From £29,260
Very good, yet entirely predictable

Our Verdict

The Q5 is Audi's response to the Land Rover Freelander 2, BMW X3 and Volvo SC60

The Audi Q5 – the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer's rival to the Land Rover Freelander – may not be perfect, but it is a well rounded road-biased off-roader

What is it?

It’s not unusual, said Tom Jones, and even though he wasn’t talking about the Audi Q5, he might as well have been. It is not a breakthrough car, it’s not even a particularly innovative one.

In truth it is the inevitable, not-unappealing product of some corporate box-ticking and sensible exploitation of Audi’s modular platforms: another niche is added to the Ingolstadt brochure; a few more pennies are totted onto the profit column.

The onslaught of Audi models continues.

Beneath the Q5’s features (those of a ‘Performance SUV’, no less) lurks the modular chassis that underpins the Audi A4 saloon and A5 coupe.

Inside, there’s an A4-derived fascia, perfectly adequate spaciousness and a feeling of unfailing solidity from the quality of the materials. Audi’s MMI interface for the stereo/nav/system controls is even better than ever.

The A4/5 platform endows the BMW X3- and Freelander-rivalling 4x4 with the longest wheelbase in its class at 2.81m; a result of some clever packaging of the engine, transmission and front suspension, which lets the front axle be pushed as far forwards as possible. The same idea was meant, although, curiously, failed, to give the A5 more agile, sporting handling.

Nonetheless, I’ve just searched through the press bumph to find the word ‘sporty’ repeated no less than 24 times. This is, we’re told, dynamically the most adept SUV in its class.

>>See more pics of the new Audi Q5

What’s it like?

It may be the most dynamically capable SUV in its class. Maybe. BMW’s X3 would run it the closest, and may even best it depending on what you’re looking for.

The Audi is certainly among the most car-like to drive of all SUVs. The driving position is very normal and a high, rising waistline makes it feel lower than it is; though this also restricts visibility.

It steers accurately, too, although with – like the A4 – a curious mix of weight. Usually it’s too light, switching to too heavy quite quickly off-centre.

The low-speed ride is largely fine, though there’s the occasional crash. It’s at its best on the standard, 18-inch wheels with 60 profile tyres.

Our test Q5’s power came from a 3.0-litre, V6 TDI engine, powerful and quiet, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission (DSG by another name). It’s the first time this 7-speed twin-clutcher has been fitted to a longitudinal engine and it’s as clinically efficient as usual.

The Q5 corners with respectable resistance to lean, and offers reasonable grip. An X3 would feel perhaps less agile, but with better body control.

Better is its refinement. Wind noise, road noise and engine noise are all as well-suppressed as they are on executive cars for the same money.

Oh, and for all the tall-estate looks (and economy and emissions, to be fair) there’s a bit of off-road ability too; more than an Allroad, at any rate. Approach and departure angles of 25 degrees. Ground clearance 200mm. Wade depth half a metre. You can wake up again now.

Should I buy one?

If you want a car like the Q5, this is a pleasant option. Prices will be high by comparison to rivals such as the Freelander, but then the 8000 UK residents predicted to buy the Q5 are unlikely to let that stop them. If you want to like this car, you probably will.

Matt Prior

Join the debate


11 July 2008

I like it! Best looking SUV in its class, that's for sure. As long as Audi's reputation for quality and finish are intact, this would be the SUV for me .............. ooh er ... depending on where fuel prices go, that is.

12 July 2008

sorry, but this is just another pointless "we've not actually driven this car" article.

12 July 2008

The 'A3 on steroids look is appealling' but so predictable and I doubt very much whether it will be a small car, given how gargantuan the Q7 is. This car is probably not far off the bulk of the seven-seater XC90 or Captiva but with only 5 seats.

12 July 2008

Q5 will be 5cm longer than a Freelander - internal dimensions feel more like a RAV4. The car is in the UK and can be seen at the Goodwood Festival of Speed within the Audi showroom/stand - and yes you can climb all over it. The press pack was released on the 9th July - go to There's 11 pages of information - all you need to mock up a fake test drive. The key question for me is price - I may be tempted. Autocar? Printing a "test drive" and not having driven it? Completely unacceptable. PS. If you do get to Goodwood, try and blag your way into the circuit and a seat as a passenger in the new RS6 - eats R8's for breakfast; 150mph+ on the back straight!:-)

12 July 2008

I did read the article and have to say that it is obvious that you dont want to like the car and therefore obviously dont, to use your closing line

12 July 2008

I agree with Dryfly.

An unpleasant,slightly sneering article, with very little of the real information potential buyers and car enthusiasts want to read. The tone merely meant that I disregarded the opinions of the 'tester' entirely. Result: A non-article.Don't expect me to buy the magazine this week

12 July 2008

Nice try but BMW beats Audi easily.

14 July 2008

Unless dryfly has two identities, Matt Prior still can't stick to the facts. It was another poster who suggested he hadn't driven the car.

But any advantage of road testing is largely lost when the Tester clearly has so many pre-conceived opinions before he opens the car door. The result was not much better than if he hadn't driven it. Perhaps that is what the other poster really meant.

14 July 2008

I'm going to stick up for Matt Prior here. I can't see what any of you are on about. He drove the car, thought it was reasonably good but uninspired, and that's what he wrote.

14 July 2008

Like the new A4/A5 I wanted to like the Q5, but they are all too boring and over priced for what they are (VW's with flashy grills), BMW's X3 beats it hands down. Funny how none of the testers have commented on Audi now fitting top hung throttle pedal's just like most of the other cheap brands, everyone knows that prestige manufacturers and sports cars always have proper floor mounted pedels.



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