Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The German company’s mid-sized 4x4 can be found with both petrol and diesel engines, so there is a choice of Audi Q5 performance levels.

Petrol engines

The 2.0-litre TFSI is smooth and happy to be pushed with an eager nature and plenty of pace thanks to its turbocharger. It delivers a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds and its 211bhp is hugely enjoyable to exploit, while economy is a respectable 33mpg.

It’s offered with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes, with the auto the more popular choice with buyers.

The 272bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol arrived in early 2012 with a supercharger to give 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds coupled to 33.2mpg.

Diesel engines

Surprisingly for an SUV, the 2.0-litre TDI is cheapest and it's the most cost effective too - road tax is lower than the other engines and it achieves 42mpg. The 170bhp unit is refined with strong in-gear pace, although it can get out of breath at higher speeds.

However it is the only engine to come with a manual gearbox and the six-speed transmission has a positive shift.

The second diesel is the excellent 3.0-litre TDI. With 240bhp it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds - that's quicker than a Golf GTI and it has huge reserves of pulling power available from low down.

Along with the 2.0 TFSI, the 3.0 TDI comes with a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox as standard, which offers smooth and super-quick changes.

A limited edition 313bhp SQ5 was announced in mid-2012, with first deliveries in early 2013. This car offers 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds and a 155mph top speed – see the separate review for more details.

Parkers recommends

Although the 2.0 TFSI petrol makes the Q5 great fun to drive, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel makes by far the most sense for its lower running costs and healthy residual values.

It may be classed as an 'off-roader' but the Q5 is definitely designed for tarmac. It does come with some off-road technology such as hill descent control, which enables you to safely navigate a steep downward slope, plus an off-road setting for the traction control.

But even Audi admits that only a minority of owners will head onto tricky terrain - instead the Q5 is a road-focussed 4x4 that drives like a car. Body control is excellent and the precise and responsive steering allows you to turn into corners with plenty of confidence. Despite the higher ground clearance it's very agile and the strong brakes add to the reassuring feel.

The optional 'Audi drive select' system allows the driver to alter the characteristics of the car, including the suspension settings, steering, throttle response and gear change points (on the automatic) via a button on the centre console.