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The Top Gear car review: Audi Q5
For:SQ5 is rather rapid, not anti-socially vast, cleverly packaged
Against:It's an Audi SUV. Attracts a certain sort of customer...
SQ5 Quattro 5dr Tip Auto
Most beguiling Q50 in the range, but not the car of choice in its sector.
Mid-life overhaul keeps the Q5 towards the top of the SUV class. Avoid the petrols and stick to diesel
This is Audi’s first ever ‘S’-badged diesel model. School-run mums, rejoice!
What we say:
Facelifted last year, Audi's X3 rival does most of what the Q7 can do without being offensive or OTT
What is it?
Decent small SUV which fits into Audi’s range neatly between the Q3 and aging Q7. It’s good, but strangely bland. Like motoring mashed potato.
The Q5 has a long wheelbase for its size thanks to a bit of clever packaging that stuffs the diff behind the engine and ahead of the clutch. That makes for a surprisingly capable tall car that could actually surprise lots of stuff. But it’s not fun and not exciting. What we have here is a supremely well-engineered car that doesn’t revel in going fast, it just does so cleanly and with the minimum fuss. Top points for ability, less for not caring what it feels like.
Audi bangs on about the Q5 being a ‘sporty’ SUV, which it isn’t really - it’s just a bit stiff. It rides well on the smaller wheel sizes, but drop a set of dubs on the thing (they look the best) and the ride quality deteriorates dramatically. Still, the engines are all rather lovely, there’s plenty of space and you could use a Q5 everyday and still have a cheeky grin left over.
Most people (77-percent in the UK according to Audi) will plump for the 2.0-TDI with 168bhp, 0-62mph in 9.5 and a top end of 126mph. And you can see why - it just works, smooth, surprisingly revvy, quiet enough. If you want quicker, then you can go for the all-new TFSI petrol with 211bhp, 0-62mph in a Golf GTi-matching 7.2 and 137mph top end. Top of the tree is the 268bhp 3.2-litre TFSI petrol. A fun new model is the SQ5, using Audi’s corking BiTurbo V6 diesel.
On the inside
Not as humongously crap to park in a multi-story carpark as the Q7, the Q5 is actually very, very useful. Plenty of room for four, enough for five, 540-litre boot with the seats up, 1560-litres with them folded. We hate to say this, but you really can stow plenty of stuff and still get there if you like more ‘active’ sports…
The little diesel will return mid 40s mpg, the bigger V6 diesel late thirties and the 2.0-litre petrol low thirties. Insurance is relatively high too.