Car and Driver drives 2018 Audi Q5 2.0T

Audi’s new Q5 is the second-generation to the brand’s most successful car for the last decade. So, naturally, Audi isn’t going to change too much about it. Sure, the new Audi Q5 is built on an entirely different platform, is completely new in every single way and shares no components with the outgoing car. However, in the way the new Q5 feels, its scope, is very similar to the previous car. Just, ya know, newer and better.

Car and Driver recently drove the new, second-gen Audi Q5 to see if it was better than the first car. To be fair, toward the end of the first-gen Q5’s life, the folks at C&D weren’t big fans of it.  They felt it to be boring and that “will offend no one and excite just as many.” So is the new car any more exciting than the old “dinner roll”, as C&D called it?

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Unfortunately, not really.

In every measurable way, the new Audi Q5 is a better car than the one it replaces. While it’s nearly exactly the same size as the first-gen, it’s more spacious and more luxurious while being only 10 lbs heavier. That’s thanks to its new chassis, the MLB EVO that’s shared with the Audi Q7. It also packs a new engine, despite it sharing the same displacement as the first one. It’s a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated with an eight-speed automatic and can get from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. That’s about a second faster than the old car.

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On the inside, it’s far more luxurious and is packed with far superior technology. The design is fresh and the materials are all top notch. Even the back seat can slide and recline, giving rear passengers more space. It’s just significantly better than the old car on the inside.

However, C&D was less enthused with how it drove. While it’s not a bad car, it’s a bit of a numb one. The ride is great, both firm and supple. So it feels planted and stable but also comfortable without being floaty. But the steering is completely numb and the Q5 is completely lacks engagement. It’s a shame because the Q7 is actually quite an enjoyable car to drive, despite being bigger and heavier. And that sort of ruins the fun of the car.

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So while the new Audi Q5 is an improvement over the old car in every way, it’s just as much of a bland “dinner roll” as the first one. Will that hurt its sales? Not a chance.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.