2021 Audi Q5

2021 Audi Q5 Review: The Moneymaker

The Audi Q5 SUV isn't as glamorous as an A7 Sportback, as fun as a TT, or as quick as any RS-badged model, but it's arguably more important than all of them. This is officially Audi's best-selling model, striking the sweet spot between being priced right and offering the body style that many buyers crave. This year, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot gains a 12-volt mild-hybrid electric system and a total output of 261 horsepower, improving the 0-60 mph sprint time to just 5.7 seconds. For even more power, a plug-in hybrid with 362 hp is available. Along with a refreshed design and carryover attributes like a quiet ride and an upscale cabin, the latest Q5 has enough in its arsenal to stand alongside equally excellent competition like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. While it isn't a thrilling vehicle, the Q5 is the Audi that will best serve the needs of most customers in the US.

2021 Audi Q5 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Q5?

Audi has made quite a few changes to the Q5 lineup for 2021. The SUV has a fresh look with a thinner and broader Singleframe grille, new side sills, some new wheel designs, and a diffuser insert at the back. All Q5 models come with standard LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights with integrated dynamic turn signals. For the PHEV models, Distinct Green and Ultra Blue have been added as new color choices.

Inside, the infotainment interface has been upgraded with a 10.1-inch screen and the latest MIB 3 software. Other changes here include the Integrated Toll Module, now standard on all models. For safer driving, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and a top-view camera system are now standard on the Premium Plus trim. Audi has also added upgraded Walnut wood inlays and leather.

The combustion-only Q5 is now faster than before thanks to a 13-hp increase in power and the fitment of a 12-volt mild-hybrid system.

Pros and Cons

  • Classy, understated styling
  • Solid and premium interior
  • Faster infotainment interface
  • Refined driving experience
  • Punchy engine
  • Lots of standard and available tech
  • Not the biggest cargo area
  • Muted driving experience
  • Average standard maintenance plan
  • Over-reliance on touchscreen infotainment controls

Best Deals on Q5

2021 Audi Q5 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Prestige 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$43,300
Premium Plus 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$43,300
Premium 45 TFSI quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$43,300
Premium 55 TFSI quattro e Plug-in hybrid
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$51,900
Prestige 55 TFSI quattro e Plug-in hybrid
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$51,900

Q5 Exterior

The latest Audi Q5 is a handsome SUV, but it does look better with bigger wheels than the base version's alloys. For the 2021 model year, the Singleframe grille is both wider and thinner than before, while at the back, a new trim element connects the taillights. The mild-hybrid versions have vertical chrome strips as part of their grille design, but the PHEVs have an S line exterior with a sportier honeycomb grille. Both the front and rear headlights are LED units. The entry-level version comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, aluminum roof rails, a tailgate roof spoiler, and heated side mirrors. Further up in the range, a panoramic sunroof is fitted along with larger 19-inch bi-color alloy wheels. On the top trim, Matrix-design LED headlights with washers are equipped.

2021 Audi Q5 Forward View Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Rear-Facing View Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Forward Vision Audi
See All 2021 Audi Q5 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Almost identical in width to the BMW X3, the Audi Q5 is, however, more than an inch shorter than its rival. A glance at the spec sheet reveals Q5 dimensions of 184.3 inches in length, 65.5 inches in height, and a 111-inch wheelbase. The width works out to 84.2 inches with the mirrors included and 74.5 inches without the mirrors. For the PHEV variant, the height differs slightly at 65.3 inches. At 4,079 pounds, the base Audi Q5 is almost 150 lbs heavier than the base X3, a variance that is partially attributed to that X3's lighter RWD layout. The Q5 PHEV weighs in at 4,619 lbs.

  • Length 184.3 in
  • Wheelbase 111.0 in
  • Height 65.5 in
  • Max Width 74.5 in
  • Front Width 63.6 in
  • Rear Width 63.3 in
  • Curb Weight 4,079.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

The Audi has quite a conservative color palette to start off with. For the non-PHEV models, there is a choice of seven shades but only two - Brilliant Black and Ibis White - come at no charge. Following these are five metallics that will each add $595 to the bill: Florett Silver, Glacier White, Manhattan Grey, Mythos Black, and Navarra Blue. If you like vibrant shades like reds or greens, you're out of luck. The PHEV versions don't offer Brilliant Black, Manhattan Gray, or Navarra Blue, but substitute these with Distinct Green, Ultra Blue, and Daytona Gray pearl - these all carry the same $595 premium.

  • Florett Silver Metallic
  • Glacier White Metallic
  • Mythos Black Metallic
  • Manhattan Gray Metallic
  • Navarra Blue Metallic
  • District Green Metallic
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect
  • Ultra Blue Metallic
  • Brilliant Black
  • Ibis White

Q5 Performance

With its latest power increase, an already nippy SUV becomes even quicker this year. The base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine now produces 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Every model uses Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system which enables a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.7 seconds - two tenths quicker than last year's model and three-tenths quicker than the base BMW X3. Top speed is limited to 130 mph. Likewise, the base Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is also off the pace of the Q5, with a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds. Both the BMW and Mercedes do, however, offer the availability of a base rear-wheel-drive model, whereas the Audi only offers AWD.

The more powerful Q5 PHEV produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft, dropping the 0-60 time to just five seconds. It can also hit 130 mph, although while in electric-only mode, the top speed drops to 85 mph. For a similar price, BMW's X3 M40i is significantly quicker and more exciting to drive, but obviously uses a lot more gas in the process. It all depends on how much you prioritize outright power relative to efficiency.

The mild-hybrid Q5 is capable of towing up to 4,400 lbs while the PHEV has a reduced towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.

2021 Audi Q5 Frontal Aspect Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Rearward Vision Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Engine Audi

Engine and Transmission

Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI turbocharged engine receives more power and the addition of a 12-volt mild-hybrid electric system this year. This system does not increase the powertrain's output, but does improve the function of the start-stop system along with overall efficiency. It now produces 261 hp (a 13-hp increase) and 273 lb-ft of torque. As before, it's paired with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. The PHEV uses the same gearbox but pairs an electric motor with the turbocharged engine to produce 362 hp and 369 lb-ft. This model makes use of a 14.1 kWh battery.

The power increase on the base model isn't easily noticeable on a test drive relative to last year's version, but this remains a nicely refined and responsive engine. In most scenarios, there is enough power for quick getaways and easy overtaking. Some steeper inclines can make the Q5 feel momentarily sluggish, but not so much that it becomes a dealbreaker. The dual-clutch gearbox is a good match for the engine, executing quick and smooth shifts. The extra shove from the PHEV is noticeable, as is the instant torque from the electric motor when setting off, but the price increase of this model remains up for debate as the base engine is more than capable.

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The air of competency that runs through much of the Audi Q5 filters through to its performance and feel on the road as well. Typically Audi, it feels solid and sure-footed from the moment you set off and continues in that vein at higher speeds. Wind and road noise are well-suppressed and the electromechanical steering is precise, although lacking in any tangible feel. By switching over into Dynamic mode, the steering gains some weight but remains rather disconnected.

Although the Q5 rides well and recovers from surface imperfections quickly, things tend to firm up with the larger wheels, so you'll need to consider whether the visual appeal of these wheels will be worth the trade-off in ride quality. The PHEV can be equipped with a Sport plus package that adds summer tires and an adaptive air suspension, adding more dynamism to the SUV, but even here, it lacks the handling finesse of the Porsche Macan or BMW X3. For a more laidback customer, the Q5 will be perfect. The brake pedal doesn't provide much feel either, but actual braking performance is excellent.

Q5 Gas Mileage

The addition of a mild-hybrid system has improved the base Q5's gas mileage in city driving. Whereas last year's base model managed 22/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined, the new one is better at 23/28/25 mpg. However, the base RWD BMW X3 is more efficient with numbers of 25/29/27 mpg. On gas only, the PHEV returns a combined 27 mpg, along with 50 MPGe combined when the electric motor is taken into account. In all-electric mode, the Q5 PHEV will be able to cover 19 miles.

The gas-only Q5 has an 18.5-gallon gas tank so can cover around 462 miles before needing to be refilled. A smaller 14.3-gallon gas tank applies to the PHEV, so it has a total range of just over 400 miles. With the pre-installed wallbox, the Q5 PHEV's 14.1-kWh battery can be charged in approximately two hours. Using a basic 110-volt household socket, you'll likely need to park your Audi overnight as this setup increases the charging time to six hours.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/28 mpg
* 2021 Audi Q5 Premium Plus 45 TFSI quattro

Q5 Interior

Although it doesn't have the wow factor of some other new Audi cabins, the Q5's interior gets a lot of the basics right. There is good space for front and rear occupants, the seats are comfortable, and the build quality is of a high standard. The new 10.1-inch touchscreen has that 'stuck on' look that isn't as visually appealing as a more integrated display, but at least it responds to inputs quickly and is easy to reach. Some of the many standard features include lane departure warning, Audi side assist, front/rear parking sensors, heated wing mirrors, automatic climate control, and heated front seats. Higher-spec versions enjoy the Audi virtual cockpit, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, and a top-view camera system.

2021 Audi Q5 Dashboard Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Central Console Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Seat Details Audi
See All 2021 Audi Q5 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Whether seated in the front or at the back, the Audi Q5 offers a good amount of leg- and headroom for even occupants up to six-feet tall. However, three at the back will be a bit of a squeeze in terms of shoulder room. The seats themselves are very comfortable, and even the base variant gets classy leather-upholstered seats. There are some minor quirks, such as a driver's side door armrest that doesn't feel close enough to where your elbow would naturally rest. On a more positive note, visibility from the driver's seat is good, in part aided by front roof pillars that are not too thick. Ingress and egress pose no issues as the doors are quite tall but not overly long; this improves matters when another car parks too close to you.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.0 in
  • Front Head Room 40.2 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.8 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Leather upholstery is standard and, for the Premium model, you can choose from four color schemes: Atlas Beige with Granite Gray stitching, Black with Rock Gray stitching, Okapi Brown with Granite Gray stitching, and Rock Gray with Granite Gray stitching. These color choices will also dictate whether the headliner is finished in Titanium Gray, Black, or Atlas Beige. Brown Walnut Wood inlays and Birch Wood Natural Gray brown inlays are on offer and neither will cost anything extra.

One step up is the Premium Plus, which adds the option of sportier front seats for $1,450 in the same colors; this upgrade forms part of the Warm Weather Package and also includes front-seat ventilation, four-way power lumbar support in front, and sunshades for the rear windows. For $3,300, the Premium Plus PHEV can be equipped with the Sport Plus Package that adds a black cloth headliner, brushed aluminum inlays, and leather/Dinamica seats, among other items. This same package costs $2,200 on the Prestige PHEV. On both Prestige models, the upgraded leather sports seats are equipped by default.

Q5 Trunk and Cargo Space

While it isn't the best in the segment for carrying cargo, the Audi Q5 is still a practical SUV. Whether you go for the plug-in hybrid variant or not, cargo space is the same. That means that you get 25.8 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 54 cubes when these seats are folded. These numbers drop slightly to 25.6/53.5 cubes respectively if the sunroof is equipped, but this is a negligible difference. The trunk itself is a usefully square shape and, with the parcel shelf still in place, you can load one large suitcase and two smaller ones. With a 40/20/40 split-folding design, longer items can be accommodated while still transporting passengers at the back. In our Audi Q5 review, we did notice a bit of a load lip which means that heavier items can't be slid out of the back.

In the cabin, there are numerous useful solutions for stashing smaller items. There are four cupholders, a regular-sized glovebox, and a useful compartment below the center armrest. The door pockets are usefully wide and there are seatback map pockets.

2021 Audi Q5 Front Seats Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Rear Passenger Seats Audi
2021 Audi Q5 Charging Point Audi

Q5 Infotainment and Features

Features

Three trim levels are on offer which may lead you to believe that the base Premium is a bit sparse, but this is far from the case. Even this variant comes with a rearview camera, heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, and automatic climate control. The wing mirrors are heated and power-adjustable, too, while the safety specification includes lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, front/rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert. As you progress up the trim ladder, features added include adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, a top-view camera system, and a panoramic sunroof. The fully-loaded Prestige models enjoy ventilated front seats with four-way power lumbar support, Matrix-design LED headlights with washers, and a head-up display.

Infotainment

The 2021 Audi Q5 has been given a significant upgrade in this area. All models make use of a new 10.1-inch MMI infotainment touchscreen interface running the latest MIB 3 software that is faster than before. Although the new screen responds well and makes effective use of haptic feedback, one's reliance on this screen has increased as the traditional dial has been removed. The system comes with features like Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the usual USB/auxiliary input ports. You have to go for the mid-range Premium Plus trim to get SiriusXM satellite radio as standard, but this level does introduce the superb 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus digital gauge cluster. It offers three viewing modes and pin-sharp graphics. All Q5s now come with the new Integrated Toll Module - this is a toll transponder integrated into the rearview mirror allowing for easy access to toll road services in both North America and parts of Canada.

The base model gets a 10-speaker sound system, but a 755-watt Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system with no less than 19 speakers is available on the mid-range Premium Plus. The higher spec Prestige trim level gets this 3D sound system as standard, along with navigation.

2021 Q5 Problems and Reliability

The 2021 Audi Q5 SUV has a rather disappointing J.D. Power rating of 72 out of 100, along with a specific reliability and quality score of just 65/100. All of its primary German competitors have better ratings in this area. Although the 2021 model has so far been recall-free, the 2020 Audi Q5 had two recalls, including detaching wheel arch cover trim and a front seat backrest frame that wasn't welded correctly.

Audi's limited and drivetrain warranties run for four years or 50,000 miles. While this matches what BMW offers, Audi's one-year/10,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance is less generous.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles

Audi Q5 Safety

There's little to complain about here. The NHTSA awarded the 2021 Q5 a full five-star rating for overall safety; the SUV attained five stars for both the frontal and side crash tests and four stars for the rollover test. These results are complemented by a spread of maximum Good ratings for crashworthiness from the IIHS's review, along with a Superior rating for crash avoidance and mitigation.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Those exemplary crashworthiness results are no surprise considering the Q5's safety specification. All models come with a rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring, and blind-spot monitoring. At speeds above 40 mph, lane departure warning helps the driver maintain their position in a lane. All models also get pre sense rear (rear-end collision avoidance), front/rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert. On the top two trims, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, active lane assist, and a top-view camera system are equipped. Finally, the Prestige gets a head-up display with traffic sign recognition.

A total of six airbags include dual-front, dual-side, and front/rear curtain airbags. Every derivative can be optionally equipped with rear side airbags, taking the total count to eight.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Audi Q5 a good SUV?

It's much easier to list the Audi Q5's few flaws than to elaborate on its many desirable attributes. Besides a below-average reliability rating, the touchscreen interface is a bit fussy and the driving experience isn't as engaging as in its BMW and Porsche rivals. But there's a lot to like here, though. The base powertrain is now more powerful and efficient than before, and the cabin remains one of the most comfortable in the segment. There are plenty of genuinely useful technologies to make the driving experience safer and less taxing, especially on higher-spec models. While we also criticized the high-performance SQ5 for feeling a bit too ordinary behind the wheel, that's less of a problem here; both the mild-hybrid and PHEV Q5s are relaxing, fuss-free SUVs that should provide many miles of happy motoring. And, being an Audi, it's stylish without being pretentious, an attribute that will continue to appeal to many.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Audi Q5?

The cheapest way to get behind the wheel of the Audi Q5 is with the Premium 45 TFSI which starts at an MSRP of $43,300 in the USA. It's followed by the Premium Plus 45 TFSI at $48,100 and then the first plug-in hybrid, the Premium 55 TFSI, with a base price of $51,900. The top three priciest trims are the Prestige 45 TFSI at $54,000, the Premium Plus 55 TFSI at $55,800, and the Prestige 55 TFSI at $61,700. These prices are exclusive of Audi's $1,095 US destination charge, as well as tax, licensing, and registration fees.

Notably, the PHEV variants could qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $6,712. That makes the overall price of the Audi Q5 PHEV a lot more tenable.

2021 Audi Q5 Models

There are three primary trim levels that make up the new Audi Q5 range: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. All of them are fitted with the mild-hybrid 45 TFSI powertrain as standard; this 2.0-liter turbocharged engine produces 261 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. For an added cost, the plug-in hybrid 55 TFSI derivatives introduce an electric motor and 14.1-kWh battery to the 2.0-liter turbo-four, increasing outputs to 362 hp and 369 lb-ft. In total, there are six configurations of the Q5. Regardless of which model you choose, all employ a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel drive.

The Premium comes with 18-inch alloy wheels along with LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights with dynamic indicators. It boasts a leather-lined interior with heated and power-adjustable front seats, along with the same new 10-inch touchscreen found on other trims. Lane departure warning and front/rear parking sensors are standard.

On the mid-range Premium Plus, the wheel size grows to 19 inches and has a bi-color finish. This trim level adds the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a panoramic sunroof, a top-view camera system that displays images of the vehicle's surrounds, and additional safety technologies like adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist.

Finally, the Prestige lives up to its name with upscale equipment like Matrix-design LED headlights, ventilated front seats, navigation, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the convenience of a head-up display.

See All 2021 Audi Q5 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

You can quickly elevate the cost of the Audi Q5 by way of several packages and standalone options. On the Premium, the Convenience Package costs $1,100 and adds keyless start/stop, a heated steering wheel, a driver's seat memory function, SiriusXM, and auto-dimming/power-folding wing mirrors. The power panoramic sunroof that is standard on other trims costs $1,450 here.

For the Premium Plus, there are quite a few notable options that become available. You can add the Warm Weather Package for $1,450. This will equip front sport seats with four-way power lumbar support, rear window sunshades, and ventilated front seats. At $1,500, the Technology Package adds MMI Navigation and Audi connect Prime & Plus with a six-month trial. Another nice upgrade is the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system for $950. Both the Premium Plus and Prestige with the 55 TFSI plug-in hybrid powertrain have access to the $3,300 Sport Plus Package with 20-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, front sport seats, leather/Dinamica upholstery and more. On the Premium Plus, this costs $3,300 and on the Prestige, this costs $2,200 as the latter model already comes with front sport seats.

All Audi Q5 models can be equipped with rear side airbags for $350.

🚗What Audi Q5 Model Should I Buy?

Even though the more powerful hybrid is faster, the upgraded base powertrain will be enough for most and is improved this year. In Premium Plus trim, it still comes in at under $50,000 but adds desirable features like the virtual cockpit, the panoramic sunroof, and adaptive cruise control. We may be tempted by the Warm Weather Package at $1,450 as it adds front sport seats that look great but are also more comfortable thanks to ventilation and four-way power lumbar support. Including destination, this takes the price to $50,645. However, if you value performance more than luxury, you could get the plug-in hybrid in the Premium trim for not much more.

2021 Audi Q5 Comparisons

Audi Q3 CarBuzz
BMW X3 BMW
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi Q5261 hp23/28 mpg$43,300
Audi Q3 228 hp19/27 mpg$34,700
BMW X3 248 hp25/29 mpg$41,950

2021 Audi Q5 vs Audi Q3

Starting at almost $10,000 less than the Audi Q5 is its baby brother, the smaller Q3. The size differential between the two gives the Q3 a cuter, more youthful appearance, but that also means it's more cramped inside. By comparison, there's almost two inches less rear legroom in the Q3 than in the Q5. The trunk is about two cubes off the Q5, but total space with the seats down is a more significant six cubes down in the Q3. That being said, the Q3 is the one that has the more modern cabin design. It also has quattro AWD as standard, but the base Q3 is down on power at 184 hp so takes a much longer 8.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. For $36k, the more powerful Q3 gets 228 hp and takes seven seconds to reach 60. That's still slower than the Q5 but not bad for a small SUV. For couples or single people, the cheaper Q3 could make a lot of sense, but the Q5 is much better-suited to the needs of a family.

See Audi Q3 Review

2021 Audi Q5 vs BMW X3

At base level, the X3 starts at $300 less than the Q5. This version has RWD whereas the Q5 only has AWD. The Audi is three tenths faster to 60 mph but it isn't as efficient as the four-cylinder X3. In general, we have found the X3 to be more exciting to drive than the Q5, with responsive engines and sharp steering. Both crossovers have well-built, sturdy cabins that can be dressed up in even posher materials, while the BMW has a larger trunk. Things get really interesting at around the $55,000 mark, though, because you can either get the efficient Q5 PHEV or the massively entertaining X3 M40i. The latter produces 382 hp from its turbo-six engine and will race to 60 mph in only 4.4 seconds. BMW's own hybrid option, the X3 30e, takes 5.9 seconds to reach 60 and will attain 60 MPGe, a lot better than the Q5 PHEV's 50 MPGe. Neither vehicle can claim an easy victory, but the sharper, more efficient X3 steals a narrow win.

See BMW X3 Review

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