Deterred by diesel? Audi’s large SUV has a real-world answer
Diesel remains under attack, which is a problem for the large SUV sector, because it’s traditionally been the go-to fuel for those seeking sit-high luxury that won’t cost a fortune to run. In lesser sectors of car, there’s plenty of viable petrol-powered options for diesel haters, but is the same so as you move up to cars such as the Audi Q5?
The German company believes so. We’ve already been impressed by its 2.0 TDI 190 diesel, but now it’s here with a 2.0 TFSI turbo petrol alternative – an engine that immediately appeals thanks to its significantly greater 249bhp power output. Far from feeling a little undersized in this large machine, it’s actually a surprisingly brisk unit for hauling this heavy-duty SUV.
0-62mph takes just 6.3 seconds and, mash the accelerator to the floor as you join the motorway, you’ll find you’ve reached the 70mph legal limit before the end of the slip road. It’s appreciably faster than the 2.0-litre TDI, and generally as easy to drive thanks to a generous supply of pulling power.
Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 252 quattro S tronic
Engine: 2.0 turbo petrol
Torque: 273lb ft
Top speed: 147mph
Economy: (official combined) 40.9mpg
CO2/BIK band: 157g/km/30%
There’s no diesel-like rumble either and, with wind and road noise also well surprised at speed, it’s a nicely refined cruiser – certainly better so than rivals such as the Jaguar F-Pace. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is good on the move as well, although it’s rather more jerky and hesitant when you’re manoeuvring at slower speeds.
What about economy? It won’t be as good as a diesel, but the claimed 40.9mpg doesn’t seem too bad. During a busy M25 commute, we returned an indicated 32.2mpg, although it will sit firmly in the mid-20mpg range if you commute regularly in town.
We’d recommend new Q5 buyers pick Audi’s able (albeit pricey) air suspension option, which soaks up all but the worst potholes with ease and proves smoother than most rivals on undulating roads – and if it gets a bit too floaty, you can stiffen it up with a Dynamic mode. This sharpens the handling as well, although the Jaguar F-Pace still has a clear advantage here.
What no rival can do is match the Q5’s wonderful interior. It’s brilliantly high quality, with a plush and classy feel that’s backed up by getting all the fundamentals right – the driving position is spot on, there’s lots of space front and rear and the boot is also a good size.
As things stand, the 2.0 TDI 190 is still probably the better all-rounder. It’s cheaper to buy, cheaper to run and just as good to drive as this 2.0 TFSI 252. But for those worried that, in a few years’ time, this may not remain the case as legislation shifts to benefit petrol, this turbo petrol Q5 is an impressive all-rounder with the added bonus of greater refinement and hot hatch-like performance. It’s certainly worth considering.