Audi South Africa sent us its latest mid-size SUV to review a few days ago. We drove the Audi Q5 40TDI and report our experiences here.

Towards the end of last year Audi SA introduced the recently facelifted Q5 into the local market at the same time it added the Q5 Sportback to the listings. We didn’t get to the launch event but we were sent a ‘regular’ Q5 to drive recently. 

Follow Double Apex on Facebook and Instagram, where we share more car content.

Mild facelift

Audi stylists have given the mid-size SUV a mid-life refresh. The appearance is fresh, and adds some added edge to Audi’s X3 and GLC rival. Up front there is a reprofiled grille, quite evident in the case of our S Line-equipped version. Audi’s signature drop-down air intake is wider and has a honeycomb, high-gloss finish. The foglamp surrounds have also been reshaped and are now taller with trapezoidal surrounds.

The headlamps are also restyled with a different LED treatment compared to the outgoing model. At the rear is a less obvious trim element between the taillamps. As mentioned, our loan unit wore the sportier S Line goodies, which included a set of dual-tone 20-inch alloys (a R33 000 option) that give it an air of sportiness. An eye-catching share of flat grey also made it stand out from a sea of silver or white rivals.

Read our review of the new Audi S3 Sportback at this link.

Updated interior

Audis boast some of the best interiors in the business. They are typically simple in design, modern in appearance and boast materials that have a high level of perceived quality and that all holds true for the latest Q5. Audi’s engineers have updated the infotainment system to a newer version, though not quite as new as that of, say, the large Q8 SUV. 

Now with touchscreen functionality, the infotainment system has done away with the need for a rotary controller, which in turn frees up a little space on the centre console. The colour palette in the cabin is on the sombre side, though thanks to the optional (R25 100) panoramic roof with a sliding section, one can flood the cabin with ambient light.

The Q5 can fulfil the role of the family car with ease. We found this out during a weekend when we had friends visiting from out of town. We managed to fit in a full load of luggage, making good on Audi’s 520-litre boot capacity claim. Their two six-foot-tall sons were installed within the rear seat with enough legroom for both. 

Powertrain options

Local buyers have one of three powertrains to choose from, a 2,0-litre turbo-petrol (183 kW/370 N.m) called the Q5 45 TFSI, a 3,0-litre V6 turbo-petrol with 260 kW/500 N.m branded SQ5 and the sole turbodiesel is badged Q5 40 TDI. The latter is the variant that we drove.

This oil-burner produces a decent 140 kW of power with a healthy 400 N.m of torque. As with its siblings, power is sent to all four wheels through an automatic transmission. We found the punch from this motor more than adequate. It has a strong low-down shove and plenty of gusto when overtaking. The best part is it offers up good performance while sipping fuel. Audi claims the engine uses 6,2 litres/100 km. We didn’t quite get to that level, but we did drop below the 7 mark.

Learn all about Audi’s upcoming electric vehicles, with SA pricing, by clicking here.

Ride comfort

As an Audi Q5 40TDI S Line, the test unit would have come standard with a sports suspension featuring adaptive damping. However, this particular car was equipped with an air suspension set up, which is a R38 000 option. The combination of adjustable suspension, variable ride heights, and plump tyres made for a rather pleasant ride. This less than hard-core approach to the suspension seems perfectly suited to the relaxed nature of the turbodiesel powerplant. In fact, our out-of-town guest who owns an SUV of their own were quick to point out how comfortable the Audi is.

Audi Q5 40TDI Summary

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to the ever-increasing popularity of SUVs, both here and abroad, so it makes complete sense for automakers to be offering more products and perfecting those that compete in this space. 

The SUV/Crossover segment was the largest of all in SA in 2021, accounting for nearly one-third of all passenger cars sold. Audi sold just shy of 450 Q5 units in this highly competitive sector last year. That number should increase somewhat with the recently revised range, especially in Audi Q5 40TDI form, which has proven to have all the hallmarks of a good family car.

Price: R897 000 (base)/R1 257 900 (as supplied)

Engine: 2,0-litre inline four, turbodiesel

Transmission: seven-speed auto, AWD

Max power: 140 kW

Max torque: 400 N.m

Top speed: 220 km/h

0-100 km/h: 8,1 sec

Fuel consumption: 6,2 L/100 km