Motoring New Audi Q5 Replacing ultra-successful cars is never easy for a manufacturer, but that’s the challenge Audi has faced with the Q5, the brand’s best-selling SUV. Built at the manufacturer’s most advanced ‘smart factory’ in Mexico, the refreshed off-roader is packed with clever technology, features revised engines and a fresh look that the maker hopes will continue to win over buyers. But has it done enough?
Looks and image
The new Q5 may be a little less flashy than its Jaguar F-Pace rival, but that smart new octagonal nose, dramatic headlights and sharp body creases give it fantastic presence on the road. That’s helped by a wonderfully squat stance and perfect proportions.
What’s under the bonnet?
There are three engine options to pick from – but the best seller, and our pick of the bunch, is the 187bhp, 400Nm, 2.0-litre TDI, which will account for 60 per cent of sales in the UK. This comes as standard with a clever new Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive system that can switch seamlessly between two and four-wheel drive automatically. Fuel economy is 56.5mpg with emissions of 132g/km, and it hits 60mph in 7.7 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 135mph. A 2.0-litre TFSI petrol option with 250bhp is also available. It’s capable of returning 40.9mpg and emits 157g/km. A feisty 3.0-litre V6 TDi completes the line-up, producing 284bhp and a stonking 620Nm of torque.
Behind the wheel
The new Q5 is quite simply brilliant to drive. We tested the car on a variety of terrain, from motorways to cities and beaches to dirt tracks; it took them all in its stride. On the road it’s quiet, refined and accomplished, while in the grit it was surefooted and secure. The revised 2.0-litre diesel engine is punchy and works brilliantly when combined with the 7-speed S-tronic gearbox – overall it’s by far and away the best choice of transmission. Inside, the quality is clear. Solid, good quality materials are everywhere and the leather seats are comfortable and perfectly adjustable. There is plenty of space around the driver and logically placed controls for the multimedia system. There’s also a three-zone climate control system, an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the optional virtual cockpit, which replaces the dials with a 12.3-inch high resolution display.
Space and practicality
The new Q5 is bigger and wider than its predecessor – but still 90kg lighter. Inside there’s more headroom and rear knee-room, while boot space is up 10 litres. Two adults will sit comfortably in the back, but a large transmission tunnel seriously eats into rear legroom in the middle seat. Safety systems are plentiful and buyers can opt for active lane assist, pre-sense assistance which helps detect if a crash is imminent and can apply the brakes for you, and cross-traffic assistance at the rear that will help when pulling out of parking spaces. In slow moving traffic it’s even partly autonomous, slowing down and speeding up in jams while keeping you in your lane.
Audi has moved the game on with its new Q5 but not ruined a recipe that has won it so many admirers. Stylish, comfortable and great to drive, it’s now packed with even more clever technology and features. With best in class performance and economy, and some highly tempting optional extras, we’d be very surprised if any of its rivals managed to usurp it at the top of the sales charts any time soon. By James Baggott
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