Can this SUV really have it all?
The version of the Q5 with the four-cylinder diesel engine has found plenty of buyers given that itâ€™s a very good engine. But then thereâ€™s the V6 diesel. While the 282bhp is delightful in the V6 thereâ€™s another rather outstanding figure. Torque, at 457lb ft, is more than youâ€™d find in the Audi R8 V10 Plus. And thatâ€™s in a family-friendly, high-riding SUV.
The 2.0 TDI is smooth and refined by diesel standards, and the 3.0 TDI takes it that bit further. True, at start-up thereâ€™s still a bit of a vibey grumble but as soon as youâ€™re moving it smooths right out and stays as quiet as the wind and road noise, which is minimal.
Audi Q5 3.0 TDI
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6, diesel
Torque: 457lb ft
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 147mph
CO2, tax band: 152g/km, 35%
Youâ€™ll notice that the 0-62mph time is a claimed 5.8 seconds, which might seem a bit far-fetched in this big SUV but actually it feels about right. The Q5 takes off like a missile, and makes you wonder why youâ€™d want the SQ5 performance model. Particularly as we were getting about 40mpg, as opposed to the SQ5â€™s 25mpg.
Part of that difference may be the seven-speed transmission in the SQ5 versus the eight-speed in this 3.0 TDI. This is a smooth transmission that always has the right cog for the job and makes the whole job increasingly effortless.
Sometimes replacing a four-pot with a bigger, heavier six-pot up front can upset the handling balance, but not here. Our vehicle had the air suspension, a Â£2000 option, and even if we put it into the lowest setting it still kept tight control of body movement and suspension travel. You could go for Dynamic mode but really you wouldnâ€™t gain anything other than more discomfort.
All this helps the cabin be an even more serene place than it would otherwise, and itâ€™s plenty serene to start with. Materials, fit, finish â€“ theyâ€™re all superlative. The cabin is also large enough for five and the boot can take nine carry-on cases, so just about big enough for a weekend away with your diva partner.
All the toys in the cabin are there because, if you want this engine, then you have to specify S line trim. That means prices start at Â£46,890, making it about Â£4000 more than the same trim with the 2.0-litre diesel engine. Cheap? Hardly. Good value? Quite possibly.
The issue is whether you have the budget to spare. If you do, then this is a terrific SUV that really is better than those further down the range and price range. But if you donâ€™t then the 2.0 TDI Sport is still a great version yet it will be cheaper to run after youâ€™ve spent about Â£7000 less buying it. It depends on the lengths of your arms and the depths of your pockets.