An accomplished driver’s car and practical SUV, but poor ride and high price let it down

What is it?

This is the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S tronic. It’s likely to be a rare site on the road compared with the diesel models.

The 208bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged model tested here is the only petrol-powered Audi Q5. Our test car had the optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and Drive Select system, which allows the steering and gearbox to be altered for responsiveness.

What’s it like?

Fast, refined and unexpectedly nimble. The Audi Q5 is no lightweight, with a substantial 1740kg to heft around, but Audi has successfully disguised the weight, almost managing to make the Q5 feel like a large hot hatch.

The Q5 gets the reworked turbocharged, direct-injection TFSI already seen in the A5 and A4. The 258lb ft of torque and impressive refinement both work to give the petrol Q5 very respectable, usable performance.

Outright acceleration is better than you expect but, in truth, it’s the in-gear overtaking ability and handling that marks the Q5 out as a highly accomplished sports SUV.

The optional Drive Select does make a difference at speed, but it still seems like an unnecessary and slightly complicated gimmick. Most people will choose to leave it in ‘auto’ and forget about it. In this default setting, the 2.0-litre Q5 offers responsive steering, seamless up-changes, decent body control and sharp handling

The only downsides are an occasionally violent kickdown and an oddly schizophrenic ride quality. Town roads and motorways rarely unsettle the Q5, though it’s never a truly relaxing ride.

Drive hard down a B-road at speed, however, and offset cambers or significant depressions in the road result in the car lurching uncomfortably and the firm suspension thumping noisily.

This is unfortunate in a car that otherwise proves itself to be a polished compact SUV and, with this engine in particular, the most engaging car to drive in its class.

It even excels in all those practical areas, like ample rear passenger space, a comfortable driving position and a big, well-shaped boot.

Should I buy one?

It will cost you if you do. As ever the Audi options list is expensive and difficult to avoid. You can also get a Land Rover Freelander TD4 dripping with kit for the basic price of a Q5 2.0 TFSi.

But if you really must have a premium SUV that handles well and can seat four adults in comfort this is a good option, and with a combined economy of 33.2mpg the Q5 TFSi has more than just niche appeal.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Nova Invicta 5 March 2009

Re: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S tronic

Having now driven this car for a month in S-line as opposed to SE as tested the suspension is rock hard and completely ruins the ride of the vehicle with the standard 19" wheels and it has given me acute lower back pain. The brake pedal is too high being my only other complaint in what is in every other respect a very decent car unfortunately I cannot see me keeping this car for three years and risk being a cripple.

The Apprentice 15 December 2008

Re: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S tronic

Quattro369 wrote:
And that is the point of this car is it? Being the fastest 'round your lanes'?

So the point of this vehicle being then that makes it worth the hideous price...?................?......................?....................?.

Ouch! the silence is hurting my ears.

At least you could have fun in the Suzuki without worrying that if you left it in a ditch you wouldn't be walking home with a third world level debt!

Quattro369 14 December 2008

Re: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI S tronic

cleverzippy wrote:

And that is the point of this car is it? Being the fastest 'round your lanes'?

I suppose it's better spending £11k looking like a *** in a Suzuki Swift than spending £35k looking like a *** in an Audi.

Haha! Classic post