The Q5 fulfills its role admirably, with this high-powered 3.0-litre V6 TDI Type FY providing an excellent blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy, as well as good handling, ride comfort and all-round practicality…
FULL ROAD TEST Q5 S-LINE 3.0 V6 TDI 286 PS 8-SPD TIPTRONIC Type FY
Originally introduced at the Beijing Auto Show in 2008, the first Audi Q5 (Type 8R) was for many years the world’s best-selling compact luxury crossover SUV in its class. Then it was based on the same MLB platform as the contemporary A4 and A5. With various permutations of four-cylinder 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI or a 3.0 V6 TDI, all longitudinally installed, the mid-sized SUV came with quattro four-wheel drive and 6-speed-manual or 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic, and Tiptronic auto transmission for the higher powered models.
A mild facelift in 2012 provided restyled headlights and tail lights, upgraded engines with higher outputs, and a high-performance SQ5 version in 2013 was powered by a 313 PS 3.0 twin-turbo V6 TDI with 8-speed Tiptronic auto transmission, followed by an SQ5 Plus with 340 PS 3.0 TDI diesel power. A 354 PS 3.0 TFSI petrol-powered version was also available for many non-European markets and then later followed for the UK to replace the 3.0 TDI.
‘AUDI VIRTUAL COCKPIT DIGITAL DASHBOARD PROVIDES EXCELLENT GRAPHICS, WITH A CHOICE OF TWO VIEWS…’
The current second generation model (Type FY) was first seen at the Paris Show in 2016, now based on a version of the MLB Evo platform that is used for the B9 A4, A5 and Q7, with five-link suspension at both front and rear. Previewed in our February 2017 issue, following the international launch in Mexico, where it is built at San José Chiapa, we reported on a first UK drive event in the April 2017 issue. Better late than never, this is our first major road test of the Q5 since then, although we tested the high-performance SQ5 with 354 PS 3.0 TFSI in our January 2018 issue.
‘It was no easy task to design its successor, but that is precisely why it is so very exciting’ said Rupert Stadler, then Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi AG, ahead of the public debut of the second generation (Type FY) model at the 2016 Paris Show. ‘With the new Q5 we are setting the bar a notch higher. Among the great innovations are the quattro drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, the air suspension with damper control and a comprehensive line-up of infotainment and assistance systems.’
‘THE BASIC VOLUME OF THE LUGGAGE COMPARTMENT CAN BE VARIED BY AS MUCH AS 60 LITRES, FROM 550 TO 610 LITRES IF THE OPTIONAL THREE-PART (40:20:40) REAR BENCH SEAT PLUS IS SPECIFIED…’
Although the new Q5 is slightly larger all round, a strategic mixture of high-tensile steel and aluminium in the construction of the bodyshell not only provides increased bodyshell integrity for a high level of vibration comfort and improved interior acoustics, but the unladen weight is actually reduced, by up to 90 kg in some cases.
The styling is stronger, featuring sharp chiselled edges and sculptured lines with a clear horizontal emphasis, dominated by a sculpturally flared single-frame grille in place of the previous well-rounded appearance, although the aerodynamic efficiency is also improved and wind noise is subsequently very low.
The side proile is dominated by wheel arches that are heavily emphasised with flat-edged concentric trims, with the low greenhouse tapering down at the rear, more like a sleek coupé than a hatchback, with a wraparound tailgate and the rear bumper incorporating a diffuser with integrated tailpipes.
Following standard Audi range structure, the trim levels start with the SE, though Sport and S line up to the high-performance SQ5 flagship model. So extensive are all the various specification listings that we’ll leave you to read up on the full details from the model brochure and price lists, but suffice it to say that this S line model is very highly equipped.
‘IT IS ALMOST IMPERCEPTIBLE IN ALL BUT HARD ACCELERATION AND NOT AT ALL INTRUSIVE AT HIGH MOTORWAY CRUISING…’
Particular features include the specially styled S line body kit comprising bumpers, side skirts, diffuser and rear spoiler, plus privacy glass, along with all-weather LED headlights and tail lights with the dynamic ‘sweeping’ indicators. The alloy wheels are upgraded to 8.0 x 19-inch rims with 235/55 R19 tyres and the interior features front sports seats, brushed aluminium trim inlays and the High multifunction three-spoke steering wheel with leather trim and cloth headlining in black. he S line trim level can be specified in conjunction with all three available engine options; two four-cylinder engines, a 190 PS 2.0 TDI diesel engine or a 252 PS 2.0 TFSI petrol, both with the 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto transmission and quattro four-wheel drive, or a 286 PS version of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, as tested here. The 354 PS version of the 3.0-litre V6 TFSI petrol engine is reserved exclusively for the high performance SQ5 version. Both the high-powered V6 engines come only in conjunction with the 8-speed tiptronic auto transmission and quattro four-wheel drive.
This particular 3.0-litre TDI is the 24-valve V6 turbo-diesel engine that can also be found in the Audi Q7 and the VWTouareg, with its maximum power of 286 PS between 3500 and 4000 rpm and up to 600 Nm (440 lb.ft) of torque from 2250 to 3250 rpm, providing a very strong and fuel-efficient performance. Indeed, its torque figure is greater than that of the 5.2 V10 engine in the R8 supercar!
Thanks to the combination of diesel particulate filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system using the injection of AdBlue additive to reduce NOx emissions in particular, it is still fully capable of meeting the latest EU6 AG emissions regulations.
The current direct-injection diesel engines are now very quiet and reined, such that it only ever makes itself known with a slight gruffness on first start-up from cold; once running cleanly, it is almost imperceptible in all but hard acceleration and not at all intrusive at high motorway cruising speeds. Indeed, it’s perhaps even more reined than many high performance petrol engines and with its smooth, ready response and sheer tractability, if they didn’t know, few passengers would ever imagine that this was a diesel powerplant.
Needless to say, with that much power and torque, the 3.0 TDI provides very strong performance even for a vehicle as large as this. Fully exploited on the occasional autobahn excursion, Audi claims it will achieve a top speed of 147 mph, along with an official figure of 5.8 seconds for 0-62 mph acceleration. hat is pretty amazing for a large SUV, although we even managed to shave that slightly by using full-bore launch control techniques. Indeed, so prodigious is its performance that it’s difficult to imagine ever needing more, and you can only conclude that the SQ5 3.0 TFSI owner is both rich and greedy!
But this is not really the sort of vehicle to go drag racing with; instead, its real forté is the way that its sheer punch and traction translates into such immediate response from a stand still as well as in terms of mid-range performance, easily able to surge past, safely overtaking slower traffic with almost arrogant ease.
The fully automatic 8-speed torque converter transmission is straightforward to use, although the button for the Park position is on the side of the low-profile console selector lever rather than in the longitudinal gate. As well as leaving it in fully auto mode, you can also lick the steering wheel paddles to shift gears using just the finger tips, or set the shifter in manual sequential mode and tap it back and forth to prompt gearchanges.
It will never be quite as instantaneous and seamless as the double-clutch S tronic (DSG) transmission when shifting between ratios, but it is never actually lethargic. For a more immediately enthusiastic response you just need to lick down a gear or two in anticipation, rather than expect to just press the accelerator, or use the more aggressive Sport setting on the Drive Select system.
The Q5 also comes with the full-time ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive as standard, with the asymmetric dynamic torque distribution of the centre differential able to regulate drive up to 70 per cent to the front axle, and as much as 80 per cent to the rear axle. It’s not to be confused with the Haldex coupling variable four-wheel drive used for the transverse-engined Q2 and Q3. Note that only the Q5 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI come with the new fuel-saving quattro drivetrain with ‘ultra’ technology which disengages drive to the rear axle under light loads when it is not needed.
Automatically applying power and torque exactly as required for slippery surfaces or when driving dynamically, in all reality it is more relevant to providing maximum traction in any on-road situation, rather than heading of-road over loose or muddy surfaces. Don’t dismiss the Q5 totally in that respect, though, as it has all the credentials and capability for some quite serious all-terrain use if required, including a hill descent function for very steep slopes. It’s certainly able to cope with green lanes, snow-covered roads and is ideal for towing, of course. Various permutations of drive configuration are provided by selecting different Drive Select modes using the switch on the left of the dash panel. Drive Select is accessed by cycling the switch to provide five standard (Efficiency, Comfort, Normal, Dynamic, Offroad and Individual) settings. In the Efficiency setting, the Q5 will coast when on the over run or under very light loads, with obvious fuel-saving benefits.
With slight variations according to wheel and tyre size, the 286 PS 3.0 V6 TDI is rated at 47.1 mpg on the combined cycle, with a CO2 emissions figure of 152 g/km (NEDC derived under WLTP). In the real world, we achieved 38.9mpg as an overall average, stretching it to 51.4mpg on a deliberate economy drive, cruising on the motorway at 65-70 mph in top gear with Drive Select in the Efficiency setting. If you feel the need, as provided here on the test vehicle, you can specify larger fuel and AdBlue tanks (90 and 24 litres respectively) as a no-cost option, increasing the potential range between reills from over 500 to as much as 700miles.
Featuring the five-link suspension at both front and rear, along with the new electromechanical power steering system, the Q5 handles very confidently for such a large SUV. he S line now comes as standard with the conventional ‘Comfort / Dynamic’ suspension, with lowered sports suspension available as a no-cost option, an arrangement which we drove on the original press launch and found noticeably firmer, although by no means uncomfortably stiff.
Ideally, though, it should be equipped – as here – with the £2,000 optional adaptive air suspension set-up. This can also be used to vary the ride height of the car body over five stages, including an allroad setting for maximum ground clearance, as well as lowering of the body to improve access when loading. As well as the adaptive damping control, which is constantly readjusting automatically to the prevalent driving dynamics and road conditions, this also provides a choice of ride and handling characteristics between Comfort and Dynamic, switched using Audi Drive Select.
While you could never call it agile, the Q5 changes direction keenly and, even with the air suspension in the Comfort setting, body roll on hard cornering is well controlled, although it floats slightly over long undulations. Stiffening the air suspension further in Dynamic mode reduces lean and pitch but makes the ride quality rather too firm for comfort over most choppy and broken British roads; it’s best reserved for enthusiastic solo drives on smooth fast main roads.
While the Q5 SE and Sport come with factory-it 8.0 x 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/60 R18 tyres, the S line package provides 8.0 x 19-inch rims with 235/35 R19 tyres as standard, although our test car was equipped with the optional 8.0 x 20-inch 10-Y-spoke rims, wearing 255/45 R19 Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres, and rims of up to 8.5 x 21 inches with 255/40 profile tyres are also available. There’s no spare wheel, only a tyre repair kit is provided as standard, although you can specify the £175 option of a collapsible spare wheel, stashed under the boot floor.
Accessed through the remote power-operated tailgate, the basic volume of the luggage compartment (now 10 litres larger than the Previous model) can be varied by as much as 60 litres, from550 to 610 litres if the optional three-part (40:20:40) rear bench seat plus is specified. As well as varying the rake angle of the seat backs, this provides manual adjustment of the seat base, sliding fore and aft by up to 12 cm (4.75 inches) to maximise either the boot space or rear legroom as required.
‘THE STYLING IS STRONGER, FEATURING SHARP CHISELLED EDGES AND SCULPTURED LINES WITH A CLEAR HORIZONTAL EMPHASIS…’
Costing £350, it is a useful facility, Although we can’t help noting that a very similar arrangement is standard no-cost equipment on the modestly priced Volkswagen Golf SV and Tiguan. It only comes as standard on the £52,000 SQ5.
The Q5’s standard rear seat is a conventional 60:40 split-folding arrangement, with the total load volume increasing to 1550 litres when it is folded fully down, lying almost flat in this case.
Elsewhere, inside the cabin, there’s plenty of additional storage space, with a decent-sized glovebox and large storage bins on all four door panels, each big enough for a large bottle, plus space in the centre console.
In terms of accommodation, with front Sports seats in grey leather / Alcantara for this S line model, there’s ample leg, head, knee and elbow room for all five occupants. The horizontally oriented interior styling adds to the feeling of width and comfort, with a three-dimensional trimstrip running across the full width of the instrument panel. High-quality materials are evident throughout, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel is standard and optional ambient lighting can be selected in 30 different colours.
The main control element is the MMI terminal in the centre console, with the optional MMI navigation plus featuring an 8.3-inch dash-top display screen and MMI all-in-touch incorporating a touchpad built into the rotary controller with which the driver can handwrite entries as well use zooming gestures.
The navigation system has a ‘self-learning’ function that assimilates the driver’s regular routes and destinations to good effect.
Curiously, the Audi virtual cockpit seen here is only listed as a £250 standalone option on the SQ5; on our test car it was part of the £1395 Technology pack option. With clear graphics on its high-resolution 12.3-inch screen, it provides a choice of two displays – a classic view with large round instruments on either side or a mode in which the main instruments are reduced in size to provide greater visibility for the navigation map or information menus in between.
A newly developed head-up display is also available as a £900 option, projecting relevant information onto the inside of the windscreen so that it that can be read quickly without the driver taking their eyes of the road ahead.
Comprehensive standard equipment now includes the Audi Smartphone Interface, the Audi parking system plus, pre-sense city collision prevention assistance, Audi drive select, heated front seats, acoustic windscreen, three-zone electronic climate control and powered tailgate operation (with hands-free control an option).
The 2020 Audi Q5 Type FY also comes with a wide range of high-tech options for driving aids and safety. The optional Matrix LED headlights on this test car provided excellent illumination on full beam, almost magically adjusting the beam pattern to avoid dazzling other road users, and this option also provides dynamic indicators at both front and rear.
As well as Audi pre sense, a standard feature that warns of pedestrians and vehicles and can initiate automatic emergency braking within system limits, the predictive efficiency assistant encourages fuel-saving driving by anticipation and adaptive cruise control (ACC) eases the strain in steady state or slow-moving traffic. There’s also active lane assist, distance warning, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning system, collision avoidance assist and turn assist, park assist, camera-based recognition of traffic signs and hill descent assist. It’s only a few steps away from being fully autonomous!
‘THE S LINE PACKAGE PROVIDES 8 x 19-INCH ALLOYS AS STANDARD BUT TEST CAR WAS FITTED WITH OPTIONAL 8 x 20 RIMS…’
All things considered, the Q5 fulfills its role admirably, with this high-powered 3.0-litre V6 TDI providing an excellent blend of high performance, a high level of refinement and good fuel economy. It’s questionable whether many owners will ever make anywhere near full use of its off-road capability, but its load-carrying practicality and the combination of torquey engine and four-wheel drive makes this an ideal tow car. The 190 PS 2.0-litre TDI with 7-speed Stronic gearbox will be well worth considering as an alternative, saving £4,765 and providing adequate performance along with reduced fuel consumption, but it can’t compete in terms of refinement and the 252 PS 2.0 TFSI will provide strong performance but nowhere near the fuel economy or easy long distance cruising ability of the 286 PS/620Nm 3.0 V6 TDI.
Above: Front Sports seats in grey leather / Alcantara for this S line model.
Right: Our test car was equipped with the optional 8.0 x 20-inch 10-Y-spoke rims, wearing 255/45 R19 Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres.
Below: Auto folding door mirrors.
Above: 3.0 V6 TDI powers to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds! Above: Keyless entry and engine start button.
Above: 3.0-litre V6 TDI produces 286 PS and 620 Nm, but capable of 40-50 mpg.
Above: Sculpturally flared single frame grille replaces the previous well-rounded appearance.
|Maximum speed – 147 mph/236 kph|
|0–50 mph – 4.3 sec|
|0–60 mph – 5.7 sec|
|0–70 mph – 7.5 sec|
|0–80 mph – 9.5 sec|
|30–50 mph (3rd gear) – 2.3 sec|
|30–50 mph (4th gear) –|
|50–70 mph (3rd gear) – 3.2 sec|
|50–70 mph (4th gear) –|
|50–70 mph (5th gear) –|
|50–70 mph (6th gear) – 70 mph (7th gear)|
Acceleration figures recorded using VI Monitor. For more information visit the website at: www.vi-performance.com
Bore and stroke 83.0 x 91.4mm
Power output 286 PS (210kW) @ 3750-4000 rpm
Maximumtorque 457 Ib.ft (620Nm) @ 1500-3000 rpm
Compression ratio 16.8:1
Valves per cylinder 2 inlet, 2 exhaust
Overall test value 38.9 mpg, 7.3 l/100km
Economical driving 48.7 mpg, 5.8 l/100km
Urban cycle 41.5 mpg, 6.8 l/100km
Extra urban cycle 51.4 mpg, 5.5 l/100km
Total 47.1 mpg, 6.0 l/100km
Fuel required Diesel
Fuel tank capacity 14.3 gallons, 65 litres*
CO2 emission 152 g/km
*Test car fitted with 70-litre tank (15.4 galls)
Length/Width/Height (inches) 183.7/ 84.3*/65.3
Length/Width/Height (mm) 4663/2140*/1659
Wheelbase 111.0 in, 2819mm
Track, front/rear 63.6/63.4 in, 1616/1609mm
Turning circle 38.4 ft, 11.7m
Unladen weight 4122 lb, 1870kg
Total permitted weight 5622 lb, 2550kg
Luggage capacity seats up/folded 550/1550 litres
Permitted trailer load with/without brakes 5291/1653 Ib 2400/750 kg
Wheels and tyres 8.0J x20 alloys 255/45 R20*
* Including mirrors
** Optional upgrade, std size is 8.0 J x 19 with 235/55 R19
|PERFORMANCE COMPARISONS||Q5 3.0 TDI 286 PS 8-spd tiptronic||Q5 3.0 TDI 7-spd S tronic||Q5 3.2 TFSI 7-spd S-tronic||SQ5 TDI 8-spd tiptronic||SQ5 TFSI 8-spd tiptronic||VW Touareg 8-spd tiptronic 3.0 V6 TDI|
|Power output, PS/kW||286/210||240/178||270/199||313/232||354/260||286/210|
|Maximum torque, lb.ft./Nm||457/620||370/500||244/330||481/650||369/500||442/600|
|Maximum speed, mph/kph||147/236||139/222||146/234||155/250||155/250||146/235|
|0–50 mph, sec||43||55||54||36||36||52|
|0–60 mph, sec||57||73||72||50||49||63|
|0–70 mph, sec||75||95||92||64||63||88|
|0–80 mph, sec||95||121||115||83||81||111|
|30–50 mph (third gear), sec||23||27||26||18||17||26|
|30–50 mph (fou th gear), sec||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|50–70 mph (third gear), sec||32||40||38||28||27||36|
|50-70 mph (fou th gear) sec||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|50–70 mph (fifth gear), sec||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|50–70 mph (sixth gear), sec||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Overall consumption, mpg / l/100km||38.9/7.3||31.4/9.0||21.7/13.0||32.8/8.7||23.9/11.8||37.2/7.6|
|Unladen weight, lb/kg||4122/1870||4112/1865||3980/1805||4234/1920||4288/1945||4563/2070|
|Power/weight PS/ton, PS/tonne||155/153||131/129||152/150||166/163||185/182||140/138|
|Test publication date||Feb ‘19||Aug ‘10||Nov ‘11||Apr ‘15||Jan ‘18||Jan ‘19|