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Audi Q5 (2008-2017) Review logo

Audi Q5 (2008-2017) Review

Audi Q5
Audi Q5
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Audi Q5
Audi Q5
Audi Q5
Audi Q5
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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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Audi Q5

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2008
      Body type
      SUV
      Fuel type
      Diesel, Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Harsh ride but premium interior

Best bits

  • Still looks sharp today
  • Interior feels welcoming and still looks modern
  • Huge boot and plenty of space for rear passengers 

Not so great

  • Harsh ride, particularly on early models with big wheels
  • Running costs could be expensive - especially on thirsty petrol models
  • Not an off-roader, despite standard four-wheel drive

Read by

Audi Q5 Driving Side

Overall verdict

Audi Q5 Interior

On the inside

Audi Q5 Driving Back

Driving

Audi Q5 Driving

How much does it cost to run

Audi Q5 Back Seat

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Audi Q5

"Thanks to its classy looks and quality interior, the original Audi Q5 is ageing very gracefully indeed. It’s still good to drive, although the suspension is particularly harsh on pre-2012 models. Our main reservation is that it’ll cost more to run as it gets older - especially as the popular diesel models can be problematic if you don’t cover many miles."

Audi Q5 Driving Side

Conservative looks, a classy cabin and a solid driving experience - the Audi Q5 ticked all the boxes when it arrived in 2008 to compete with the Land Rover Freelander, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60.


Unlike the ginormous Audi Q7 which arrived before it, the Q5 was just the right size to appeal to families who didn’t need seven seats. It was compact enough not to attract the attention of Greenpeace as soon as you drove into a city centre, yet practical enough to transport a family of four and all their luggage.


The 2.0-litre turbodiesel appealed to most buyers, which explains why the used market is awash with them. Hunt out a 2.0-litre petrol if you don’t cover many miles and don’t want to become too familiar with your friendly local garage - while the 3.0-litre TDI will appeal to anyone looking for effortless performance (or planning to tow a caravan).


All models come with Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system, although that doesn’t make the Q5 a competent off-roader. Or a rally car. It does, however, give you a bit of extra confidence that the Q5 can tackle slippery roads or even a snowy track without too much of an issue.


Back when this generation of Q5 was introduced in 2008, not all SUVs were as car-like to drive as we’re used to today. Despite being a 1.8-tonne SUV, the Q5 impressed with its ability to corner without too much lean - but, on the flip side, Audi engineers forget to factor any ride comfort into the suspension. This was addressed in 2012, when the Q5 was fitted with softer springs and more progressive dampers to provide a more comfortable ride.


While the Q5 line-up changed during its nine-year lifespan, it broadly consisted of three main models: SE, S line and S line Plus. All were comprehensively equipped, with higher-spec models looking sportier thanks to bigger alloy wheels and bold body kits - think carefully about how important image is, though - the SE offers good value for money and the standard 18-inch wheels help the ride quality.


A sporty SQ5 followed in 2012 with a 313PS version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. An incredible 500Nm of torque meant it could out accelerate hot hatches while its sports suspension meant, you guessed it, it was even firmer than the regular Q5.


The Q5’s impressive versatility and desirable image meant it soon became Audi’s best-selling car worldwide. It’s fully deserving of that status, while its understated looks and upmarket interior means the 2008 model is still a desirable choice today - although there are some caveats. Be weary of high running costs from petrol models, while the diesels have the potential to cause you a headache if you don’t cover many miles.


If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Audi Q5 (2017-) review.

Is the Audi Q5 right for you?

If you’re after a premium SUV with a superb cabin but you’re not fussed about off-road ability, the original Audi Q5 remains a strong choice today. There’s a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, while the Q5 is practical enough for the majority of families.


Depreciation means the Q5 is now within reach of many of us on the used market - but bear in mind that you’ll get a newer mainstream alternative like the Volkswagen Tiguan for similar money. An older Q5 will cost more to run, but that’s the price you pay for a car that does such a good job of combining versatility with a premium image and enjoyable driving experience.


What’s the best Audi Q5 model/engine to choose

The big seller was the 2.0-litre diesel, which means there are loads available on the used market. This was actually offered with two power outputs: 143 or 165PS. The former felt quite strained in a car as big and heavy as the Q5 (its standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system made the Q5 quite chunky, even by SUV standards), so most buyers opted for the 165PS model.


There’s also a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, which doesn’t make much sense unless you really need the extra power (for towing a trailer or caravan, for example). It is a lovely engine, though, and really takes the effort out of long-distance driving.


If you cover less than 12,000 miles a year or need a car for regular short journeys, a 2.0-litre petrol is likely to be a more reliable (if less frugal) choice. 

What other cars are similar to the Audi Q5?

Although we rate the original Q5 highly, there’s also some very strong competition in the form of the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. The BMW’s better to drive and feels like a quality SUV, while the XC60 is a more comfortable choice with slightly left-field looks and a superbly Scandinavian cabin. There’s also the Land Rover Freelander, which should be on your radar if you actually wish to venture off road.

Learn more

Audi Q5 Interior

On the inside

Audi Q5 Driving Back

Driving

Audi Q5 Driving

How much does it cost to run

Audi Q5 Back Seat

Prices, versions and specification

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