Used Audi Q5
A history lesson…
Audi are masters of the four wheel drive. Back in the 80s they transformed motorsport with the Audi Quattro. It was way ahead of its time and there was nothing to touch it on the rally track or on the driveway either. With big rivals BMW and Mercedes already selling 4x4 SUVs, Audi were late to the market and debuted in 2006 with that huge slab of motor meat, the Q7. It was a serious performer but probably a bit too big for the UK market. That was solved in 2008 with the introduction of the more compact and rather wonderful Q5. It's a sporty, high quality 4x4 SUV in typical Audi style.
Bang for your buck
The used Audi Q5 is quietly styled for a relatively big car, looking less chunky and sleeker than its rivals with a profile that's oddly ground-hugging for a 4x4. Inside the cabin is resolutely Audi, oozing the confidence of restrained luxury and superb build quality. It's spacious and practical too, with the rear seats folding to give a huge 1,560 litres of load space or reclining for more comfort as required. Levels of specification are as high as you might expect in a premium car like the approved used Audi Q5. The SE has a banging 10-speaker stereo, quality leather upholstery throughout, climate control and parking sensors. With an S model, you get all that good stuff with the addition of sports tuned suspension, sports seats, Xenon headlamps with those fancy LED running lights and a raft of other exterior styling notes to let everyone out there know about the sporting abilities of the car.
What you'll pay
While it was in theory at least possible to buy one of these cars new for less than £30,000, most owners went for more expensive engine and trim levels and rootled gratefully around the options list. This means that a lot of the used Audi Q5 examples out there are significantly higher specified than the basic level and have prices to match. Remember also that the Audi Q5 for sale was launched in 2008, so it's not yet an old car and it benefits from Audi's impressive residual values. So it's not going to be a bargain option. Most of these cars were sold in SE or S-Line trim. A 2.0 TFSI SE model with a 58 plate is going to be around £28,000. The less powerful 180bhp versions of this engine can be had for £28,500 on a 09 plate. A 2.0 TDI diesel is going to take £27,500 of your hard-earned on a 58 plate SE and you can expect to pay as much as £34,000 for a 59-plate S-Line. The meaty 3.0 TDI diesel meanwhile kicks off at £32,000 and can rise to £40,500 for a 2009 example.
What to check
These cars are still relatively youthful and with Audi's renowned build quality coupled to the bomb proof Quattro 4x4 system and proven A4 mechanicals you should be in safe hands. Few of these cars will have been caned off road, but do check underneath for damage just in case and look for a full service history every time.
You wouldn't expect parts for a second hand Audi Q5 to be cheap, but neither are they ruinous. Taking our cue from a 2008 Q5 2.0 TDI, front brake discs come in at £90 and £45 at the haunches. An oil filter can be had for £10 but a clutch assembly is a bit steeper at around £300.
How it drives
Unusually for a 4x4, the driving experience is one of the big pluses for the Audi Q5. In most variants it is a genuinely sporty car and handles particularly well. There's bags of grip in the corners and very little of the body roll you have come to expect from other, more cumbersome, 4x4s. Although you get all that road presence and excellent visibility from the SUV driving position, it feels a lot like an Audi saloon behind the wheel. The Quattro system delivers permanent four wheel drive, but it's intelligent enough to sense the road surface and deliver more or less power to front and back wheels accordingly. In normal road conditions, this means more power to the rear and this contributes to the sporty feel of the car.