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Audi Q5 2017 review

2017 Audi Q5
EXPERT RATING
7.8
The new-generation Audi Q5 is difficult to fault as a premium SUV. All grades feel well-crafted, plush and high-tech. But how does it compare to its rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC or BMW X3?

About two months ago we met up with the new Audi Q5, but only for a brief drive around our nation’s capital. Audi told us we’d get to know the mid-sized SUV better at the official Australian launch in July. When they said better, we didn’t realise they meant Melbourne-to-Adelaide-on-a-900km-road-trip better. 

That’s exactly what happened. But did we learn anything new apart from the fact The Big Lobster has been refurbished, that wild emus are the stuff of nightmares, that it’s still dark at 7:00am at this time of year in Victoria, or that Adelaide’s residential property market offers outstanding value?

What about how this new generation Q5 compares to its rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC or BMW X3? Can you do skids in the dirt in a Q5? And the high-performance SQ5 costs how much?

Audi Q5 2017: 3.0 TFSI Quattro
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$65,120

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

How much is an Audi Q5? Well, it depends on which one you mean, there are several trim levels. The range kicks off with the Design grade, which is diesel-only and the most affordable in the line-up at $65,900. That's a $2000 increase over the out-going Q5 entry price. Above this is the Sport grade which you can have with a diesel engine for $70,700, or petrol for $73,211 (RRP). At the top of the range is the SQ5 which (for now) only comes with a petrol engine for $99,611 - about $7000 more than the previous version.

  • At the top of the line-up is the SQ5, a high-performance member of the Q5 family. At the top of the line-up is the SQ5, a high-performance member of the Q5 family.
  • The SQ5 grade adds 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive dampers, and tinted rear glass. The SQ5 grade adds 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive dampers, and tinted rear glass.
  • If you take money out of the equation, the SQ5 is the pick. If you take money out of the equation, the SQ5 is the pick.

At the launch Audi announced the S Line Black special edition would be available with just 70 going on sale in Australia. The diesel version of the S Line black pack is $82,900, while the petrol is $86,611.

Here’s a value curve ball for you. So, the entry-grade Porsche Macan SUV has the same drivetrain as the petrol Q5, with the same output, and lists for $80,410. I’m just going to leave that there, okay?

For a bit of a model comparison Mercedes-Benz’s GLC is within the same price range starting at $65,990 for the entry grade diesel and tops out at $89,900. A Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 is a rival to the SQ5 and costs about the same, at $101,400.

The Design grade’s standard features include a 7.0-inch screen (it's a multi-function display, but not a touch screen) with sat nav and a reversing camera, DAB+ digital radio, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry (also called a smart key), push button start (some call it keyless go or start, stop), three-zone climate control air conditioning, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, power tailgate, leather seats, power front seats, aluminium roof racks, ambient interior lighting, rain sensing wipers and 18-inch alloy wheels. There’s also some impressive advanced safety equipment, from AEB to blind spot warning (read more about the safety features below).

  • You can't see it but this second-generation Q5 sits on a new platform. (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown) You can't see it but this second-generation Q5 sits on a new platform. (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown)
  • You can pick the new Q5 from the previous one courtesy of a distinctive shoulder line.  (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown) You can pick the new Q5 from the previous one courtesy of a distinctive shoulder line. (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown)
  • The Q5’s cabin is completely new. (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown) The Q5’s cabin is completely new. (Audi Q5 2L TDI Sport variant shown)

Stepping up to the Sport grade brings all of the Design’s standard features and adds 20-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlights (not the adaptive headlights), sports seats up front, a larger 8.3-inch screen (for multimedia including a DVD player) plus the amazing 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit’ instrument cluster, a DVD player, 10-speaker sound system inclusing a subwoofer and a panoramic sunroof. There’s also more safety equipment such as adaptive cruise control.

The SQ5 is a high-performance member of the Q5 family (an even more hardcore RSQ5 is also tipped to come) and picks up the Sport's standard features, and adds 21-inch alloy wheels with red brake calipers, adaptive dampers, tinted windows (rear), more premium leather upholstery, heated front seats and a sliding rear row. There’s also not-necessary-but-nice things such as the colourful ambient lighting, aww… pretty. There’s more safety equipment, too, such as auto parking.

21-inch alloy wheels come with the SQ5, a step up from the 20-inch alloys on the Sport. 21-inch alloy wheels come with the SQ5, a step up from the 20-inch alloys on the Sport.

The optional 'Comfort' package ($2200 on the Design and $1900 on the Sport) brings things such as a sliding rear seat and electric steering column adjustment.

The $3300 'S Line' package is only available on the Sport and adds a tough body kit and 20-inch alloy rims.

Then there’s the 'Technik' package (only available on the Sport and SQ5). This technology pack adds some cool gadgets such as a head-up display, Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker stereo and matrix LED headlights.

There's also a 'Parking Assistance Package', using four wide-angle cameras to cover the entire area immediately around the vehicle, also incorporating 'Park assist' self parking to help steer you into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces.

'Adaptive damper control', and 'Adaptive air suspension' are optionally available on the quattro S tronic sport models.

There's no 'Premium Package' but then again the Q5 is already a prestige vehicle.

There are ten paint colours to choose from with Brilliant Black and Ibis White being no cost options, but you'll have to pay for such metallic hues as 'Azores Green', 'Manhattan Grey', 'Floret Silver', 'Matador Red', 'Java Brown', and 'Navarra Blue'.  

Apple CarPlay for your iPhone and Android Auto for Samsungs and the rest aren't offered on the Q5, which is a shame because these apps are excellent for maps and messaging.

Out of phone reception and GPS range we noticed the navigation system was patchy and when we really needed it in the dark, in the bush. 

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

You can’t see it but this second-generation Q5 sits on a new platform – the same one underpinning the A4, the A5, and the big daddy of Audi’s SUV range, the Q7. As well as changing the Q5's on-road behaviour the new platform is partly responsible for the SUV’s new exterior dimensions.

The Q5 is a mid-sized SUV with a 2819mm wheelbase (+12mm). While end-to-end length has grown to 4663mm (+34mm), and height to 1659mm (+4mm), width is unchanged at 1893mm.

BMW’s X3 is 21mm longer, 16mm taller and 12mm narrower.

You can pick the new Q5 from the previous one courtesy of a distinctive shoulder line, running the length of the body, and twisting over the wheel arches; making it more athletic, and to these eyes, more attractive than the last edition. 

  • The grille has been restyled to create more depth around its frame. The grille has been restyled to create more depth around its frame.
  • According to Audi, if you look (and imagine) hard enough you should be able to see the a letter Q in the redesigned headlights. According to Audi, if you look (and imagine) hard enough you should be able to see the a letter Q in the redesigned headlights.

No macho wheel arch extensions, side steps or bull bar here. This is a citified SUV, rather than an outback 4x4 blazer.

The grille has been restyled to create more depth around its frame, and according to Audi, if you look (and imagine) hard enough you should be able to see the a letter Q in the redesigned headlights.

All grades have the roof-top rear spoiler which is almost madatory on SUVs these days. The rear diffuser houses what appear to be chrome exhaust tips, but they're just cosmetic – the actual exuast pipe hides under the car. Trust me, I got under there and checked.

Now with bigger interior dimensions, too, the Q5’s cabin is completely new, from the display that sits high on a low dashboard, to the centre console redesigned around a new shifter and touch-pad for the media system, steering wheel and instrument cluster. 

  • The Q5’s cabin is completely new. The Q5’s cabin is completely new.
  • The centre console is redesigned around a new shifter and touch-pad for the media system, steering wheel and instrument cluster. The centre console is redesigned around a new shifter and touch-pad for the media system, steering wheel and instrument cluster.

Take a look at the interior photos, the Q5's cabin is not as blingy as the Benz, but more luxurious than the Beemer. The Q5’s interior is plush without being over-the-top, but with a high quality well-crafted feel from the soft-touch plastic door sills to the wood and aluminium trim on the centre console.

 

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

You’re not buying an SUV to lord it over people in the traffic, right? If you are, it shouldn’t be the only reason, because the Q5 is as practical as a pair of cargo pants, and nowhere near as embarrassing to be seen in.

The Q5’s boot is 10 litres bigger than the previous model's boot dimensions at 550 litres, matching the luggage capacity of the Benz GLC and BMW X3.

If you’ve optioned the sliding second row, the boot space can be increased to 610 litres up to the cargo cover and if you’ve ticked the option box marked air suspension, like an elephant kneeling down, the Q5 will lower itself to make loading easier.

The Q5 is a five seater (there's no third row), if you’re looking for seven seats then head on over to our Q7 review here.

Cabin space has been increased, and without resorting to a predictable Dr Who reference: when you’re in the driver’s seat the cockpit does feel larger than you’d expect from the outside. I can also sit behind my driving position with about 40mm to spare. Good considering I’m 191cm tall. Headroom is also excellent back there.

  • When you’re in the driver’s seat the cockpit does feel larger than you’d expect from the outside. When you’re in the driver’s seat the cockpit does feel larger than you’d expect from the outside.
  • In the back row you’ll find two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest and two more up front. In the back row you’ll find two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest and two more up front.

The middle rear position is the Q5’s short-straw seat, as it means sliding over to straddle the driveshaft hump and perching on a harder surface.

In the back row you’ll find two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest and two more up front, while all doors have bottle holders.

Storage space elsewhere isn't great: the centre console bin isn’t the biggest or deepest and there were times where I wished for a large, open storage dish under the dash to throw my wallet, keys and phone into rather than stuffing them in the cup holders and door pockets.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

There are three engine specifications currently in the Q5 line-up. Here are the stats for you. The regular Q5's have a 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and a 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol. The SQ5 is a different beast with a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 making 260kW (349 horsepower) /500Nm. Those are pretty impressive torque and power specs. (a turbo-diesel V6 version is expected to arrive soon).

The four cylinders have a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, while the V6 has an eight-speed dual-clutch. Yes, no manual gearbox.

The four-cylinder Q5s come with a new form of Audi’s all-wheel drive (AWD) system called 'Quattro Ultra' which switches between front- and AWD on demand. The SQ5 sticks with full-time AWD.

Have it fitted with a towbar and the Q5 has a braked towing capacity of 2000kg and a 200kg towball download. If you're serious about hauling a van or trailer perhaps you should read this towing review.

For the 0-100km/h sprint Audi says the 2.0TDI takes 7.9 seconds, the 2.0TFSI can better it with 6.3 seconds, while the SQ5 is almost a second ahead on speed with 5.4 seconds. Not bad accleration for SUVs with a weight of about 1.8 tonnes.

 

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

The official combined fuel consumption figure for the diesel 2.0 TDI Design is 5.3L/100km, which jumps to 5.5L/100km in the Sport grade. Similar mileage for both then, regardless of what flavour fuel you use.

We drove the 2.0 TDI Sport grade 261.3km and the trip computer reckoned we were using an average of 6.5L/200km, which is pretty handy diesel fuel consumption. Fuel tank capacity is 65 litres.

The petrol 2.0 TFSI is claimed to consume 7.3L/100km. After about 200km in the S-line Black, with that engine under the bonnet, our trip computer was reporting 11.1L/100km, but there had been some hard acceleration in 'Sport' mode, and the odd spot of dirt road fun which activated the AWD. Still, not bad fuel economy.

  • The $3300 'S Line' package is only available on the Sport and adds a tough body kit and 20-inch alloy wheels. The $3300 'S Line' package is only available on the Sport and adds a tough body kit and 20-inch alloy wheels.
  • After about 200km in the S-line Black our trip computer was reporting 11.1L/100km. After about 200km in the S-line Black our trip computer was reporting 11.1L/100km.
  • The S Line Black special edition will be available with just 70 going on sale in Australia. The S Line Black special edition will be available with just 70 going on sale in Australia.

The SQ5 officially consumes a combined 8.7L/100km, and after 189.8km our trip computer told us it was using 9.9L/100km. Not too shabby.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Q5 has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, but so does a little Audi A1, the difference is in the advanced safety features.

All Q5s (including the SQ5) come standard with city AEB which can recognise pedestrians and detect a potential collision at up to 85km/h, and reduce speed by 40km/h in an emergency. All models also feature ABS, ASR (also known as ESP), EDL and Brake Assist, as well as rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor and warning and an alert which will sound if you’re about to open your door on a cyclist or car.

Another cool standard safety feature is a rear collision detection system which will flash the hazard lights to alert surrounding traffic to a potential impact.

All Q5 have eight airbags, and there are two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether points across the rear row for child and baby seats.

The Audi Q5 is built in Mexico.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   6/10

Audi covers the Q5 with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Maintenance is scheduled every 12 months/15,000km. There is no capped price service cost scheme available.

Under the boot floor you’ll find a space saver spare. Better than a tyre repair kit, but still not good enough in Australia if you’re covering long distances in remote areas.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

The Aussie launch saw us climb into an SQ5 in Melbourne and step out 900km away in Adelaide, with a few hundred kays in between in the 2.0 TFSI S Line Black and a 2.0 TDI Sport. Yes, mum, we stopped to sleep somewhere overnight.

That amount of time sitting in anything should make you fairly familiar with it, but the lack of twisty roads meant there was little opportunity to really put the handling to the test. But fear not, we’ll road test the Q5 soon.

Despite the absence of corners, much was still learnt about this second-generation Q5.

The optional rear air suspension in the SQ5 made the course chip bitumen and regular undulations feel like carpet. The optional rear air suspension in the SQ5 made the course chip bitumen and regular undulations feel like carpet.

First up, despite the next destination being entered into the SQ5’s sat nav, I was lost within moments of leaving Melbourne airport. The combination of a messy sat nav display and my bad sense of direction was going to be an issue over the next billion kilometres.  

Back on track, and now in the civilised wilds outside Daylesford, only 100-odd kays north-west of Melbourne, we lost our GPS signal, phone reception, and therefore, sat nav.

We drove into the tiny, far western Victorian town of Dunkeld in a 2.0 TDI Sport, the xenon headlights of which hadn’t been cutting though the total darkness of the Aussie bush roads as well as the LEDs in the SQ5, although the ambient interior lighting package of 30 selectable colours was fabulous.

The next day we left Dunkeld for Kingston (home of the giant Lobster) in South Australia, in the limited launch edition S Line Black - the petrol version. Riding shot gun was the head of Audi’s Quattro AWD department, Dieter Weidemann, who kept pointing at emus and calling them wombats.

While he may not know much about Australian fauna, mechanical engineering is an entirely different story.

He told us he'd created a new 'Quattro Ultra' version of Audi’s AWD system that switched from front-wheel drive to AWD when you needed it. Then he encouraged me to try and trick it into losing traction on a dirt road. So I did, and what should have been a great power slide was an uneventful, perfect corner with no loss of traction. Although the Q5 has a good ground clearance of 200mm it's not designed for rough terrain. If you're looking for something with excellent off road capabiity then take a look at our off road reviews here.

Leaving the Lobster we bolted north road on the Princes Highway which has a surface resembling a cheese grater, but even at 110km/h there was hardly any road noise or wind noise intruding into the cabin – and that was the case on all variants. 

Back in the SQ5, the optional rear air suspension made the course chip bitumen and regular undulations feel like carpet, but the trade-off was a bit of body roll.

That turbo V6 in the SQ5 is more beautiful than brutal – those performance figures we covered don't lie. Gurgling deeply at idle and barking through the gears, the V6 sounds wonderful, but there is some synthetic aural enhancement happening.  

Stepping out of the SQ5 and back into a 2.0 TDI Design felt like a demotion, but 400Nm is hefty hitting power, and I enjoyed the torque on tap from 1750rpm. That diesel engine is remarkably quiet, too – enough to fool me into thinking we were in a petrol car until I saw the tacho and its 4500 rpm redline.

Steering in all variants is spot-on. Steering in all variants is spot-on.

The 2.0 TFSI S Line Black is no SQ5, but its 185kW/370Nm are the type of figures V8 diehards used to boast about around barbecues back in 1997.

The Design and Sport grades didn’t have air-suspension which meant a firmer, but still comfortable ride.

Steering in all variants is spot-on. The SQ5’s especially felt well-weighted with great feedback from the wheels and road below.

Visibility all-around is excellent, helped even more by a new positioning for the wing mirrors which also reduces wind noise.

We arrived in Adelaide just in time to enjoy the city’s mid-week peak-hour traffic, our SQ5 covered in dirt, looked tough. Bumper to bumper this was the slowest part of the 900km, we were tired and the adaptive cruise control was a massive help as we trundled our way to the airport for the trip home.

What really impressed me was that after nearly 1000km, and a day where we spent nearly eight hours in either the driver’s or co-pilot’s seat, I was never sore, or even uncomfortable.

That’s saying a lot. I’ve been sitting here in an expensive, hi-tech chair typing for only two hours and my back is killing me.

Verdict

The new-generation Audi Q5 is difficult to fault as a premium SUV. All grades feel well-crafted, plush and high-tech. They’re comfortable to sit in (for hours) and deliver impressive performance. If you take money out of the equation, the SQ5 is the pick, but the sensible sweet spot in the range is the 2.0 TDI Sport with its great torque and standard features.

Is the new generation Q5 enough to talk you out of a Benz GLC or BMW X3? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Check out Peter Anderson's video of the Q5 off-road driving experience in Germany here.

 

Pricing Guides

$55,880
Based on 37 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$46,688
Highest Price
$69,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0 TDI Quattro 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $40,810 – 47,960 2017 AUDI Q5 2017 2.0 TDI Quattro Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI QUATTRO DESIGN 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $46,688 – 57,500 2017 AUDI Q5 2017 2.0 TDI QUATTRO DESIGN Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI QUATTRO S LINE BLACK 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $68,750 – 78,980 2017 AUDI Q5 2017 2.0 TDI QUATTRO S LINE BLACK Pricing and Specs
2.0 TDI QUATTRO SPORT 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $51,990 – 65,990 2017 AUDI Q5 2017 2.0 TDI QUATTRO SPORT Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.8
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption8
Safety8
Ownership6
Driving8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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