Audi’s Q5 is now a tried-and-tested formula – classy, understated styling, a premium execution of features and attention to detail, solid drivetrain options, and a broad spread of price options across the model range. The updated 2021 Audi Q5 has arrived locally, and here we take a look at the 45 TFSI Quattro Sport variant.
For ease of repetition, we’ll call it the ‘45 TFSI’ and leave the ‘Quattro Sport’ out of it.
Our pricing and specification guide details the seven-model range, and for reference the 45 TFSI sits effectively bang in the middle priced from $76,600 before on-road costs. The Q5 range opens with the 40 TDI Quattro from $68,900 and rounds out with the 50 TDI Quattro S Line from $89,600.
The standard equipment list is lengthy, with highlights being LED headlights and tail-lights, electric tailgate, panoramic glass sunroof, electric front seats with four-way electric lumbar and memory function for the driver, Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, 10.1-inch touchscreen, Audi pre-sense city with AEB and pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, active lane assist, side assist, rear cross-traffic assist, and park assist with 360-degree camera.
Options also kick the price up, as you’d expect, and as tested our 45 TFSI starts from $89,290. The 20-inch wheels cost $1300, black exterior styling package $1300, metallic paint $1990, digital OLED rear lights $2500, and the Technik Package $5600.
|2021 Audi Q5 45 TFSI Quattro Sport|
|Engine||2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder|
|Power and torque||183kW at 5000–6500rpm, 370Nm at 1600–4300rpm|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim combined (ADR)||8.0L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||9.7L/100km|
|ANCAP safety rating||Five-star (2017)|
|Warranty||Three years / unlimited km|
|Main competitors||BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC|
|Price as tested (excluding on-road costs)||From $76,600|
There’s always a debate to be had regarding precisely which options you need or want – and you could probably live without the OLED tail-lights even though the technology is undeniably interesting. Likewise, the Technik Package, which adds Matrix LED headlights with dynamic front and rear indicators, a Bang and Olufsen 3D audio system, privacy glass and a head-up display.
Given 20-inch wheels are standard, do you really ‘need’ the optional wheel? The question for mine really is whether removing the options makes the Q5 feel less special or less premium, and I don’t think it does. Let us know what you think.
Our test 45 TFSI is a handsome SUV – District Green metallic exterior, Okapi brown interior, as well as optional 20-inch alloy wheels and a black exterior styling package. It certainly looks the part. What is it with German manufacturers and green? They do it so well.
We need to fully assess all the drivetrain options on the table as the updated Q5 hits the market, but on paper the 45 TFSI sets itself up as the potential pick of the range. The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder features a 12-volt mild hybrid system and makes 183kW and 370Nm. Peak torque is available early in the rev range, too, between 1600–4300rpm, making for a punchy driving experience.
Mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch and Audi’s excellent Quattro AWD system, the 45 TFSI is sharp enough in the sprint to 100km/h, too, taking just 6.3 seconds. The ADR fuel claim on the combined cycle is 8.0L/100km, and after a decent drive in both heavy traffic and some twisty back roads, our Q5 was showing 9.7L/100km.
Once again, Audi has delivered a cabin that’s heavy on premium quality and seemingly light on a feeling that anything is missing. It’s comfortable, insulated, and features the modern thinking we’re starting to see more and more of in cabin ergonomics.
For instance, the clever wireless phone-charging tray slides back to hide itself under the centre console lid and reveal the two cupholders when needed, or slides forward to cover the cupholders if you prefer. It’s also big enough to properly seat a large smartphone. It’s a small detail, sure, but it’s one you notice, and one that’s been properly thought out.
Wireless Apple CarPlay worked well for us on test, in that it connected as quickly as any system we’ve tested the first time and didn’t drop out or do anything silly thereafter. The proprietary satellite navigation also worked faultlessly on test. When you first get into your new Q5, you’ll want to spend the time to set yourself up as the primary driver and go through the raft of different customisation options the car offers.
Virtual Cockpit has been around for some time now, and despite my initial protestations over the death of the traditional dial, even I’m a full convert to the way in which it works and displays vital information. It’s strange driving an Audi without it now. On test, we ran the satellite navigation through the driver’s display, leaving the main screen for our smartphone mirroring – neat and user-friendly.
We loved the brown cabin, contrasting beautifully against the green exterior, and the execution is typically Audi – high quality but understated. Thud the door closed and you’re insulated from the world outside, barely any tyre or wind noise enters the cabin even on coarse-chip surfaces at highway speeds, and the ambience lends itself to a relaxed road trip with the family on board.
The second row can get short on knee room – as is this segment’s want – if you’ve got overly tall occupants up front, but it’s perfect for mum, dad and one or two kids. Likewise, the luggage area, which will be perfect unless you’re a two-massive-prams family. We’ll look at those areas more specifically when we get the new Q5 into the garage for some more in-depth testing. Crucially for passengers, the Q5’s glasshouse feels open and airy, aided by the sunroof in our tester, with visibility a strong point.
It doesn’t matter what the driving discipline, the driveline is always composed and has more than enough power to surge up to highway speed with ease. It’s smooth, too, either under hard load or light throttle application. The result is a relaxed gait at all times, with the feeling that you’re never taxing the engine in a way it doesn’t like.
Like the Q5 platform itself, the seven-speed transmission is also familiar, and it continues to deliver on the smoothness front especially. It’s utterly unfussed in traffic, never caught napping, and yet counters that relaxed nature with sharp shifts as you gather speed. It’s not perfect, but it’s not far off either.
Stop/start worked well enough in that it wasn’t lazy or slow, but the way in which the engine burbles back to life jars a little with the otherwise composed nature of the Q5. No matter, as ever, it’s one of the first things I look for in a test car – the off button for stop/start.
We’d expect our fuel use to drop – obviously on longer highway runs, but also around town – as the engine is properly run in, and you relax into a more sedate driving style than we did at launch. The ride is excellent despite the largish 20s that the Q5 rides on, and the suspension tune works a neat balance between the way it’s able to soak up a hefty mid-corner bump at speed or negotiate a sharp speed hump around town. There’s something ‘solid’ about the Q5, and the ride quality most illustrates that.
While there might be medium SUVs in the luxury segment with more panache or design flair, it’s difficult to dislike the Audi Q5. And, in many ways, that’s always been the case. From its inception, the Q5 has been a premium offering that delivers exactly what buyers want.
That last point is evidenced by the number of Q5 drivers who struggle to work out what to replace their old Q5 with, so they simply buy a new one. The updated model has raised the bar enough to once again appeal.