2018 Audi Q5 Review: Playing To The Base

– Northville, Michigan

Earlier this year I had a blast with the Audi team out in British Columbia, driving very aggressively in the fantastic SQ5. SUVs and crossovers are increasingly closing the dynamic gap with sedans, and the SQ5 is the poster child for those improbably entertaining physics.

Good as the SQ5 was, however, I remember pondering if the also greatly improved 2018 Q5 was really that much of a drop off, in terms of real driving, in the real world. Thankfully, our Audi friends held a kind of refresher event right around the corner from my house, giving me the chance to get more wheel time in the Q5 and test out the theory.

 

Pros

You only lose 0.8 seconds 0-60 time versus the SQ5. Less than one second. Granted, the S version of the Q5 does lots of other dynamically interesting things. But the standard version is so capable and nice to drive, the lack of an acceleration penalty makes me like it even more. I also love this stat because you don’t see it coming from the spec sheet. With 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0T, I would expect the Q5 to feel a lot slower than the 354-hp SQ5, but it doesn’t.

Chill out in the cabin. Okay, I got ahead of myself talking about the performance, first. The truth is that most Q5 shoppers are going to be happy that the SUV feels quick, but actually love how quite it is at speed, and how supple the ride quality is. I drove on a few of my favorite back roads in southeast Michigan, some of which aren’t exactly gla...