To my eyes, the latest Q5, along with the current Q7 already look dated; and itís Audiís own fault thanks to their new Q8 SUV coupÈ. The Q8 is properly, properly cool (if you can forgive its enormous size) and the recently launched Q3 shares some of the Q8ís slick design features. While polarising, even the baby Q2 has its own unique and funky look. Suddenly the evolutionary styling of the Q5 (and Q7) look a little plain in comparison. At first I thought it looked too similar to the old model, but parked next to the previous Q5 the differences are actually substantial, just ultra-conservative. Audi may have wanted to launch their latest design language with their flagship Q8 SUV, but to my mind, the Q5 has suffered as a result, so Iíll be waiting patiently for the next Q5 to arrive, with a facelift sometime within the next couple of years or so. Disguised facelift Q7s have already been spotted out on the roads, so that will arrive a little sooner.
Itís my turn to take a stint at the wheel for the carís remaining time on the fleet ñ and Iím not sure if it was the car, something I said, or the freezing wind chill, but the Q5ís previous custodian, Iain Dooley didnít hang around when handing me the keys. Climbing aboard for the first time with tears in my eyes after the departure of our Kia Stinger, life looked set to get a little less exciting sitting behind a charcoal-coloured slab of dashboard, alongside grey and black seats. Pulling away, its steering immediately felt a little on the light and lifeless side, next to the rather sportier Stinger. My focus soon shifted though, when I hit the motorway and literally couldnít hear a thing apart from my own breathing and deep thoughts ñ the Q5 is next to silent on the motorway, not a whisper from the engine, no wind noise from the door mirrors and pillars, and only a distant hum from the tyres. Well done Audi!
The peace and harmony was interrupted, however, when it started raining and the automatic windscreen wipers kicked into life. The driverís side wiper started dragging across the screen, which was made all the more noticeable when the rest of the car was getting on with its business in silence. Travelling solo this isnít too much of an issue, as our editor (who I suspect is a relation of Mystic Meg) had rubbed his crystal ball and specified the Comfort and Sound Pack that equips the Q5 with a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Blimey. Suffice to say, the sound of the wipers was easily drowned out. It was harder to ignore when it came to carrying passengers in rainy weather again, especially when the Q5 was charged with taking myself and three friends to Paris. A set of new wipers and a good clean of the windscreen cured the problem, phew! As for the drive to Paris, that was somewhat predictable in that the Q5 was fantastic ñ quiet, comfortable, composed, spacious and economical.
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Date arrived 10th April 2018
Fuel economy 55.4mpg (combined) 38.1mpg (on test)
19 Bang & Olufsen speakers to drown out the noisy wipers.
Why don’t the rear windows go down the whole way? It’s an SUV!