Thursday 18 July 2024

REVIEW – Audi Q5 Quattro S Line

Editor-in-chief, Senior Reviewer

Audi Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equipment
  • Value For Money


The new Audi Q5 has a lot to live up to, but it’s more than up to the job. Its body is bulkier, but with sleeker lines. The cabin has premium materials, a stylish design and nice ambiance. As a family car you will struggle to fault the Q5, and after just a week with the car it was a shame to see it go. The only things missing are some more exciting engines and a more comprehensive standard spec: the options list is dangerously long.

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Exterior Styling

The new Audi Q5 looks somewhat recognisable when compared to the old car, but seems much larger on the face of it. So much so that you could be forgiven for thinking this was in fact the love child of a Q5 and a Q7.

Yet despite the bulkier frame, the new Audi Q5 is a much sleeker car. At the front, the vast silver grille with four rings instantly identifies an Audi. Either side of this lie sculpted headlights which incorporate signature LED daytime running lights.

In addition to the grille, there is more silver accenting to the prominent corner bumper air intakes. The whole front end feels broad and imposing.

Move along to the side of the Q5 and the lines are slightly more curvaceous. One particularly prominent line is that which runs from the headlight to the taillight, curving ever-so-slightly over both front and back wheels.

Optional 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels fill the arches nicely. There are several wheel options to choose from, giving you the ability to get the look you desire.

At the back, the broadness continues with a tailgate that reaches the far outer lines of the body. A subtle roof spoiler helps frame the window, and hides the third brake light. The tail lights have bold textures, and they stand out as a styling touch.

There are many colours available for the Audi Q5, and the Navarra Blue of our test car is a wonderful choice. It gives the Q5 an executive and sophisticated feel. It’s a wow colour, but not in the loud, in-your-face sort of way.

Interior Finish

If you think the exterior is a winner, then just wait until you step inside the Audi Q5. It’s delectable. It doesn’t take long to settle in and become accustomed to the quality on offer.

One of the most refreshing features was the choice of Rotor Grey interior; smart move Audi Press Office. It gave the cabin a light, airy feel when contrasted with the black plastics and roof lining. The optional panoramic roof also helps add light to the cabin.

For the S Line you get big, half-leather body-hugging seats. They are incredibly inviting and extremely well balanced; proving comfort on a long drive and lateral support when driving enthusiastically.

Although optional, you really have to have the Virtual Cockpit. It is without doubt the best digital instrument cluster of any car on sale today. As well as being a focal point for the driver, it’s a great feature to show off to your friends.

The only minor complaint with the cabin is the multimedia screen, which is sort of stuck onto the dashboard and doesn’t have the same sleek feel as the rest of the interior.

The use of materials is inspired, with a nice variety of finishes. All are top quality, from the brushed aluminium to the alcantara. There isn’t a piece of scratchy plastic in sight. The perforated leather on the steering wheel and gear selector adds a nice sporty touch.

The optional extended ambient lighting is fantastic. You can customise the brightness and colour to suit your mood. Yet another showpiece when your out for a night time drive.


Quite surprisingly, there are limited engine choices for the Audi Q5, with two petrol and two diesel options. Our test car had the least powerful, but most popular one.

It’s a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel which offers 190PS and 400Nm. It’s a nice, torquey engine, and to maximise use of those torques, the all-wheel drive Q5 gets a 7-speed S Tronic gearbox.

The result is 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 135mph. That’s not exactly electric, and a car as good as the Audi Q5 deserves to feel strong and powerful.

If you are the type of person who doesn’t generally drive in a ‘spirited’ manner, then you’ll find the 2.0 TDI plentiful. It’s competent on the motorway, and has enough torque to feel nippy in the mid rev range.

But if, like us, you want the S Line to go as well as it looks, then you may want to consider the bigger diesel – a 3.0-litre V6 with 286PS. This isn’t the best value bang for buck though; the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol with 252PS is actually a similar price to the 2.0 TDI.

It is worth mentioning that the S Tronic gearbox is an utter gem. The changes are absolutely seamless, which is important when there are 7 gears to pick from.

Should you want a bit on involvement in the drive, switch to manual mode and use the steering wheel paddles.

The Audi Q5 has selectable drive modes, with different settings available for the steering, engine/gearbox and – if specified – the air suspension. There’s also a custom mode where you can choose your perfect combination.


Despite a large frame and tall stature, the Audi Q5 is pleasant to drive enthusiastically. Our test car had the optional air suspension fitted, and this was a great feature.

The beauty of the air suspension is that it gives the Q5 the best of both worlds. In comfort mode, it can increase the ride height slightly and soften the damping. So it’s properly comfortable. In dynamic mode, it hunkers down and firms up giving composure and proficiency around bends.

With the steering in sport mode there’s a nice weighty feel, and a direct response to inputs from the driver.

With the Quattro all-wheel drive system, you’ll never run out of grip. In fact, it laughs off the 190PS of the 2.0 TDI with a shrug of the shoulders. It won’t struggle with the 252PS 2.0 TFSI, nor with the 354PS of the mighty SQ5.

I was a little surprised to discover the Audi Q5 has a kerb weight of 1,770kg, because from the handling perspective it feels relatively nimble. It also stops well, pulling up swiftly when required.

Now we haven’t tested a car with the standard suspension, and some of you may be somewhat put off by the air suspension’s £2,000 price tag.

For what it’s worth, we would expect that the ride will still be well-balanced, but without the extremes of comfort and sportiness. Which, for most people, wouldn’t be a problem anyway.


For what it lacks in power, the 2.0 TDI makes up for in economy. Despite the government trying to ostracize the diesel engine, they still make a lot of sense for people who travel a fair few miles in a year.

Take the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI. Combined fuel consumption with 20-inch alloys is 50.4mpg, which is a fair bit more than the 39.8mpg of the 2.0 TFSI.

With start/stop technology, an ‘economy’ drive mode preset, and that efficient 7-speed S Tronic gearbox, the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI is adequately-equipped to keep your fuel costs down.

Even with the currently-expanding price gap between petrol and diesel, those travelling 10,000 miles a year would still be better off with the diesel.

CO2 emissions of 148g/km mean that first year VED is £205, and the list price in excess of £40,000 means that years 2-6 incur the additional surcharge to make them £450.

Any S Line model, petrol or diesel, will incur the surcharge. As will any of the Q5’s competitors. So in that respect it’s a level playing field.


The Audi range of SUVs is rather comprehensive these days; with the Q2, Q3, Q5, Q7 and Q8. And as it sits in the middle of the range, the Q5 is the perfect mid-size SUV.

You get the best of the practicality aspects with the Q5. It’s spacious, with plenty of room in the back for adults to sit comfortably.

That’s important. Given the Q5 can be specified with a larger, 70-litre fuel tank, it can cover a fair distance between fill ups, so it’s reassuring that adults can be comfortable even on a long run.

Speaking of long runs; the optional air-suspension makes for an excellent drive. The Audi Q5 is blissfully-comfortable on the motorway.

The boot is equally generous, with an impressive 550 litres of space with the seats up. Fold the rear seats down and you get 1,550 litres. That’s ample for just about any run to the tip, or trip to Ikea.

The advantage of the Audi Q5 over the likes of a Q7 or a Q8 is that it’s also small enough to live with day to day. You don’t feel claustrophobic when driving through a small village. Nor do you have to circle the car park twice to find a suitably large space.

Day to day, the Q5 handles the challenges of family life with ease. Car seats in the back. A pram in the boot, along with the shopping and a bag full of toys, snacks and everything else required for a trip with the kids.


If you’re looking for a raft of equipment, then look no further than the Audi Q5. Granted, quite a lot of the equipment is optional, but it’s still available nonetheless. The danger is actually knowing when to stop with the options; they’re all so tempting.

Standard equipment on all Q5 models is generally impressive. There’s an Audi multimedia system with Bluetooth, DAB and voice control.

For driving dynamics you get Audi drive select, which allows you to set a custom mode in addition to the presets. The Audi Q5 also comes with Quattro on demand. This system shifts the power around to best suit the conditions, from front-wheel drive only (to improve economy) to all-wheel drive when grip is in short supply.

To make the Q5 a luxury companion you get heated front seats, 3-zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, keyless go and an electric tailgate. Front and rear sensors help when parking.

In terms of safety equipment, the Q5 includes Audi Pre-sense City collision detection with autonomous emergency braking.

S-Line trim adds LED front and rear lights, the sportier body trim, privacy glass, front sports seats and satellite navigation.

Our test car was then fitted with a decent selection of the available optional extras. This included, amongst other things, a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, adaptive air suspension.

Ultimately you can have pretty much anything you could think of on an Audi Q5. Take the car as it comes, and there’s enough technology for you to enjoy. There are nice creature comforts, to give you that premium feel.

And then, if you’re looking for that little something extra – those features to make people go ‘wow’ – look over the options list.

Value For Money

When we talked about VED earlier, we mentioned the £310 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000. Which is just about every Audi Q5 that is sold.

You see the cheapest model – the Q5 2.0 TDI Quattro SE – is £39,075. Given that non-standard paint adds £645, I would bet that very few cars are sold for less than £40,000.

The 2.0 TDI Quattro S-Line starts at £42,500 and that actually represents excellent value for money when you consider the extra equipment over the SE model. In our opinion the kerb appeal from the S-Line body kit would be worth the difference alone.

But beware, the car you see in these pictures is not £42,500. With the endless list of optional extras, it sits in front of you at a whopping £54,515. We’ll give you a minute to pick your jaws up off the floor…

Now yes, £12,000 of extras is insane. The trick is to be savvy with options.

Take the Comfort and Sound Pack. £1,200 gets you full keyless entry with hands-free tailgate operation, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system with 755 watts and a rear-view camera. Good value, especially when compared to £900 for a head-up display. We know where our money would be going…

Of the more expensive options, we can really recommend the £2,000 adaptive air suspension. It just gives the Audi Q5 that extra bit of luxury in the ride that you’d expect on more expensive cars.

We also like the panoramic roof, but at £1,400 we could probably live without it. You’ll definitely want the £150 extended LED interior light pack for ambiance.

If you want the Virtual Cockpit, which you will, it’s in the £1,250 Technology Pack, along with MMI Touch, wireless charging and Audi Connect Infotainment Services (internet link).

Facts and Figures

Engine 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Max power 190PS at 3,800-4,200rpm
Max torque 400Nm at 1,750-3,000rpm
Drivetrain 7-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox, Quattro all-wheel drive
0-62mph 7.9 seconds
Top speed 135mph
Fuel tank size 70 litres
Fuel consumption 50.4 mpg, combined cycle
CO2 emissions 136 g/km
Kerb weight 1,770 kg
Towing capacity 2,400kg braked / 750kg unbraked
Luggage capacity 550 litres
NCAP rating 5 stars
Base price £42,500
Price as tested £54,515
Company website

3 thoughts on “REVIEW – Audi Q5 Quattro S Line

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  • Riad Halawi

    Hi, reallybenjoyed your review on the Q5 2.0 tdi s line. I also saw the video on YouTube which was great. I am thinking of upgrading from an A3 1.4 petrol s line sportback. Never had a diesel before so my question is, does it sound like a ‘diesel’? when in idle mode can you hear any rattles from the engine or is it relatively smooth? I generally do no more than about 10,000 miles per year so unsure if it would be wise to go for diesel over petrol!!

    Look forward to receiving any advice/tips.

    Many thanks


    • Dan Woods

      Hi Riad

      Glad you enjoyed the review and the video!

      The answer to your question is a sort of “yes and no”.

      At the end of the day, this is a four-cylinder diesel unit. It is, inherently, more rattly than, say, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel.

      Having said that, the Q5 is a well-insulated car, so from the driver’s seat you don’t get too much intrusion from the engine. And with the 8-speed S-Tronic gearbox the drive is smooth.

      And if you’re doing 10,000 miles plus, you’d definitely see the benefit of diesel.

      Hope that helps! If you have any further questions we’ll gladly answer them.

  • Rodolfo Dizon

    I test drive a 2011 Audi Q5 S line, 6 cylinder, it says on the ad that its gas although now reading some comments here, seems like it can be a diesel, also, when I test drive it, it actually runs good the way I feel it but its a little bumpy driving it, is this normal? thank you for your reply. by the way, it has 125 miles which I think is relatively low. Anything I should worry about ? Thank again.


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