The Audi Q5 has been with us since 2008 and l rather liked it from the off. This 4-wheel drive SUV offered everything required of a car and proved that an SUV really can drive just like a car but with a high ride height, oodles of load space and off-road capabilities, it trumped most of the competition. I first reviewed the 3-litre version back in 2013 on a trip to Bath and it won me over. Since then we have the Q2, Q3 and Q7 so l guessed it worked for them too.
I thought it quick enough but when they offered me the SQ5 and l thought it rude to refuse. The S and RS versions of the Audi range are all winners but to put this much power into such a high car might be deemed irresponsible but then l do love being irresponsible.
They have nicked the engine from the S4 and S5, namely a 3.0-litre single turbo V6 controlled by an eight-speed auto box. It develops 345bhp and hurray, they only offer it in the petrol version – for now. It’s good for 0-62 in 5.4 seconds and it appears a lot quicker than that. Pop the box into S and dial up dynamic mode and it flies off the line and surges, without breath, to the limited top speed of 155mph, and will give the Merc GLC43, Porsche Macan Turbo and BMW X5M a good run for their money.
Click through Auto and into Dynamic, and you may wonder what has happened to the reserved V6 you were previously listening to – because the SQ5’s audio speakers start filtering greater and greater levels of ‘engine sound modulation’ into the cabin. We could do without the fake quad exhausts as well but l guess they float someones boat somewhere. l would prefer honesty that does not take us back to the 70’s when every boy racer was fitting huge fake exhausts to their 1.2 Escort’s to impress people that are impressed by such tosh. Then they would drill holes into the box to make it sound better.
The interior is beautifully laid out and here we have the virtual cockpit again that l am a huge fan of as the entire dash can be transformed into the SatNav map and, with a very able and non-intrusive head up display, it is supremely set up for long-distance travel. The quilted leather is supple, the adaptive cruise control works well, the panoramic roof is enormous, the Bang & Olufsen system fills the cabin and it is just very, very well put together.
Stability is surprisingly good for such a high car and it gives you confidence to chuck it around although in Sport mode, the steering becomes a tad lifeless and the feedback is minimal. It works best is Auto mode and let the computers sort everything else out.
I think the SQ5 is the perfect all-round car and the range is excellent. If you want a smaller one, go for the Q2 or Q3, Larger, go for the Q7. It is very quick if you want it to be, it will load half a house, will keep going in the rain and snow, allows a view over all other non-SUV cars and is a joy to sit in and a breeze to drive and, at under £50,000, it is a lot of car for the money. I would certainly have one.