First Drive: Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 has dominated its segment, sitting at the top of the sales charts for every single one of the years it has been on sale.

With a new version hitting dealer forecourts in the new year, AOL Cars headed to New Mexico to see if the new Q5 is still top of the class.
The New Audi Q5
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The New Audi Q5

What is it?

The mid-sized model has been the brand's best-selling SUV since it went on sale in 2008, finding an incredible 1.6 million homes across the world. This revised version of the off-roader is charged with continuing that impressive feat.

It's been built at the manufacturer's most advanced 'smart factory' in Mexico and has been packed with clever technology, features revised engines and a smart, fresh look that Audi is hoping the car's large fan base will continue to love.

What's under the bonnet?

There are three engine options to pick from – but the best seller, and our pick of the bunch, is the 187bhp, 400Nm, 2.0-litre TDI, which will account for 60 per cent of sales in the UK.

This comes as standard with a clever new Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive system that can switch seamlessly between two and four-wheel drive automatically. This helps to optimise traction without causing economy to suffer. It'll achieve 56.5mpg with emissions of 132g/km.

A 2.0-litre TFSI petrol option with 250bhp is also available. It's capable of returning 40.9mpg and emits 157g/km. While a feisty 3.0-litre V6 TDI completes the line-up. It produces 284bhp and a stonking 620Nm of torque.

What's the spec like?

The Q5 comes packed with plenty of standard goodies including leather seats, a self-parking system, powered boot and a drive select option that lets you switch between sporty and more comfortable settings. Heated front seats, three-zone climate control and pre-sense collision prevention are all also included.

Any rivals?

Established rivals to the Audi Q5 come in the form of the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3. However, the Jaguar F-Pace has the German manufacturer looking closely over its shoulder.

At the launch of the Q5, an Audi spokesman told us: "Some people buy on looks for sure, and Jaguar did a really good job with the F-Pace," before adding, "it's on our radar."

What's it like to drive?

The new Q5 is quite simply brilliant to drive. We tested the car on a variety of terrain – from motorway to cities, beaches to dirt tracks, and it took them all in its stride. On the road it's quiet, refined and accomplished, while in the grit it was surefooted and secure.

The revised 2.0-litre diesel engine is punchy enough for a car of this size and works brilliantly when combined with the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. We did find the automatic tripped itself up from time to time, stuttering a little as it looked for a gear, but overall it's by far and away the best choice of transmission.

AOL Cars Verdict

Audi has moved the game on with its new Q5 but not ruined a recipe that has won it so many admirers. Stylish, comfortable and great to drive, it's now packed with even more clever technology and features.

With best in class performance and economy, and some highly tempting optional extras, we'd be very surprised if any of its rivals managed to usurp it at the top of the sales charts any time soon.

The Knowledge:

Power (bhp):
Torque (Nm): 400Nm
Max speed (mph): 135mph
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds
MPG: 56.5mpg
Emissions (g/km): 132g/km
Price: £37,170
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