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Audi's new Q5 SUV deserves its high five

PUBLISHED: 09:54 20 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:54 20 February 2017

New Audi Q5 has even more road presence and oozes quality as it aims to build on the success of the original. Picture: Audi

New Audi Q5 has even more road presence and oozes quality as it aims to build on the success of the original. Picture: Audi

Audi

Audi's Q5 has been a best seller for the German car maker. This new version looks to build on that success. Can it achieve it? James Baggott finds out.

New Audi Q5 has even more road presence and oozes quality as it aims to build on the success of the original. Picture: AudiNew Audi Q5 has even more road presence and oozes quality as it aims to build on the success of the original. Picture: Audi

What’s new?

Replacing ultra-successful cars is never easy. When you’re refreshing a model that has topped the sales charts in its class every year it has been on sale, it’s all the more difficult.

That’s the challenge Audi faced with the mid-sized Q5, its best-selling sport utility vehicle since 2008 with 1.6 sales worldwide. This refreshed off-roader, built at its most advanced ‘smart factory’ in Mexico and charged with continuing that success, is packed with clever technology, features revised engines and a smart, fresh look. But has it done enough to steer buyers away from new pretenders to its crown, like Jaguar’s F-Pace?

New Audi Q5 fascia is well laid out and materials are top quality. Picture: AudiNew Audi Q5 fascia is well laid out and materials are top quality. Picture: Audi

Looks and image

It certainly has the looks. That smart new octagonal nose, dramatic headlights and sharp body creases give it fantastic road presence. That’s helped by a wonderfully squat stance and perfect proportions. Shame about the fake exhaust-like trim on the rear bumper.

Inside, solid, good quality materials abound and standard leather seats are comfortable and perfectly adjustable. It’s easy to get settled behind the wheel too, with plenty of space around the driver and logical controls for the fabulous multimedia system.

There's more kneeroom in the back of the new Audi Q5. Picture: AudiThere's more kneeroom in the back of the new Audi Q5. Picture: Audi

Space and practicality

Bigger and wider than before, but 90kg lighter, there’s more headroom and rear kneeroom, while boot space is up 10 litres to 550 with the rear seats in place, and 1,550 with them down.

Two adults will sit comfortably in the back, but a large transmission tunnel eats into legroom for a middle passenger.

Safety systems are plentiful – buyers can opt for active lane assist, pre-sense assistance to brake if it detects a crash is imminent and cross-traffic assistance to help when reversing out of parking spaces. In slow traffic it’s even partly autonomous, slowing down and speeding up in jams while keeping you in your lane.

New Audi Q5's boot is slightly bigger at 550 litres. Picture: AudiNew Audi Q5's boot is slightly bigger at 550 litres. Picture: Audi

Under the bonnet

With three engine options, the best seller will be the 190PS, 2.0-litre TDI turbo diesel, accounting for 60% of UK sales, which comes as standard with a clever new quattro ultra all-wheel drive system that can switch seamlessly between two and four-wheel drive to make the car more efficient without sacrificing traction. Combined fuel economy is 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 132g/km. It’s the quickest SUV in its class too, hitting 62mph in 7.9 seconds and going on to 135mph.

Thew other engines are a 252PS 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol and a 286PS 3.0-litre V6 TDI, the latter with a stonking 620Nm of torque.

Seven-speed automatic gearbox suits the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine. Picture: AudiSeven-speed automatic gearbox suits the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine. Picture: Audi

Behind the wheel

We tested the new Q5 on a variety of terrain – from motorway to cities, beaches to dirt tracks – and it took them all in its stride. On the road it’s quiet, refined and accomplished, while in the grit it was surefooted and secure.

The revised 2.0-litre TDI engine is punchy enough and works brilliantly with the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox.

Value for money

The Q5 is packed with standard goodies including leather seats, a self parking system, powered boot and a drive select system to switch between sporty and more comfortable settings. Heated front seats, three-zone climate control and pre-sense collision prevention are all also included.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Audi Q5 SE from £37,170, Sport from £38,270, S line from £40,220

Engine: 1,968cc, 190PS four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 400NM of torque

Transmission: Seven-speed S tronic automatic

Performance: 0-62mph 7.9 seconds; top speed 135mph

MPG: 56.5 combined

CO2 emissions: 132g/km

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