The very latest diesels are not really causing anyone a problem, but older engines are definitely in the sights of legislators and, to a lesser degree, drivers. With cities like London looking to price diesels out, and with Dieselgate still a smoking gun, it makes sense to look at petrol alternatives, even if it’s only to dismiss them.
Which brings us to the Q5 SUV with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine instead of the usual 2.0-litre diesel engine. The Q5 may not have the size and bulk of the Q7 but it’s still far from a lightweight little thing, so a 2.0-litre petrol lump might seem a bit small for the task. However, a decent level of tune plus a turbocharger adds up to a weighty 249bhp and very adequate torque.
The torque figure of 273lb ft is key here since the turbo spreads that power well across the range. It may not have quite the low-down guts of the diesel but it isn’t far off. Which means you can drive the SUV in quite a relaxed manner without the need to rev the nuts off it at every opportunity.
This is further aided by the slick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission, which works well to match engine speeds to road speed. It’s a bit jerky at very low speeds but otherwise works smoothly and doubtless helped us achieve a very creditable 32.2mpg – under less snarled-up traffic conditions you could doubtless better that, and in city driving it would definitely be worse, but that’s not bad for a petrol engine and a vehicle of this size.
The smooth and quiet engine helps with the general ease of the car. Ours came with the air suspension, a £2000 option, but that does mean anything less than a serious crater can be coped with without fuss. There’s a real serenity to the ride, but if you want to get a move on a shift to Dynamic mode does tighten things up, from suspension to steering, at the cost of a bit of that comfort.
Overall, the cabin is simply one of the best there is, something that has become a…