2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI review: Australian first drive

  • Doors and Seats


    5 doors, 5 seats

  • Engine


    2.0DT/2kW, 4 cyl.

  • Engine Power


    120kW, 370Nm

  • Fuel


    Diesel 4.8L/100KM

  • Manufacturer



  • Transmission


    7 Spd Auto (DCT)

  • Warranty


    5 Yr, Unltd KMs

  • Ancap Safety


    5/5 star (2017)


Rob Margeit

Audi’s most affordable mid-size SUV is also arguably its best, writes Rob Margeit.

  • Refined and smooth diesel engine matched by slick auto transmission
  • Plenty of standard equipment despite entry-level pricing
  • Comfortable ride on the road

  • No adaptive cruise control
  • Missing some key safety tech (thanks to chip shortage)
  • Servicing, even pre-paid, is on the high side

Audi has bolstered its medium SUV range with a new entry-level variant priced at under $70,000. And it’s a diesel with a promised range of 1400km per tank.

The 2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI is one of three new variants to join the brand’s line-up. It’s priced at $68,350 before on-road costs, making it around $4350 more affordable than the previous model holding that mantle.

Technically, the model’s full name is Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition; however, Drive understands that it will join the Q5 range on a permanent basis from 2023.

It’s certainly a lot of car for the money, with plenty of standard equipment, as you’d expect from a premium brand.

Highlights included LED headlights and daytime running lights, 20-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, leather-appointed seats with heating for the front row, three-zone climate control, a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, digital radio, and an electric tailgate with gesture control.

Safety technologies include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and a tyre pressure monitor.

Audi has persisted with diesel powertrains in the face of buyer resistance, thanks to 2015’s Dieselgate emissions scandal. And not only has the German brand persisted, but it’s refined the technology to meet Europe’s latest and ever more stringent Euro 6d-ISC-FCM emissions standards, in place since January 2021.

Make no mistake, this is no dirty oiler spewing black smoke while the engine clatters tractor-like under the bonnet. Instead, Audi has refined the science of diesel motivation to quite remarkable levels, offering an economical, refined powertrain that’s hard not to be impressed by.

Our test car wore a $1531 optional shade of Manhattan Grey metallic paint, one of five of a palette of austere hues. Want free paint? Your only choice is Ibis White.

Key details2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI
Price (MSRP)$68,350 plus on-road costs
Colour of test carManhattan Grey metallic
OptionsMetallic paint $1531
Price as tested$69,881 plus on-road costs
RivalsBMW X3 | Volvo XC60 | Mercedes-Benz GLC

Audi austerity abounds inside. That’s no bad thing, Ingolstadt’s interior designers always erring on the side of restraint, but with a contemporary feel.

The leather-appointed seats are electrically adjustable up front, including lumbar support, and offer plenty of comfort and support. They’re heated too up front, ideal for chilly mornings such as the one we found ourselves in at launch.

The designers have shown restraint with the Q5’s steering wheel too. Unusually in today’s landscape, the leather-appointed wheel is round, not flat-bottomed, and while it features an array of buttons and switches for various infotainment and driver display functions, they have been kept to a minimum and are easy and intuitive to use. Not every carmaker currently can make that claim.

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Door pockets capable of holding bottles are complemented by the usual array of handy storage nooks, like the central storage bin (with padded lid), leading into a perfectly smartphone-sized cubby. At first glance, the Q5 seems devoid of cupholders until you realise that smartphone-sized cubby slides back into the storage bin revealing a pair of cupholders. Neat.

A slender cubby next to the chunky and reassuring gear lever is ideal for keys, while another cubby fore of the gear lever is perfect for wallets and other smaller items. There’s an older-style USB-A plug as well as a 12V plug out front, adding to the newer USB-C port inside the storage bin.

The second row is roomy, as you’d expect of today’s de facto family wagon. There’s plenty of space in all key areas – toe, knee, leg and head – making for a comfortable road trip experience back there.

Amenities for back-row passengers include separate climate controls and vents, including nice-to-have vents in the floor right where toes would sit.

A pair of USB-A are joined by another 12V plug, meaning no-one is left without the ability to charge devices on the move. A fold-down armrest hides a pair of cupholders while, as they do in the front, the door pockets can take larger bottles.

Out back, an electric tailgate with gesture control opens into a big cargo area. Boot capacity for the Q5 35 TDI measures 520L with the second row in play, expanding to 1520L with the rear stowed away in 40:20:40 split-fold fashion.

There are tie-down points to keep your bags secure, while a standard-fit cargo blind keeps your valuables away from prying eyes. A space-saver tyre and wheel live under the boot floor.

Overall, the cabin of Audi’s most affordable mid-size SUV doesn’t stray far from the Audi interior playbook. Yes, it’s austere, but it feels solid and well put together, and with the conveniences and comfort touches you’d expect from a prestige German.

2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI
Boot volume520L seats up

1520L seats folded

Infotainment and Connectivity

A 10.1-inch touchscreen hosts the 35 TDI’s MMI infotainment system. It’s equipped with satellite navigation that utilises real satellite imagery overlaid with street guidance, and looks a cut above the simple graphics so often deployed in GPS systems. More importantly, it works a treat, with clear and concise directions as well as a user experience that is simple and intuitive.

Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard, while Android Auto users will need to connect via one of the two USB points up front. CarPlay proved quick to pair, quicker still to load each and every time entering the cabin.

DAB+ digital radio is standard, too, played on the Q5’s entry-level eight-speaker sound system that offers decent sound quality, if not the premium experience from high-end brands. Most will find it perfectly acceptable.

While we decry the lack of physical shortcut buttons, Audi’s MMI interface, with its menu and sub-menu structure accessed exclusively via touchscreen, is intuitive and slick. There’s a simplicity to the menu structure that is sometimes lacking in other brands’ systems.

Helpfully, the Q5’s climate controls have escaped the modern scourge of being buried inside infotainment system menus, the 35 TDI still resplendent with physical switches and dials to effect comfy cabin climate.

This grade of Q5 misses out on Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit digital driver display. But, all is not lost, the 7.0-inch high-resolution driver display nestled between two analogue dials – tachometer and speedo – is still an excellent source of information.

It can be scrolled through for a host of driving data or mapping, and while it misses out on the widescreen user experience of its bigger Virtual Cockpit sibling, it is still sharp and easy to read and arguably, despite being smaller than some iterations we’ve seen in other German brands, a better use of available digital real estate.

The Audi Q5 range wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating awarded back in 2017. It scored highly in all three protection categories – adult occupant (93 per cent), child occupant (86 per cent) and pedestrian (73 per cent) – while safety assist systems attracted a score of 58 per cent.

Standard safety tech in 2022 includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and front and rear parking sensors. That’s a slim list mitigated by the absence of some systems, like rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, which have succumbed to the global microchip and component shortage and are currently unavailable, according to Audi.

And while we’d love adaptive cruise control with stop&go function as standard, it remains an option, part of the Assistance Pack that also adds 360-degree cameras and parking assist.

Instead, regular cruise control is fitted as standard, and it remains one of the better iterations we’ve experienced, maintaining the set speed with razor-sharp precision.

A suite of eight airbags covers both rows of occupants.

2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI review: Australian first drive-0

As already outlined, the Audi Q5 35 TDI’s sharp pricing undercuts its own previous entry-level pricing by around $4350. That makes its $68,350 (plus on-road costs) sticker price instantly competitive in a premium medium SUV set that includes the BMW X3 (from $74,900), Land Rover Discovery Sport (from $78,610), Porsche Macan (from $90,100) and Volvo XC60 (from $69,490).

Audi joined the five-year warranty party this year, now covering new car purchases with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Services are required every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and can be prepaid at the time of purchase. The current Audi five-year/75,000km service plan asks for $3140 upfront.

At a glance2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI
WarrantyFive years / unlimited km
Service intervals12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs$3140 (5 years)

Audi claims the Q5 35 TDI will get along on just 4.8L/100km of diesel on the combined cycle. That’s a figure derived under new stricter European RDE (real driving emissions) standards, designed to provide a more indicative consumption and emissions figure than previously.

Over two days of real-world driving, we saw an indicated 6.1L/100km.

According to Audi, based on those numbers, the Q5 and its 70-litre fuel tank will get 1400km of driving range per tank. The best we saw was an indicated 1210km, still not too shabby. Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane on a single tank seems entirely possible.

Fuel UseageFuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed)4.8L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test)6.1L/100km
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel tank size70L

Forget what you know about diesels. This is arguably one of the best diesel-powered cars I’ve ever personally driven. It’s quiet, it’s refined, it is, in a word, delightful. There’s no diesel clatter and the engine doesn’t sound like a truck. Or ute. Or a diesel even. Instead, its smooth-as-silk engine hum is matched by an equally refined power delivery and general all-around driving manner.

Power comes from Audi’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel making 120kW and 370Nm, with those outputs sent to the front wheels only via Audi’s equally as adept seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is a first for an Audi Q5, all previous models wearing Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. If all-wheel surety is high on your list, look further up the Q5 tree.

While on paper those outputs might seem modest, the 35 TDI never feels like it’s wanting for more in most situations. Audi claims a 0–100km/h sprint time of 9.0 seconds, and while not exactly earth-shattering, that feels about right. This is no rocket ship, but nor does it claim to be. But, it’s plenty enough for most of the action a Q5 in this specification is likely to see.

Around town, there’s simply a willingness to get the job done with little fanfare or noise but nourished by plenty of comfort. The ride on 20-inch alloys is almost impossibly smooth, while the cabin remains insulated from the worst of Sydney’s roads. It’s quite remarkable.

Cruising at highway speeds is equally as effortless, the mid-sizer simply settling into a rhythm at 100km/h, the diesel under the bonnet ticking over at barely over 1400rpm. Little wonder Audi claims a frugal 4.8L per 100km.

While we didn’t really get close to that, our short launch drive encompassed slightly less than 100km of motorway driving with around that again of heavy urban running for an indicated 6.1L/100km. While it’s difficult to predict, it’s also not too hard to imagine getting close to that 4.8L claim on a long-distance run from, say, Sydney to Melbourne.

What needs no imagination is just how nicely the Q5 35 TDI drives. Around town it feels effortless and quiet, with a composed and cosseting ride. The seven-speed dual-clutch auto is equally as smooth, with seamless gear changes that are barely felt inside the cabin.

Even something as simple as the Q5’s idle stop/start system is a gem, instantly responsive and unobtrusive, shutting down the engine and then restarting without a ripple. Switch it off, if you prefer, but that won’t impact the serenity inside the 35 TDI. More than once at idle, we found ourselves checking to see if the 2.0-litre diesel was actually ticking over (it was), such is the quietude of the Q5 in this iteration.

The overall experience behind the wheel is one of comfort. The Q5 35 TDI does exactly what’s likely to be asked of it by most owners. It’s effortless to drive, quiet in the cabin, and with a ride that irons out all but the nastiest of road nasties. It can tackle the daily traffic-congested grind easily, while still having plenty left in the tank to embark on some long-distance adventures.

Key details2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power120kW @ 3250–4200rpm
Torque370Nm @ 1500–3000rpm
Drive typeFront-wheel drive
TransmissionSeven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power to weight ratio66kW/t
Weight (tare)1815kg
Tow rating2000kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle11.8m

There’s really not any one area we can pinpoint where the 35 TDI falls down. Yes, its servicing cost at over $600 annually for five years is a touch high. And we lament the chip shortage that has seen some key safety technologies deleted for now.

And yet, the Q5 35 TDI remains soaked in premium goodness with a drivetrain that’s smooth and efficient. Its road manners are impeccable, too, cushioning without being soft, firm without being harsh.

But, the standout is simply how quiet it is inside the cabin. If you like your motoring to be serene and stress-free, then the 2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI could be the prestige medium SUV for you.

Ratings Breakdown

2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI Limited Edition Wagon

8.3/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Budget Direct

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2022 Audi Q5 35 TDI review: Australian first drive

Rob Margeit

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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