IT isn’t difficult to see why Audi’s become quite possibly the most accomplished, all-round manufacturer in recent years - each model they’ve revealed has been an absolute peach.
In that time its familiar-but-popular A-badged cars, from the dinky A1 to the limo-like A8, have been joined by Q-badged variants which offer everything you’d expect of the marque, albeit in a loftier package.
The Q7 was the first to take the fight to cars like the BMW X5 and Range Rover but it’s now joined by the striking Q8 and smaller versions including the Q2, Q3, all-electric Q4 and this, the £45,000 Q5, which completes the line-up.
As its numbered name would suggest, it’s smaller than the 7 and 8 but it’s still a big old bus - a proper family car with masses of space and a cavernous boot.
But, if you’ve driven large SUVs before, you’ll know they often feel cumbersome, whether that’s on the move or when they’re responsible for causing heart-stopping moments in multi-storey car parks. The Q5 happens to be a perfect size - big enough, but not to the extent where you’re worried about it.
I always thought the first Q5, which was released in 2008, was an unfortunate looking thing, always the ugly sister when compared to its handsome Q3 and Q7 stablemates. However, this one’s completely different; it’s without doubt a looker and looks right from every angle.
Open its door and nobody - and I mean nobody - wouldn’t be impressed with its interior. It’s flawless, in typical Audi fashion, with brilliant materials - they truly are the best when it comes to this department. This car’s fitted with optional £950 S-badged leather seats and - key to adding to its roomy feel - is the fantastic £1,400 panoramic glass roof.
While a 265bhp petrol-powered 2.0-litre is available - as are two more powerful hybrids - this car is fitted with the brilliant 2.0-litre diesel, which has an entry-level 204bhp but much more torque, and in real-world terms doesn’t feel far off the pace. A mainstay in Audi’s engine range since the dawn of time, it’s still a corker of a unit; peak power’s delivered from just 1,750rpm so acceleration is never too far away.
I’d read Q5s sometimes feel a bit wishy-washy at speed - on roads such as motorways - but I found no gripes with either its handling or suspension; maybe it’s remedied by this car’s optional adaptive damping, which isn’t cheap at £1,700, but it’s clearly ironed out other journalists’ issues with its ride.
You’d have to be pretty fussy to expect a car as big as the Q5 to be a hot hatch on stilts, though, as it’s just not set up for that - what it is is a fantastic, faultless family car that ticks every single box. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth its money and then some.