Added grunt and a slightly more forgiving ride improve the Audi Q5, while subtle styling changes won’t upset the faithful

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.

Audi Q5 3.0 TDI quattro S line

Price £40,035; 0-62mph 6.5sec; Top speed 140mph; Economy 44.1mpg; CO2 169g/km; Kerb weight 1860kg; Engine V6, 2967cc, turbodiesel; Power 242bhp at 4000-4500rpm; Torque 428lb ft at 1750-2750rpm; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch auto

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jer 12 November 2012


Its heavy,  I always think of this as mid size but this is the same weight as 5/XF. There is something desirable about the matt finishes on the dash an even the leather in these interior pictures. I wonder or do they look the same after a year or 2

SteveB 12 November 2012


VW must be laughing all the way to the Bank with the Audi brand. Personally, I wouldn't buy a 4x4, but if I did, then surely a spec'd up VW Tiguan would be just as good (maybe better). It's like an Only Fools & Horses episode, where the pub landlord sells some "stew" to Trigger for £1, and then a man in a smart suit comes up for the same meal, and the pub landlord says. "Of course Sir, Boeuf Bourguignon... That'll be £3 please"

Andrew Lee 8 November 2012


Is Richard Webber a part-time poet? This article has a curious tone and syntax. 'Meandering under duress'?? How far does this meandering take the hapless Q5 I wonder: into the next lane? Across the central reservation? And does 'cooking diesel' work in the kitchen too?