Audi Q5 review – ride and handling
Lacks the crispness of the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio, but no worse than an X3 or GLC; rides well on sensible wheels, too
Another beneficiary of Audi’s drive to shed the pounds, the Q5 is more agile, quicker to respond and less flat-footed than its predecessor. You can push it along at a decent lick (think Golf GTI but with a mate or two on board) and with the air suspension fitted to our test car it remains calm and reassuring when the straights end and the apex hones into view.
Get the nose turned in and the body settled, and as you wind the turbo up the Q5 takes on an attitude not dissimilar to that of Porsche’s Macan as its rear takes the load and pushes you out of the corner. It’s all very un-SUV-like, very un-Audi-like, and very welcome. Stronger brakes wouldn’t go amiss to match the performance available, however, and a more natural feel early in the pedal travel would help moderate retardation better, too.
It’s not a driver’s dream by a long shot, but it makes the Mercedes GLC-class feel a little sensible, runs BMW’s X3 close for body control and has far superior steering response, weighting up naturally and organically as the front axle’s load increases.
It also feels smaller and more agile than Jaguar’s F-Pace, but perhaps lacks the final layer of sophistication in the Jag’s damping (unless it’s fitted with wheels upwards of 21 inches) and has a more benign balance. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is similarly superior in terms of outright balance and engagement, facilitated with its own lithe body weight and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Class honours for driving feel remain firmly with Porsche’s Macan, however, which in any form drives with a sophistication and playfulness unusual in the SUV class.