Variant: 40 TDi
Engine / Transmission: 2.0 litre turbo diesel – 7 speed automatic transmission
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 5.4L/100km combined
Price: From $76667 drive away
In a Nutshell: If you have $80k for a smallish family car, buy this!
Of course, if you, like most of us, don’t have $80k to drop on what is effectively a plus size, jacked up hatchback this review will be purely academic. If you do have that kind of coin though, boy, oh boy, what a cracking car!
The hero of the Q5 range is the sporty and well equipped $112k SQ5, but this, the entry level Q5, is certainly the sweet spot in the range. As long as your family fits in the Q5, I really can’t see how you could want for anything. The Q5 really is a classic example of the Germans showing the rest of the world that, when it comes to cars, everyone else really is just playing catch up. It is beautifully built, presents ample real-world performance and the equipment list includes everything you need.
This latest generation of Q5 sees the sort of kit normally reserved for very high end Audi models starting to filter down. Wireless charging/wireless CarPlay is an example of this. So too are the OLED tail lights (until very recently, only available as an option on the RS6 and not available at all on the range topping R8).
The Q5 now also comes with mild hybrid technology, regardless of whether you tick the diesel or petrol option. A small lithium-ion battery is charged by recuperative braking and allows you to coast for a bit with the engine off. Think of it as a kind of extension to the normal stop/start mode fitted to nearly every modern car. I’ve got to admit, this isn’t often my favourite type of technology but even with the diesel engine it is effectively seamless.
Audi virtual cockpit is now standard across the range and a ten inch touch screen acts as an infotainment interface. Every Q5 also now uses Google Earth to enhance satnav.
The most impressive aspect of the Q5 is it’s overall sense of cohesion. As a family car, features like the touch free tailgate and hard wearing, thick carpet are always appreciated. As a driver’s car, the Q5 exhibits body roll, but given the SUV body, it is well controlled and the standard Quattro all wheel drive system allows you to really punt the thing down a bumpy country road better than much more powerful and expensive cars.
As a luxury car, the four interlinked rings certainly have cache and provide a nice driveway presence. It even tows well! A 2000kg towing limit and, unusually for a Euro, 200kg ball weight limit means the Q5 will tow a camper trailer. I mean, I wouldn’t take the thing down the Gibb River Road, but I’d take a Jayco up the coast behind a Q5 in a heartbeat.
Not So Impressive:
Well, it’s not cheap. The interior is gorgeously put together, but seems sparse. It’s an SUV – you can get an even better A6 for the nearly same coin. Um, er, that’s about it. I know that sounds like a cop out, but I just love how the Q5, in 40 TDi spec especially, is just a fantastic do-it-all car.
At the end of the day though, as a car guy, I just can’t ever see myself spending this much money on a family car. Of course the Q5 is better than, say, a five year old Kia. It is better in every single way. But kids are still going to spill thickshakes on the carpet and grind sand into the trim and throw the doors open into poles. For $80k you can take your pick from a low mileage Aston Martin Vantage or an ‘as good as new’ Merc E63? Starts to make the clapped out Kia look like an attractive second car, yeah?
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Look, if you are serious about the Q5 you really are in a sweet, sweet part of the market. You will almost certainly be cross shopping with similar mid-size SUVs from Mercedes, BMW and maybe even VW’s Touareg (another superb car), but I’d be surprised if you didn’t come home with the Q5… or a five year old Kia!