All-new for 2017, the Audi Q5 replaces a car that lasted in this market for eight years and which continued to sell well. That’s some testament to its appeal, but with new versions of rivals like the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 winging in, Audi needed to bring something fresh to maintain the Q5’s sales numbers.
This latest model is offered with a choice of either a 2.0-litre diesel engine or this preferable 2.0-litre petrol engine. It slots into Audi’s range between the huge Q7 and the dinky Q3, and it’s this mid-sized five-seater formula that has proven such a hit for family buyers looking for quality and a suitably upmarket image.
It’s not cheap at $73,211 before you start adding options, and is only offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
- The TSFI petrol engine is smooth and punchy, yet at 7.3 litres per 100km isn’t going to be too punishing to run.
- The handling is composed and assured with none of the roly-poly feel that some high-riding cars in this class exhibit.
- To help save fuel, the Q5 runs in front-wheel-drive mode most of the time. Only when the clever ‘quattro ultra’ drive software predicts that the front wheels may start to struggle for grip does it send a percentage of drive rearwards, offering all-wheel drive when you really need it and efficient front-wheel drive when you don’t.
- Refinement is a major plus, with the 2.0-litre engine being impressively hushed at speed. Audi has also spent a lot of money on making the car aerodynamically quiet too.
- The steering is particularly good for an electrically-assisted setup. Switching to sport mode adds a little more weight to the wheel, if you’re in the mood.
- There’s a huge amount of safety and convenience kit fitted as standard, with gear like eight airbags, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and even warnings that prevent you reversing out of a space into crossing traffic or opening a door into approaching cars or bicycles. The stability control is so clever it can even tell if you’re carrying something on the roof bars.
- Interior space is bigger than before, with 550 litres of space in the back (up 10 litres on the old car). Specify the sliding rear bench and that can expand to 610 litres.
- The interior is beautifully finished and the ergonomics work well too.
- There’s an inductive charger that can wirelessly charge Android phones.
- The ride quality is decidedly firm. On country roads this can get annoying. The solution is a costly $3990 in the shape of the optional air suspension.
- Options rapidly get expensive. Add the comfort package ($2470), the parking assistance package ($1235), the Technik package ($5600) and the S line style package ($4290) on top of the must-have air suspension and you’re looking at $90k+. Then you discover that the only two standard paint colours are black and white.
- Many buyers will fork out extra for bigger alloy wheels, but these will further deteriorate ride quality and tend to make the car look a bit squat.
- Heated front seats are a $780 option. Given that some Hyundai Tucson models come with heated and cooled seats as standard, Audi looks a bit mean here.
- It’s a big $26k step up in price to the next model in the range, the racy SQ5