doing lots of short local journeys it can be a real faff to plug your phone in every time, so having a system that links up wirelessly is perfect.

It means, for example, that I can go from listening to my favourite audiobook through my headphones to hearing it through the car without touching any wires. A small perk, maybe – but yet another feature that makes my quality of life in the Audi Q5 that little bit better.

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