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How much? £30,600
On sale in the UK: Early 2009
Engine: 4cyl petrol, turbocharged, 1984cc, 208bhp @ 4300-6000rpm, 258lb ft @ 1500-4200rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph in 7.2sec, 137mph, 33.2mpg, 197g/km
How heavy / made of? 1740kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4629/1880/1653
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic (2008) review

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

First Drives

27 November 2008 10:34

Well, you do have to admire the attitude… Whilst my colleagues in the media remain determined to talk us all into ‘the forthcoming recession’ just because a pox of relentlessly greedy estate agents have had to give their Minis back and get proper jobs, Audi is having none of it.

At the recent 2008 Paris motor show, Audi obersturm gruppenfuhrer Rupert Stadler was asked how Audi is preparing for the financial crisis. His response was: ‘We’ve had a board meeting, discussed it thoroughly, and decided not to participate.’

Predictably, then, any suggestions that the introduction of the new Audi Q5 in the current climate is tantamount to re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic have been swatted aside with the gently bullish rejoinder that Audi has never been interested in overheating any of the rapidly burgeoning number of market segments it occupies, and that they’ll undoubtedly sell every one they make.

And, having driven it, I suspect they’re right. Largely because the damned thing’s so bloody convincing.

Really? The Audi Q5 doesn’t look that enthralling…

True, but to those of us who find the my-God-it’s-moving-towards-us Q7 so preposterously gargantuan that it’ll never really look the part until Audi fits a gun turret on the roof, the Q5 represents a welcome return to sizing sanity.

Boasting beefed-up A4 architecture under the skin, the Q5 doesn’t look instantly off-road friendly in the manner of a Freelander or Volvo XC60, but then again, it doesn’t look utter cack like an X3 either. Oversized front grille aside (and, no, I’m never going to stop complaining about that), this is classic, safe, Audi styling simply left a tad longer on the party balloon pump.

What's the Q5 like inside?

On board, space afforded by the five-seat layout is considerably abetted by the cunning relocation of the drive differentials in front of the clutch, buying an extra 152mm of wheelbase. Astern, sensibly engineered lever systems make rear seat origami a doddle, and Audi has no plans to insert a Bangalore torpedo up the exhaust of the Q7 through the introduction of a seven-seat variant.

The driving position’s first class, and only marred by a constriction of the footwell aggressive enough to push your resting clutch foot rather too far to the right; the only downside to that differential relocation. Happily, this model’s fitted with Audi’s superb seven-speed DSG gearbox (which we must now call ‘S tronic’), but I wonder, in manual guise, just how much room there would be for three pedals and two feet….

The tidy, A4 sourced dashboard is elegantly oriented towards the driver, and loaded with good stuff, including an extremely trick sat-nav which not only gives you topography in something akin to 3D, but also affords views of major cities’ landmark buildings in remarkable detail. Zoom in on Paris, for instance, and you can actually see blokes scrambling about on the Eiffel Tower’s steelwork with paint brushes. OK, I lied about that, but it’s still a nice conceit.

>> Click 'Next' to read the rest of CAR's Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI review

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Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic (2008) review

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Supersteve

Supersteve says

RE: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic review

Seems like Audi were right in the amount they thought they could sell - early Q5s shifted like hot cakes, although I've never seen that many on the road.

 

What puts me off more than anything is as martindore mentions - the amount of standard equipment is particularly miserly meaning an Audi Q5 that starts off at a sensible £30k rapidly gets closer to £40k as soon as you get so much of a whiff of the options brochure.

05 June 2009 17:14

 

DuncanBurgess

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DuncanBurgess says

RE: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic review

Irrespective of what one thinks of the actual car (although I to confess to liking the Q5 more than I thought I would - but not enough to buy one mind you), the more importnat thing about this article is that it is a quality of writing virtually back to the standard of CAR at it's best (I'm thinking of a mixture of Bulgin & Llewellyn). Congrats Mr f-C & keep up the good work.

05 December 2008 07:52

 

martindore

martindore says

RE: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic review

The cost of options puts a 3.0 diesel into the same price range as a BMW X5,even if the Q5 does come with leather as standard. However if you want Xenon headlights you have to buy the S line, add £2k, and even cruise control is an extra. I like the Q5, but I have to wonder if I wouldn't do better to spend a few grand more and buy an X5.

30 November 2008 21:45

 

Gmbh

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Gmbh says

RE: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic review

What a well written and detailed review! I am concerned with the "..... decided not to participate" statement from Audi. Seems quite an arrogant attitute when BMW even is already dropping future models and lookin to face out the storm. That attitude is very reminiscent of the Anerican 'Big Three'. And look what happened to them...___ Im also very suspicious of the fact that Audi posted a sales INCREASE in the UK this year, whilst Mercedes and BMW suffered substantial DECREASES. Creative accounting perhaps...?___As for the Q5- quite a predictable car i guess (apart from the heated/cooled cupholder and fact that it actuallys handles well).___ I believe the £160 gets you illuminated vanity mirrors and door puddle lights. Shocking! Interestingly, my Mk1 Audi A3 had these as standard, On the mk2 model its an optional extra. Tut Tut.

28 November 2008 11:33

 

Chinto

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Chinto says

RE: Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI quattro SE S tronic review

Vilagos: Regarding three- or fourspoke steering wheels: I actually prefer threespokes. However, the problem with most of todays threespokes is that the two horisontal spokes are positioned too high. To obtain a comfortable driving position with such steering wheels, one has to adjust it to its lowest position, often with resulting conflicts between steering wheel and knees.

27 November 2008 23:31

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