Audi Q5 review – design

Features plenty of new styling elements to align it to the wider Audi range

Evo rating
from £38,035
  • Impressive powertrains; well put together
  • Less engaging to drive than some rivals; thirsty petrol variants

It’s important to understand the true reasoning behind the intention to buy premium SUVs such as the Q5, and despite the insinuation that owners have some sort of adventurous lifestyle, the reality is that cars such as these sell on desirability.

So thanks to the huge success of the original Q5, Audi chose not to mess with the formula, keeping a similar boxy silhouette and wavy character line. Most will bemoan the lack of originality, but like the interior, the design does just enough to look fresh without a risk of dating.

Like the previous Q5, the overall surfacing character is shared with the A5 coupe, here pinching between the wheel faces to create more of a muscular hip line in contrast to the boxier Q7. Also like the A5, Audi has given the Q5 a full clamshell bonnet to clean up the shut lines, and although most buyers won’t notice this little detail, it acts as an example of the sort of fine detailing that Audi is starting to master, even if it lacks any real impact for most buyers.

The facelift, though, is where things start going wrong. The new model has taken an obvious U-turn away from the blocky highlighted grille of the previous model, replaced with a new floating eight-sided grille shape now shared across Audi’s SUV range. While in most cases this isn’t an issue, it jars on the new Q5, looking disjoined from the rest of the body design.

The same can be said of the Sportback version which, unlike the well-executed Q3 Sportback and Q8, has an odd turtle-like profile thanks to its falling roofline. Much like with the X4 it was clearly an afterthought, and like most midsize SUV-coupe crossovers lacks the right combination of proportions to not look a bit odd. Blame the long wheelbase and short rear overhang.

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