As always with an Audi, things get more desirable when you open the door and climb inside. The materials are dense and sophisticated, and everything is finished with flawless precision and attention to detail. As the Q5 isn’t Audi’s newest car, its infotainment system isn’t Audi’s latest, so you still have buttons and dials rather than all manner of digital screens. That will be a good thing for those who value ease-of-use over technology or drama, but it is true that it feels a little low-fi compared with the newer all-singing-all-dancing systems. All versions have plenty of adjustment for the driving position, which is suitably commanding, and you get a clear view out in all directions.
The Q5 affords rear-seat passengers more generous legroom and there’s plenty of headroom for all three as well. A sliding rear bench allows you to shift the space available into the boot rather than the passenger compartment, so it can be used for legs or luggage as needed. Even at its smallest, the boot can hold 550 litres of stuff, and the sliding seat can boost this to 610 litres without dropping any chairs. This compares well to the Volvo XC60 and Lexus NX
, but some rivals like the Jaguar F-Pace and the relatively cavernous Land Rover Discovery Sport
have more luggage room. If you do lower the second row of seats, you get an impressive 1,550 litres of space, but the load bay isn’t completely flat as the folded seats lie at an angle. There’s an adequate amount of cubby holes and cupholders dotted around the cabin, too, so all in all, the Q5 isn’t the most practical car of its type, but it’s still very competitive.
Like with most Audis, the suspension you get depends on which grade of car you choose. Most models come with Comfort Dynamic suspension, which we’ve yet to try, while range-topping Vorsprung models come with an air suspension system that’s available as an optional extra (rather a pricey one) on other versions. Importantly for a car that’ll be used primarily as family transport, it delivers a lovely smooth ride that wafts you along luxuriously when you select the car’s Comfort setting. Shift the setting to Dynamic, and you’ll enjoy crisp body control that contributes to impressively sharp handling. No suspension set up will let the Q5 compete with the likes of a Porsche Macan
or Jaguar F-Pace for fun or involvement, though.
The steering, although it’s weighty and consistent, doesn’t have the same level of engagement. That said, there’s no doubting how competent the Q5 is through a set of bends. Although most versions have abandoned permanent four-wheel drive – standard on all previous Q5s – for an on-demand system that disengages drive to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions to save fuel, you’ll struggle to detect the difference in the traction delivered. That’s true both on the tarmac and on looser surfaces.