2021 Audi Q5 2.0 Quattro Review: A facelift, right on Q

Leow Ju Len

Back to page 1: Intro, what’s new about the facelift, interior and more

There’s a certain well-balanced way to how it drives, too, neither overtly sporty nor squishily plush. The rear end is sprung firmly, but the Q5 rolls quietly and smoothly over badly-surfaced roads, and it feels well-planted enough for you to attack bends with confidence.

It helps that the steering is weighted firmly, and even though the Audi is relatively elevated it doesn’t lurch heavily through bends or rock from side to side over bumpy tarmac.

The engine actually offers quite a bit of zing, especially if you’re willing to rev it. There’s no cultured voice here, with the four-cylinder engine supplying a quiet drone instead, but your reward for making the virtual rev needle swing is a nice bit of hustle from the Audi.

Given the times we live in, Audi has added some fuel-saving stuff — a 12V mild hybrid system with extended engine shutdown, and a pair of clutches that automatically disconnect the main propeller shaft from both the front and rear axles, which turns the Q5 from a four wheel-drive car into a front wheel-drive one with as little extra drag from the rear wheels as possible. This is still a 1.8-tonne car, though, so it’s never going to rival a Prius.

Then again, it’s pleasantly quick. If you want numbers, the 2.0-litre turbo is good for 259 horsepower, which is enough to let the Q5 cover the 100km/h dash in 6.3 seconds. That’s better than good, in our traffic, at least.

But no one (sane) buys a Q5 as a sportscar substitute, and it remains a car for someone looking to drive overland to China through Malaysia, Thailand and Laos, crossing the majestic Titiwangsa and rugged Khun Tan mountain ranges along the way. Just kidding. There’s an off-road driving mode, but Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive system notwithstanding, the Q5 is very much for the family man hunting for something posh in the mid-size Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market. 

Accordingly, it’s nice enough in the back, where the pull-up window shades actually add a baller touch, and if it isn’t huge back there, at least it isn’t cramped.

The rear seats do slide and recline, but more so you can add 60 litres of luggage space instead of passenger room. Mind you, the boot is big enough to begin with, at 550 litres.

In fact, it’s right up there with the class, because the BMW X3 and the Mercedes GLC-Class both also offer 550L of boot space, believe it or not. They also accelerate to 100km/h just as quickly (6.3 seconds for the X3 xDrive30i, 6.2 seconds for the GLC 300 4Matic), which makes you wonder if all three were conceived after some sort of German SUV product planners’ convention.

Yet, that brings up the Q5’s main challenge, which is that even though it is a well-sorted and solidly-executed piece of work, it has to deal with the excellence of the X3 in terms of ride, refinement and connectivity, and the desirability of the GLC’s Mercedes badge.

There’s even Audi’s own Q3 and Q3 Sportback to think about, because although both are a size down, they offer nearly as much practicality as the Q5 for significantly less money, and actually feel more modern inside.

Then there’s Jaguar’s recently revamped F-Pace and its more comprehensive update. Its recent arrival means the Audi Q5 makes one thing clear about the harness of the car industry: a facelift can hold back time, but it does nothing to hold back competitors.

Audi Q5 2.0 Quattro

Engine1,984cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power249hp at 5000-6000rpm
Torque370Nm at 1600-4500rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch 
0-100km/h6.3 seconds 
Top Speed237km/h
Fuel Efficiency8.0L/100km
VES Band C1 / +S$10,000 (+15,000 July 1st)
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceS$268,254 with COE and VES
Verdict The Audi Q5 continues to mix quality with practicality, but those may no longer be enough in an increasingly harsh SUV landscape  

READ MORE: The latest hot shizz on!

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2.0 Quattro 5 seat 5-door Audi petrol Q5 SUV

About the Author

Leow Ju Len

CarBuyer Singapore's original originator, Ju-Len in person is exactly how he is on the written word and behind the wheel. Meaning that he darts all over the place and just when you thought he's lost the plot, you realise that it's just you not keeping up with his incredible rate of speed and thought.

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