Everything in the Q5’s roomy cabin looks great and feels solid. It’s a shame the fantastic Virtual Cockpit display doesn’t come as standard, however
The Q5’s cabin makes a fantastic first impression. It’s a truly lovely place to sit thanks to its slick, minimalist design and sturdy materials that feel like they could outlast the pyramids.
The soft plastics, unpolished wood and metal trims make it look more exciting than the drab BMW X3 and it feels more upmarket than the slightly chintzy Mercedes GLC. The only thing letting the side down is a chunk of cheap hard plastic around the heating and ventilation controls.
All Q5s come with leather seats as standard but S line versions come with more supportive sports seats trimmed in leather and suede-like Alcantara. Cold-to-the-touch aluminium trims help it stand out from entry-level models, too.
A seven-inch infotainment screen comes as standard, but for £1,395 you can fit Sport and S line models with a comprehensive Technology Pack. This upgrade features a larger 8.3-inch display and a huge 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit screen that replaces traditional dials. It’s well worth saving up for – it helps make the Audi’s infotainment system one of the best on the market.
A huge panoramic glass roof is a rather expensive £1,400 option on all models while four-way lumbar support is standard on all but entry-level SE cars – where it’s a £250 option.
The Audi’s rock-solid interior feels like it was produced at a stonemason’s rather than assembled in a factory
You’ll find the Q5’s standard infotainment system pretty easy to use. Its seven-inch display is bright, clear and crisp. Skipping through menus using the scroll wheel on the centre console is very nearly as intuitive as BMW’s iDrive system and helps you keep your eyes on the road when driving.
Sport models and above come with satellite navigation as standard. Its various menus are sensible and easy to navigate – if you pick the upgraded Technology Pack you can even enter a postcode by writing numbers and letters on a dedicated touchpad with your finger. The system will calculate three different routes at once, too, based on total distance, journey time and fuel usage.
If you don’t fancy using Audi’s own sat-nav, all Q5s come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard. This means you can use your phone’s navigation and music streaming apps – among others – through the Q5’s central display instead of paying for the built-in system.
For the full high-tech experience, however, you’ll need to pick the optional Virtual Cockpit system – a 12.3-inch display behind the steering wheel that replaces old-fashioned dials. It’s offered as part of the £800 Light and Vision Pack (alongside LED headlights and ambient cabin lighting) or the £1,395 Technology Pack – where it’s joined by a larger 8.3-inch central display, wireless smartphone charging and a built-in hard drive for storing your music.
This extra screen makes it a breeze to quickly glance down at sat-nav directions or view high-resolution Google Maps in glorious full-screen. You can easily tweak the display using buttons on the steering wheel and it’s bright enough to be clearly visible, even in direct sunlight.
All models come with a 10-speaker stereo with a subwoofer and 180W amp as standard. It sounds great and makes the upgraded £750 Bang and Olufsen system seem a little unnecessary.