You can’t accuse Audi of not offering a car to suit all needs/ tastes/lifestyles (delete as applicable), but there has been a fairly obvious shortfall in its range.
With the number of small SUVs burgeoning, Audi has had no direct rival to the BMW X3. Until now… the Q5 has just gone on sale to meet the challenge of the BMW and forthcoming Volvo XC60 head on.
It’s exactly as you would expect an Audi SUV to be – squat, chunky and with a deep grille sitting prominently at the front. At the back, the styling of its Q7 bigger brother is apparent in the tailgate and light unit styling.
Three versions are available – a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol or two diesels in 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre guises.
All come with four-wheel drive and drive comes through either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed S tronic semi-automatic.
The Q5 has compact dimensions – it’s neither as tall as an X3 nor as long as an A4 Avant.
Inside, there is the usual array of seating positions so that the car can be catered for the lifestyle applications of the owner.
Behind the wheel
The dashboard architecture from the A4 makes you feel immediately at home in the Q5, with those familiar Audi traits of solidity and simplicity.
As it’s an SUV you sit higher up, but to drive the Q5 doesn’t feel like one – in fact, you forget you’re in a four-wheel drive vehicle as it handles very much like a conventional hatchback.
It rides well and the suspension soaks up road imperfections, while the handling is sharp and cornering is roll-free.
All three engines are impressive, although the default 2.0 TDI with 170bhp stands out for its performance and economy.
This will surely be the biggest fleet seller. However, the 2.0 TFSI petrol with 210bhp makes a strong case for itself with smooth power delivery and reasonable economy.
It has taken Audi a while to enter the small SUV sector, but it was worth the wait as the Q5 goes straight to the top of the class.
It looks good, has a quality feel and drives very well. With guaranteed strong residuals, this should be a user-chooser favourite.