Road Test: Audi Q5 2.0 TDI S line
The new Q5 is a huge step forward in all except Audi’s evolutionary styling, explains Alex Grant.
SECTOR SUV PRICE £40,220 FUEL 55.4mpg CO2 133g/km
Like the new A4 and A5, the biggest change between this second-generation Q5 and its predecessor isn’t the way it looks, but the way it drives. But the knock-on of those changes are likely to make it more popular for fleets, too.
It’s an evolutionary design update, but what’s underneath is all-new. The Q5 is longer, 90kg lighter in this expected best-seller spec, and more aerodynamic too. Despite dropping the entry-level 148bhp engine and manual gearboxes, the 188bhp 2.0-litre TDI has come down from 157g/km to 133g/km.
Audi’s latest-generation quattro technology helps. It’s only four-wheel drive when the car anticipates, via driver behaviour or weather conditions, that its extra traction is required. On a dry motorway it can separately decouple the propshaft and rear wheels to save fuel, while Dynamic mode shifts more torque to the rear wheels to give more neutral handling.
You get no sense that this is happening. The Q5 has a new-found sense of agility despite much better low-speed ride quality than its predecessor, yet it can also average 50mpg while cruising. An impressive figure for a large, automatic, four-wheel drive SUV. In line with the A4 and A5, cabin materials and switchgear quality are first-rate, and there’s almost no diesel rumble even under load.
It’s good enough that the compromises are minor. The rear bench slides forward to extend the boot capacity, but even then there’s barely any more room than in a Golf Estate, and though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard equipment, they’re a little counter-intuitive operated through a rotary switch instead of a touchscreen.
But the Q5 has matured as significantly between generations as its stablemates; better to drive, more economical and with the latest technology, it’s equipped to take on a decade of new challengers.