2011 Audi Q5 3.0 TDI Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

A compact, cuter and more practical version of the oversized Q7.

What’s Not

Too many options for a ‘luxury SUV’, at too high a price premium.

X Factor

Good on-road handling, and ok off-road.

  • Country of Origin
    GERMANY
  • Price
    $75,500 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    176 kW / 500 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic Dual Clutch
  • ANCAP Rating
    5
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    7.5
  • C02
    199 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    580 L
  • Towing (braked)
    2000 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Samantha Stevens | Jul 18, 2011 | 3 Comments

AUDI Q5 REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Family Wagon/SUV
Price: $75,500

Fuel Economy (claimed): 7.5l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.4l/100km

OVERVIEW

When Audi, Volkswagen or Skoda bring out a new bodystyle, you can place a sure bet that it will pop up elsewhere across the group.

And just like the Q7, Audi’s version of the VW Touareg, the A4-based Q5 swiftly followed the release of the popular Golf-based VW Tiguan mid-sized SUV.

But why pay more for the four-ringed badge? Read on.

INTERIOR

Quality: Though there are hidden hard plastics below the beltline, the Q5 is as well put-together as any in the Audi stable.

But while quite nicely appointed and with a distinct premium feel, its somewhat basic feature list (for a premium purchase, that is) encourages optional box-ticking.

Comfort: ‘Pleather’ in the entry-level models isn’t so hot, but the top-shelf TDI features luxurious cowhide and a wide range of seat adjustment to match its command driving position. Rear seating is also comfortable and well-shaped.

Equipment: Six-stack 10-speaker stereo, Bluetooth and auxiliaries, 18-inch alloys, and roof rails for racks are standard fare. Safety, of course, is typically Audi and excellent.

Unfortunately, in common with its German counterparts, the options list for the Q5 is as long as it is expensive – up-spec it heavily, and you may as well buy an entry-level Q7.

Storage: The cargo area is the best in its class at 530 litres/1560 litres, but comes at the expense of a full-size spare – a huge oversight in a capable off-roader, particularly in Australia.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: The Q5 sits on the latest A4 sedan chassis, and inherits its stiffness and adept handling.

It also inherits the overly firm ride, though it’s cushioned a little by the SUV suspension.

It houses a choice of typically stunning drivetrains, but the weight of the luxury fit-out (maxing-out at 1865kg) makes the six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel the pick.

If your budget can handle it, take this one over the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel (even if its nose is a touch harder to turn in, thanks to the bigger diesel’s weight penalty).

Its figures are as good as its figure, with 176kW and a glorious 500Nm of torque clocking 0-100km/h in just 6.5secs.

The Q5 is actually quite capable off-road and well-up to the family excursion some way off the beaten track, provided you don’t go too far.

Refinement: Disguised under layers of sound deadening and sophisticated injection technology, off idle, you would be hard-pressed to pick the V6 as a diesel.

Combined with the company’s lush seven-speed dual clutch and paddle-shifters (V6 only), this is one civilised sometime off-roader.

Suspension: An extra 200mm of ground clearance (from the A4), soft-roader suspension calibration and electronic diff-locking allow for the odd off-road adventure without compromising on-road dynamics.

Braking: Wet, dry or on gravel, the Q5 brakes strongly and securely thanks to its sophisticated ABS and traction control systems (with hill-descent control and stability control tuned for loose surfaces).

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Five stars

Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts, front active headrests, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, off-road tuned electronic stability control, hill-descent control, reverse parking sensors

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: 3yr with roadside assist

Service costs: N/A

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

BMW X3 ($62,200 – $71,900): While it’s arguably prettier than the boxy X3, the Q5 cannot match the Beemer in handling and steering feedback, which is a far more effortless conversation.

However, there are only two drivetrains, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel or a 3.0-litre inline six petrol, and the latter is lower in torque and higher in fuel consumption than the top-line Q5 (190kW/310Nm, 9.0l/100km). 
(see X3 reviews)

Volvo XC60 ($59,950 –$70,150): An accomplished alternative but the polarising design may turn some off; and the XC60’s suspension and ESP are not as refined as the Audi. 
(see XC60 reviews)

Volkswagen Tiguan ($33,990 – $39,190): With 2.0-litre turbo petrol or diesel engines to choose from, an affordable price, comfortable interior (but with a tiny boot), the Tiguan is a sharply-priced alternative. 
(see Tiguan reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Where some wagon and SUV variations built on a common chassis feel like a sedan on stilts, the Q5 is different.

It manages to keep its ties to the A4 quite firmly knotted, particularly the very well-sorted and communicative handling. If anything, the longer travel suspension of the Q5 is the more appealing.

Audi’s 3.0 litre TDI is pricey, but potent, and very easy on the eye. If your wallet can stretch that far, it’s well worth a look.

Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, Audi, audi q5, 2011 Audi Q5, diesel, awd, suv, automatic, medium suv, family, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 5door, 7a, 2011 q5, audi q

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  • brissim says,
    3 years ago
    You might just want to update the alternatives. The X3 30d 6-cylinder diesel is now available which has better performance, better fuel economy, and lower list price then this Q5 3.0TDI.
  • Buffy says,
    3 years ago
    5 likes
    Yes the BMW has slightly better fuel economy but listen to it side by side with the Audi - the BM still sounds like a tractor. No one comes close to the refinement of an Audi diesel - they are streets ahead of any other manufaturer. The new update BMW X3 is much better than the model it replaced, but in my eyes is still quite an ugly looking car. I'd take the Audi any day.
  • Devo says,
    6 months ago
    Being a keen driver I never thought an SUV would be a satisfactory alternative to a sports wagon. But, as it is, the Q5 3.0 TDI has become my current ride. I agree with the review that the ride is relatively firm and it does communicate the surface of the road to the driver. However, the reward is bullet proof handling. Chuck it into a bend quickly and it does not complain. The steering stiffens a little and you can feel it eat up the corner. Drive it sedately and it is smooth like a limo. The acceleration is there when you need it, especially from rolling starts.
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