The Q5 is a big deal for Audi: since 2008, it has produced more than a million of these inoffensive bread-and-butter mid-sized SUVs in Germany, topped up by another 600k made in China and India. That’s 1.6 million Q5s, making it the global best-seller in the segment, and Audi’s best selling vehicle. So a new one needs to be on point to maintain family honour… and share prices.
Happily, new Q5 is properly new, not just a midlife refresh. It’s grown in pretty much every direction, with more room for people and things, and features a more defined look that makes it appear smaller than it did before – a function of good design. As ever with Audi, there’s an attention to detail that makes you respect the drawing department. OK, so it’s unlikely to have you frothing, but it’s unlikely to offend anyone either.
There’ll be five engines at launch, four diesels and one petrol, with three of the four diesels the same 2.0-litre with a triplet of different outputs of 148, 161 and 187bhp. The other is a 3.0-litre V6 singleturbo diesel with 282bhp and 457lb ft, and the petrol engine is a 2.0-litre with 252bhp and the ability to hit a purported 41.5mpg. We’ve only tried the petrol and larger diesel, and both are fast, quiet and generally fantastically unremarkable. Not bad, just very fit-for-purpose without really impinging on the experience.
There’s been a whole host of things changed under the skin, too. Redesigned suspension using a greater percentage of aluminium contributes to a 90kg weight saving for the 2.0-litre petrol compared with the old model (a bit less for the diesel), there’s better efficiency and new electronics. It rides well, handles exceptionally for this class of car, and generally makes a decent fist of everything you throw at it. The interior apes the new A4, and there’s the usual feeling that Audi comes up trumps with interior fixtures and fittings – including swathes of apps and extra functions.
It all adds up to a car that is significantly better than it was before, in pretty much every direction. Not a game changer, but certainly one that knows how to play the game.
Audi Q5 2017
Fantastically capable, surprising to drive, quite pricey. Unlikely to make many wish lists, but you can’t fault the execution.