On the day we figured the Audi Q5, we happened to have along an equivalent Land Rover Discovery Sport and a Mercedes-Benz GLC.

They were present more for ride and handling comparisons than simple performance figures, but the digits that emerged are significant enough.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Handling bias is front-led, so accelerating hard gets the ESP quickly and subtly intervening to prevent understeer

In the benchmark 0-60mph sprint, the Audi and Mercedes nudged close to each other. The GLC just dipped under eight seconds, the Audi just over. At this point, you can forget the Land Rover, which is more than a second slower than the Audi.

Over a standing quarter mile it’s a similar story: the Mercedes is still narrowly the more accelerative, plus it has the edge on in-gear flexibility, which is what really matters. Onto a level slip road it will accelerate from 30-70mph in 7.8sec, while the Audi wants 8.5sec.

The Audi’s gearing is a little unusual, being considerably lower than the Mercedes in the first five gears, then about equal in sixth and far longer in seventh.

You’d think there were big gaps in the upper gears (well, there are), but such is the S tronic gearbox’s ability to shuffle between ratios that it’s not something you’d notice unless you chose to pay it significant attention.

Perhaps it’s one reason why the Mercedes’ engine seems more muted, more often, than the Audi’s, the gearing of which has possibly been optimised more for legislative drive cycles. Or perhaps it’s just the installation.

Either way, if you hadn’t been told, you’d probably not notice, and either way, it’s a darn sight quieter than the Discovery Sport, whose Ingenium engine is frequently at the forefront of your mind as it grumbles away ahead of you, seemingly putting in more effort than the Audi or Mercedes for considerably less return.

The Q5’s brake pedal feel is good, and its slowing ability is strong.

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