Review: Audi Q5

LIKE A weary Goldilocks in search of a bed, a parent’s pursuit of the perfect family car is a quest for that ‘just right’ moment, when you open the door, like what you see, picture the billy lids safe and happy in the back seat and realise that this is the one.

Audi’s Q5 has indeed been exactly that for many parents around the world and it leads the mid-size (B segment) premium SUV field.

However, Range Rover’s Evoque is closing in fast, with a sales trajectory heading due north, so the Q5’s first major update is timely.

White-hot competition across the entire market today means that not even a blue-chip German brand is silly enough to stiff buyers with a hefty price hike, so the Q5 2.0-litre TFSI, now with direct and indirect injection (to achieve Euro6 compliance) and 165kW/350Nm, stays at $62,900.

The 130kW/380Nm, 2.0-litre TDI also holds its $62,200 2012 pricepoint. The 3.0-litre V6 TDI, at $75,500, produces 180kW and a mighty 580Nm. The previous naturally aspirated 3.2-litre petrol V6 makes way for the sparkling 200kW/400Nm 3.0-litre supercharged TFSI, priced at $74,100.

All four engines are refined, fuel-efficient and tractable, but I had forgotten how wonderfully responsive a supercharged engine can be when compared with its turbocharged counterpart. The Q5 V6 3.0 TFSI leaps into its work at the lightest touch of the pedal and is now the gun drive in this class.

Petrol engines are matched with an eight-speed Tiptronic; diesels a seven-speed S-tronic. Quattro is standard, obviously, and all models have automatic stop-start.

Audi has made Dynamic Drive standard on what was already a tight, tidy handling package. It alters engine/transmission and/or electromechanical power steering (EPS) settings across Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual modes.

More compliant springs soften the ride a little, while firmer dampers improve body control. Eighteen-inch wheels are now standard. Previously, you may have felt the adaptive damper option worthwhile; now it’s a questionable spend.

So, the Q5 drive is basically all good.

Put your Mum or Dad hat on, though, and you’re looking at a whole new set of priorities. The Q5 delivers here, too. A power tailgate is standard. Bliss. Back seats have side and curtain airbags (rivals have only curtains), they’re adjustable and you can flip ’em and fold ’em in any 40/20/40 arrangement you choose.

A fairytale ending to the Q5 story is slightly skewered by the bizarre omission of a camera on 2.0-litre models.

Otherwise, though, a Q5 family should live happily ever after.

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