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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Audi Q5

Overall verdict
Quiet, comfortable, spacious and well-built, the Q5 hits the bases it needs to on the bullseye


Relaxed gait, refined manners, avoids falling through the 'too sporty' trapdoor


Pricey, especially with spec, and compromised space in PHEV. Updated touchscreen worse than it was before


What is it?

The Q5 has done the numbers for Audi ever since it came out in 2008, selling in vast quantities pretty much everywhere it’s available. In fact the old one was, says the company, the “world’s best-selling premium mid-size” SUV for some six years, ahead of the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC/GLK and related Porsche Macan.

The current, second-generation Q5 went on sale in the UK in 2017, and had a facelift midway through 2020. Based on the same ‘MLB’ platform as the A4, A5 and so-on, in Audi’s range it sits above the smaller Q3 but under the seven-seat Q7. Key improvements over the old Q5 are in the areas you’d expect – less weight (up to 90kg) thanks to much aluminium, better economy, more tech and so-on.

New for the 2020 facelift, besides revised LED light clusters and the mandatory ‘more grille’ styling tweaks, is a 12-volt mild-hybrid boost that makes the start-stop system more effective, aiding fuel economy. Inside, Audi binned its gloriously tactile and easy-to-use clickwheel menu sustem, for a new touchscreen. So, there are more fingerprints, and your eyes are off the road more often. Where’s the logic in that? Thankfully, the climate controls aren’t hidden in the touchscreen, such silliness being reserved for the newer Q8 and A6.

Competitors? You might consider a BMW X3 or Mercedes GLC, both of which are around the same size and price. Then there’s the Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60, or possibly either the Range Rover Evoque or Velar. Audi resisted a coupe version of the five-seat Q5, but as BMW flogs the X4 and Mercedes the GLC Coupe, it’s relented and there’ll be a more cramped Q5 Sportback along soon, to do the same job as this Q5, ever-so-slightly worse. Whoopee.

As for engines, with the normal Q5 you’ve got the simple choice of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel. Then you’ve got the Q5 TFSI e, which pairs said petrol engine with a battery and e-motor for low CO2 (and thus tax) and a few miles of electric-only range, and the six-cylinder diesel SQ5. All get automatic gearboxes and quattro all-wheel drive as standard. The hybrid is on hiatus at the time of writing, but is expected to return soon as Audi continues its plug-in push.

Prices start at around £42,000, rising to £55,000 or so for the SQ5. Or to a half a billion quid if you get a bit handsy with the options list. This is an Audi after all.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
SQ5 TDI 5dr Tiptronic
5.1s 172g/km 42.8 347 £53,700
The cheapest
40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
8.1s 144g/km 51.4 190 £40,835
The greenest
50 TFSI e Quattro Black Edition 5dr S Tronic
6.1s 49g/km 299 £51,530