Audi Q5 SUV (2008-2016) - Engines, drive & performance

No Audi Q5 feels slow, but the SQ5 lays down startling performance figures for a diesel SUV

Carbuyer Rating

2.9 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Down a country road, there’s very little to distinguish the Audi Q5 from a standard Audi saloon. It doesn’t lean too much in corners and always feels responsive, but this comes at the cost of a stiff, uncompromising ride. This problem is particularly apparent in town, where large and medium-sized bumps and potholes make their presence felt inside.

The problem can be tackled (to a certain extent) by choosing smaller wheels (your options range from 18 to 21-inch) but whichever wheel size you pick, the Land Rover Freelander is still a more comfortable car.

The Q5’s problems don’t end with its stiff ride – inconsistently weighted steering also takes away from the driving experience, as it switches from feeling heavy to light with very little warning.

If you decide to venture off the beaten track, the Q5 should cope well with some light off-roading. All models come with quattro four-wheel drive and have an off-road setting for their ESP (Electronic Stability Program). Hill-descent control, which keeps control of the car’s speed on steep inclines, is also standard, but the Audi lacks an equivalent to Land Rover’s Terrain Response System, which makes the Freelander easier to control in a variety of off-road environments.

Audi Q5 diesel engines

All the engines offered in the Q5 are strong performers for this kind of car, but on paper, the 2.0-litre diesel models are quite a bit slower. The 148bhp version takes 10.8 seconds to get to 62mph from rest, but in the real world the gulf is less apparent, as the engine’s mid-range grunt masks its performance shortfall during normal everyday driving.

If you want more shove, you can always choose the 242bhp, 3.0-litre diesel, which can launch the car from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds, despite being paired as standard with Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

For the ultimate performance, though, the options are clear – the 322bhp SQ5 or the 335bhp SQ5 Plus. Both cars have the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel engine that gets them from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. Both cars have stiffer suspension setups than the rest of the Q5 range for lower for faster cornering.

Petrol engines

The 227bhp petrol model can cover 0-62mph in just 7.2 seconds when fitted with a manual gearbox, while choosing the automatic sees this time shrink to 6.9 seconds.

Next Steps

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    40 TDI Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £44,175

Most Economical

  • Name
    50 TFSI e Quattro Sport 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £51,750

Fastest

  • Name
    SQ5 TDI Quattro 5dr Tiptronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £56,860

Most Popular

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Tips and advice
7 Jan 2022

UK road tax costs 2021/2022 explained

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
Best cars
6 Jan 2022

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross facelift gets bold styling makeover
Citroen C5 Aircross facelift
Citroen C5 Aircross
12 Jan 2022

2022 Citroen C5 Aircross facelift gets bold styling makeover

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
29 Sep 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
1 Dec 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
15 Dec 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
27 Oct 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022