Audi Q5 review 2021

The Q5 is Audi’s mid-size SUV that offers plenty in the way of quality and refinement

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Out of 5


  • Great build quality
  • Refined and comfortable
  • Roomy interior


  • Rivals are better to drive
  • Styling is quite plain
  • No seven-seat option

Model review

Audi’s line-up of Q-badged SUVs is one of the most extensive, with models ranging from the compact Q2 all the way up to the Range Rover-rivaling Q8. 

And a solid middle ground in the range is the Q5 – a mid-size SUV that rivals the BMW X3 and Land Rover Discovery Sport. First introduced in 2009, it’s proven a very popular car for the firm, not least with families. 

Audi debuted its second-generation model in 2017, boasting a far more modern design inside and out, as well as a raft of new technology that truly brought it up-to-speed with rivals. As with its predecessor Audi introduced the sporty SQ5, which first came with TDI diesel power and later switched to petrol, while more recently a plug-in hybrid version was introduced to tap into the popular company car segment.

Latest model

Audi’s updates are never the most revolutionary, and the mid-life update in 2020 for the Q5 certainly sat on the subtler end of the spectrum. Changes included new bumpers and clever new LED lighting, which can even be configured to display different signatures and a range of additional colours. 

Inside, the Q5 comes with a new 10.1-inch touchscreen system, while a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is now included as standard, as previously it was only offered on top-spec versions. 

In 2021 Audi also introduced a second body style to the Q5 for the first time with the Sportback – essentially a slightly seeker ‘coupe’ model that rivals the BMW X4. 


Value for money

Given the Q5 is a premium SUV, it’s no surprise that it doesn’t come all that cheap, with the range starting from £44,440. That said, standard equipment is generous, including heated front seats, a reversing camera and large touchscreen and digital dials system. It’s the Sport and S line grades that make the most sense, as flagship Vorsprung and Competition Vorsprung trims are very expensive – prices rise upwards of £70,000, which is a silly amount of money when you consider you could buy Audi’s largest Q8 SUV for less. 

On the used market, first-generation Q5s are actually available for as little as £5,000, though you’ll need to almost double that for a model with under 80,000 miles on the clock. If your budget will allow, though, we reckon it could be worth upgrading to the latest generation, which is available from around £21,000 for a 2017 car with 50,000 miles on the clock at the time of writing. However, big savings are also available on nearly-new models. We saw a six-month old car with just 2,000 miles on the clock for £35,000 – nearly £10,000 off what it would cost new. 


Looks and image

Though looks will always divide opinion, we reckon the Q5 is one of the classiest looking cars in its segment, with its sharp lines, fancy LED lighting and large but well-integrated grille. We’d argue the car is quite spec-dependent, though, as entry-level Sport models lack the street cred of sportier-looking versions like the S line and Edition 1. There’s also the more glamorous Sportback version if you fancy something a bit different, too. 

That classy look carries on to the cabin, too, with the Q5 having one of the best interiors in this class. It has a strong focus on quality, with premium materials used throughout. A large 10.1-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital dial system are also included, which brings a great combination of quality and modernity. 

Though rivals like the BMW X3 pride themselves on sportiness, the Q5 is more focussed on comfort and refinement. Particularly on cars fitted with smaller alloys, the ride is especially compliant, while it’s an impressive cruiser, particularly on longer trips. That said, even when you press on, strong engines and sure-footed handling mean it’s still easy to drive quickly, if lacking the enjoyment of others in this class. 

Video review

Space and practicality

Let’s start by saying that – despite the Q5’s decent size – it’s a strict five-seater. You’ll need Audi’s Q7 if you want three rows of seats, while the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Mercedes GLB are options from other brands.

That said, the rest of the cabin is very roomy, with a generous amount of rear seat space – even for adults – while sliding rear seats let you adjust the boot/occupant space, depending on priorities. This means the boot measures between 550 and 610 litres of space, while offering an impressive 1,550 litres with the rear seats folded. The plug-in hybrid is marginally smaller, though, because of the space taken up by the batteries. 



Whether it’s a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid, the Q5 range has plenty to offer. All models also come with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox with quattro all-wheel-drive, too. 

Let’s start with the diesel engine, which is badged as the 40 TDI. It utilises a 201bhp 2.0-litre unit that lets the Q5 go from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds, and on to a top speed of 137mph. 

Next up is the 45 TFSI 2.0-litre petrol, which uses a punchy 262bhp 2.0-litre unit that means it can complete the 0-60mph sprint in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 149mph. 

Then there are the plug-in hybrids – the 50 TFSIe and 55 TFSIe. Both combine a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery, with the 50’s setup producing 295bhp in all – allowing for a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 148mph. 

Meanwhile the 55 TFSIe puts out an impressive 362bhp, which enables a speedy 0-60mph time of 5.1 seconds and the same 149mph top speed as its smaller sibling. 

Running costs

If you’re looking to bring your running costs down, it’s the plug-in hybrids that are the ones to go for, with their claimed 26-mile electric range allowing for some impressive figures. Audi says they can return 166.2mpg, with 40g/km CO2 emissions, though you’ll need to charge regularly to get stats close to those. 

If you’d prefer to stick with a regular engine, the diesel will be the one to go for, with Audi claiming 44.8mpg, with CO2 emissions of 165g/km. 

Things to look out for

The latest generation of Q5 so far seems to have an impressive reliability reputation, as it’s been ranked one of the most dependable models in its class. As with any car, check that the service history has no gaps and is up-to-date, along with inspecting the car for any damage. 



The mid-size premium SUV class remains as closely fought as ever, with key rivals for the Q5 including the BMW X3, Mercedes GLC and Volvo XC60. The Land Rover Discovery Sport and Jaguar F-Pace are also both good options, while the Lexus NX could be considered as a left-field alternative. 



Despite Audi’s premium status, the Q5 actually depreciates quite heavily, particularly in its first year of registration, when one-year-old models are available at around £10,000 off the list price. It could be worth buying a nearly-new version for this reason.

Trims explained

Six trim levels are available on the Audi Q5, with equipment highlights and pricing as follows.


All Q5s come with a generous amount of standard equipment, with even Sport models coming with 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension, LED headlights and part leather heated sports seats with electric lumbar support. You also get three-zone climate control, LED interior lighting, an electric boot and a 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation. Elsewhere, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, a reversing camera and 12.3-inch digital dial system are included.

From £44,440

S line

Upgrading to the S line brings larger 19-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights and a sportier bodykit. You also get leather and alcantara upholstery and sports suspension.

From £47,330


Exclusive to the 55 TFSIe plug-in hybrid, the Competition brings 20-inch alloy wheels, acoustic glass, Nappa leather sports seats with massage function and an upgraded sound system.

From £54,210 (plug-in hybrid only)

Edition 1

Building on the S line, Edition 1 versions benefit from styling changes like 20-inch black alloy wheels, red brake callipers and a black styling kit. You also get electric front seats, an extended LED interior lighting pack and Nappa leather upholstery.

From £51,555


Sitting at the top of the regular Q5 range, the Vorsprung is absolutely laden with standard equipment, including 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats and massaging front seats. It also features a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a head-up display, keyless entry and wireless smartphone charging. A whole host of additional safety technology is included, too, such as adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, park assist and a manoeuvre assist that aims to avoid low-speed bumps.

From £62,480

Competition Vorsprung

The Competition Vorsprung broadly mirrors the regular Vorsprung grade, but is available exclusively with the powerful 55 TFSIe plug-in hybrid powertrain.

From £72,460 (plug-in hybrid only)


  1. Audi’s mid-size SUV
  2. High-quality interior
  3. Very well equipped
  4. Huge choice of trim levels
  5. Plug-in hybrid available
  6. Roomy interior…
  7. But no seven-seat option
  8. Comfortable and refined
  9. Smooth and swift engines
  10. One of the best SUVs you can buy today

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