It’s not often a car legitimately impresses for something as simple as fuel economy. But the 2023 Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition did just that, managing 5.2-litres/100km against a claimed 4.8-litres. Frugal, quiet, and stylish, it has a lot to offer.
When we picked this car up, we thought we’d do something different, in the form of a controlled economy run. We wanted to see if the popular Q5 5-seater from the brand with four rings, was actually capable of its hitting that fuel usage number.
Car brands often seem to pluck magical figures from the air when it comes to this stuff, and it’s nigh on impossible to duplicate. That is unless it’s 17 degrees, the wind is blowing from the east, and your driving 1,000km on dead flat road from a rolling start on a Tuesday.
Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but you get what we mean. Almost never does a car achieve what the car maker claims it’s capable of, and more often than not, we can’t even get close, but in a 500km broken test, we certainly gave it a tickle.
Our route took us from Sydney, to Port Macquarie and back to the NSW Central Coast – a little weekend get away, that started with a full reset of the trip meters and fuel numbers. Because we were staying in town we also new we could walk most places.
This meant we did minimum local driving in the first half of our loan period, which puts it outside of what might be a normal usage scenario. That aside, this thing is super frugal, especially so given this isn’t a hybrid, and it’s a diesel.
Even our all local driving in the remainder of our testing saw 5.8-litres, which is still impressive. If nothing else it delivered a little chuckle that it was actually possible to get it so close to Audi’s claim, and just how economical it was.
It’s not simply the fuel economy that’s impressive about the Q5 though, as it’s very well mannered on the road. The front-wheel drive 2.0-ltre 4-cylinder turbocharged powertrain delivering 120kW of power and 370Nm of torque, through a 7-speed S-tronic transmission.
On twisty, windy roads, there’s minimum body roll, offering a relatively sumptuous driving experience. Sure, it won’t win the Sandown 500, but this isn’t that kind of car. It accelerates to 100km/h in 9.0 seconds. There are four drive modes.
These include Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. We spent most of our time in the second of these, calling on Dynamic when we need some extra punch. Regardless of the mode you’re in, gear changes and acceleration are silky smooth.
Externally, you’ll find (in the case of our test vehicle) Manhattan Grey metallic paint, and 20-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels in a 10-Y-spoke design. There’s LED headlights, daytime running lights, all-weather lights and tail lights, in what is a good looking vehicle.
Inside, the first thing you’ll notice is you can’t hear the diesel engine, to the point you’ll sometimes wonder if it’s turned on. Audi having done a great job in suppressing the outside world for a proper luxury experience.
Considered the base model, with what could be described as entry level pricing at $69,881 plus on-roads, the 2023 Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition is incredibly impressive, with a long list of standard features.
These include keyless entry and start, a powered tailgate with gesture control, leather appointed and heated powered front seats, 3-zone climate control (with real controls), and a leather wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles and hands-on detection.
Ambient lighting also features, along with analogue instruments, with a 7.0-inch digital display, as well as a 10.1-inch infotainment system with navigation, DAB+ digital radio, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
On the safety front, there’s Audi’s pre-sense city setup, with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, active lane assist (which is impressively non-intrusive), and high beam assist.
There’s a pretty decent rear-view camera, as well as plenty of storage space, with two cup holders hidden by a sliding storage cubby. Door bins are ample and will fit a decent sized water bottle too. Boot space is impressive at 520-litres with the seats up.
That expands to 1,520-litres when you fold the second row, which has plenty of leg and headroom, flat. If there’s anything missing, it’s some of the “expected” safety technology, which has found its way into the optional Assistance Package.
This includes adaptive cruise control with stop/go (the passive version is included as standard), automated park assist pilot, automated dipping side mirrors, a 360-degree parking camera and turn assist. For peace of mind, we’d buy this add-on.
Backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and some optional care plans, there’s still a rather steep servicing cost, and while that’s a little bit of a sting in the tail, this car offers great value for money, given its position in the market.
Up against the likes of the BMW X3 and Volvo’s XC60, the lack of Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel drive also feels a little like you’re missing out, but to be honest, unless your plan is off-roading, you don’t really need it.
It’s hard to fault a car that will give you around 1,200km of running out of its 70-litre diesel tank. If you’re looking for an SUV that’s economical, looks good and offers a properly pleasant driving experience, then check out the 2023 Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition.
You can build your own on the Audi Australia website, although you’re probably best served chatting to a dealer to make sure you get the Limited Edition version. If you’re keen on one and need finance, talk to CreditOne.
Our test vehicle was provided by Audi Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition, contact your local Audi dealer. Images (except supplied) courtesy of Imogen Holgate.