What is it?
Now four years old, the Audi Q5 faces increased competition for the soft-road-chic title, most notably from the Range Rover Evoque. A refresh aims to keep it in contention.
The telltale exterior difference is that the quadrilateral grille has become hexagonal. Bumper changes are less noticeable, as are rear diffuser and tailpipe revisions. Interior switchgear updates are best labelled ‘incremental’.
Poverty spec has been abolished, demoting ‘SE’ to the bottom rung, meaning all new Q5s have leather and rear parking sensors. ‘S line Plus’ is the new range-topper, boasting navigation and power tailgate.
What's it like?
All engines now employ direct injection, forced induction and stop-start. There are turbocharged petrol and diesel 2.0-litre four-pots, while 3.0-litre V6s comprise a supercharged petrol engine making 268bhp. The turbocharged oil-burner we drove is just 5bhp but 59lb ft punchier than before, yet 17 per cent more economical.
That additional twist palpably benefits in-gear acceleration with little lag, accompanied by a bassy, technical soundtrack that settles when cruising. Idle brings a reassuring hum; fast-acting start-stop is heard but hardly felt. The dual-clutch ’box kicks down quickly and decisively, and paddle override is light-switch instant. Solid-disc brakes disappoint for bite, though, and prompt meandering under duress.
New electromechanical steering is accurate but feel-free. ‘Comfort’ setting is our pick: suitably light for manoeuvres yet firm enough pushing on. ‘Dynamic’ is stiff and wooden; ‘Auto’ mode’s variation can be unsettling.
Slightly softer springs paired with firmer dampers somewhat relieve the Q5’s niggling urban ride, even with optional 20-inch alloys. It’s at the cost of increased body roll but, overall, this small shift suits the model’s remit.
Should I buy one?
The dynamically similar, £40k cooking diesel Evoque is slower, smaller, and slightly dirtier, but aesthetic preference is likely to be more decisive.