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Audi Q5 engines, driving and performance

How does the Audi Q5 drive?

Like a politician before an election, the Audi Q5 presents itself as strong and stable. You wouldn’t expect a premium family SUV to tear up the Tarmac – you’d probably expect it to be refined and comfortable instead. And the Q5 delivers in spades. It has a very assured, capable driving experience that inspires confidence on unfamiliar roads or in inclement weather.

There’s a selection of drive modes, including sporty Dynamic mode, which feels a little out of place in the Q5. Part of the change in driving modes is the throttle response, and Dynamic mode gives you all the power it can muster for the strongest performance. We’d expect most buyers to leave it in the normal mode for most, if not all, of the time, while there’s also an eco mode that limits responses to attempt to reduce fuel consumption.

The steering is light and the Q5 is easy to pilot through a congested town, but not so light that it becomes a chore to drive at higher speeds.

Is the Audi Q5 comfortable?

Given that it doesn’t really try to be sporty, it’s pleasing that the Q5 is generally really comfortable. The ride quality is excellent – the cushioning is well done and there’s little of that annoying fidget around town that can blight some of its rivals. Modestly sized wheels on Sport and S Line trims help this.

What’s the best engine to get?

Audi Q5 front end

Most buyers will choose between a petrol Q5, badged 45 TFSI, or a diesel 40 TDI one. Neither engine is short of power – the diesel’s low-down punch impresses, and the petrol is a surprisingly strong performer.

The diesel is going to be the best choice if you drive medium or long distances on a semi-regular basis. If that’s you, the 40 TDI engine will be the most economical – it manages 44mpg, compared to the 33mpg you might be able to achieve from the petrol. Just bear in mind that only covering short journeys in the diesel may cause DPF issues, and that the diesel will need occasional topups of AdBlue.

Keen to appeal to company-car drivers, Audi has made sure the Q5 is available as a plug-in hybrid, too. This has the best economy figures on paper – 188mpg, 35g/km and 36 miles of electric range – but you’ll only achieve these if you use the electric power for the majority of journeys. Use the plug-in hybrid for long journeys and, once the battery is empty, the petrol engine has to lug around a heavy battery pack so it won’t be particularly economical, making it better for mixed and urban driving.

A niche option is the Audi SQ5, a high-performance diesel version that’s incredibly quick cross-country but still not massively engaging.

Audi Q5 performance

Whichever engine you choose, you’re guaranteed punchy performance and the ability to mooch up to motorway speeds with no effort whatsoever. Both the petrol and the plug-in hybrid hit 0-62mph in a scant 6.1 seconds, while the 40 TDI diesel takes 7.6 seconds – but the difference doesn’t feel that big in real life. The range-topping SQ5 is unsurprisingly the fastest, taking just five seconds to reach that threshold.

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