Audi Q5 SQ5 TDI 5dr Tiptronic
- Price£ 53,700
More on those engines – most Q5s come with a 2.0-litre engine of some description, fuelled by either petrol or diesel. Prepare to be baffled by Audi's maddening number-badge structure: it's a mess. The '40 TDI’ makes 200bhp, and thanks to its new 12-volt hybrid boost allowing more coasting and longer periods with the engine switched off, official economy stands at 43mpg and 176g/km.
0-62mph takes under eight seconds – the Q5 doesn’t feel that quick because of its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is reluctant to kick-down even if you’ve got a load of throttle on, but it’s got all the performance you need in a car like this. Very refined too, though you can’t totally escape the agricultural rattle inherent in four-cylinder diesel engines.
We’ve tried the petrol in tandem with the 14.1kWh battery and electric motor of the Q5 plug-in hybrid, which Audi calls the Q5 TFSI e. Available in two power outputs, the 295bhp ‘50’ or 362bhp ‘55’, low CO2 emissions of just 49g/km mean it’s the Q5 you’ll want if you run a company car because it’ll save you a bundle in tax.
Happily it’s also quite good, with a smooth, incredibly clever powertrain and impressive turn of speed (the 55 only takes 5.3 seconds to hit 62mph). Audi claims 26 miles of electric range, with a top speed in EV mode of a handy 84mph. But the usual PHEV caveats apply – make sure it suits your commute/lifestyle (through or into a town? Can you do it all on electricity?) and have a think about where/when you can charge. If you can’t plug a PHEV in there’s really no point.
The PHEV is 290kg heavier than the equivalent petrol Q5, and while it remains a comfortable car, you can feel the suspension working hard to contain that extra mass. In general the Q5 drives well enough – like the A4 on which it’s based it doesn’t really involve you in the process (look at the Macan or F-Pace if that’s your thing), but majors instead on rolling refinement and safe, predictable handling. The ride is a bit on the firm side, so look towards the smaller alloy wheel options to stop it from becoming a problem.
So, to the 45 TFSI petrol. Far from being the humble runt of the litter, it's a pleasant balance of real-world economy (34mpg is what we got, beating Audi's claim by a couple of miles per gallon) and performance (0-62mph in 6.1sec). It's also more hushed than the diesel, and makes a better companion for the S-tronic gearbox. It suits the Q5's easy-going gait, and being the lightest powertrain, offers the most engaging handling of any Q5 this side of the SQ5. If you like that sort of thing.
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