The Audi Q5 and Q7 are the manufacturer’s two best-selling Q range models in the US, but what exactly separates these two luxury SUVs?
The Audi Q7 is a midsize luxury crossover SUV, whereas the Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover SUV. The bigger Q7 can seat up to 7, has more space for cargo and a bigger engine under the hood. The Q5 only seats up to 5, but offers a plug-in hybrid variant that isn’t available for the Q7.
It should come as no surprise that the bigger Q7 costs more than the Q5.
Whereas the Q5 starts at $43,300, you’ll need to spend an extra ~$10k to get the Q7. The base model Q7 starts at $54,950, going up to a whopping $72,000 for the Prestige trim.
Worth bearing in mind is that the Q5 offers the 55TFSI-e plug-in hybrid version for all its trims, whereas you can only get the more powerful 55TFSI petrol engine when purchasing a Q7.
The price gap further increases when you add various options, since the same options cost relatively more on the Q7. But the Q7 does at least give you more standard features included in its price – like a panoramic sunroof and MMI® Navigation plus with MMI® all-in-touch.
The new Q5 and Q7 received major facelifts, and they definitely look more exciting than the somewhat dull looking previous generation. Although the smart and conservative designs are distinctly Audi, slimmer head and tail lights (with optional matrix LEDs) and sharper bodies give them a more aggressive look than their older counterparts.
In 2020 the Q7 received a significant facelift which gave it new vertical striping down the large front grille and an aluminum trim that stretches across the back of the two taillights.
For 2021, Audi gave the Q5 a light makeover to its front grille, front and rear bumpers and headlamps and tail lights.
Moving inside the cars, Audi’s recent interiors have been the subject of much praise thanks to their modern and uncluttered designs. Drivers won’t be disappointed by either cabin. Luxurious dark brown wood walnut inlays come as standard, with even more premium materials being employed in higher-end trims.
One of the biggest reasons buyers consider the Q7 over the Q5 is the power folding third row. Though cramped, you can squeeze in an extra 2 passengers at the back when the time calls for it.
Despite the additional row of seats, the Q7 still manages to offer passengers in the front and middle rows more room than they would have in the Audi Q5. Front row passengers get an additional 0.6 inches of legroom and 1.8 inches of shoulder room. Middle row passengers get an additional inch of legroom and 2 inches of additional shoulder room.
The Q7 therefore makes a lot of sense for those who will often need the additional seating capacity or be carrying taller passengers.
Another advantage of the Audi Q7 is the additional cargo volume it provides. Although the trunk is smaller than the Q5 if the third row is in use, folding it down gives you a 10 cubic-feet bigger trunk than the Q5. To put that into perspective, you can fit another large suitcase in the Q7.
Both SUVs also turn into what are essentially luxury vans when you fold all the rear seats down, providing ample room for moving cargo. In this setup, the Q5 boasts 53.1 cubic-feet of cargo volume, while the Q7 has an even more impressive 69.9 cubic-feet of space available.
Engine and Performance
Although Europeans have access to the diesel variants of the Q5 and Q7, Americans are limited to petrol engines, which is what we’ll be focusing on in this comparison.
The base Q5 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder TFSI® engine which produces 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. This takes the Q5 from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and to an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. Pay extra and you’ll get the hybrid engine which increases performance significantly.
The Q7 is available with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder TFSI® engine as the base Q5, but can also be purchased with a more powerful 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder TFSI® engine which produces 335 horsepower and a max torque of 369lb-ft. It can hit 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.7 seconds, effectively matching the Q5.
Regardless of the engine, the Q5 and Q7 are paired with an Eight-speed Tiptronic® transmission with quattro® all-wheel drive.
The bigger Q7 feels a bit sluggish when powered by the 2.0-liter engine (0-60 mph in 7.1s) but outpaces the Q5 with the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine (0-60 mph in 5.7s).
The Q5 and Q7 deliver a respectable maximum towing capacity of 4,400 pounds, although the Q7 can tow up to 7,700 pounds if matched with the 3.0-liter engine.
The Q5 is the more fuel efficient car, with a combined mpg of 25 mpg when picking up the gas variant.
The Q7 has a gas mileage of 21 mpg regardless of engine. Over time, the improved fuel efficiency of the Q5 can yield further cost savings over the Q7.
But the clear winner is the plug-in Q5, which more than doubles the fuel economy to an impressive 50 mpg combined.
Ride and Handling
Both luxury SUVs offer adaptive air suspension which means you can lower or raise the vehicle depending on whether you’re off-roading, driving on the highway or racing around a track. They also have the all-new roll stabilization which reduces the risk of rolling the car over.
As such, the driving experience is very good on either car, but expectedly the compact Q5 feels slightly more nimble and agile. This makes it slightly favorable for driving around narrow city streets. This is reflected in the Q5’s smaller turning diameter of 38.4 ft. compared to the 40.7 ft. turning diameter on the Q7.
Being a member of the Volkswagen Group, Audi is naturally one of the best automakers when it comes to innovative technology and intelligent driver assists.
The Q7 gets the same infotainment that is found on the Q8, with two massive HD touch screens with haptic feedback. The Q5 comes with a smaller infotainment, although the ability to upgrade is available.
Although the Q5 and Q7 both come with various standard features like automatic emergency braking and a rear view camera, buyers will need to look at the Premium Plus trim and above to get the Audi Virtual Cockpit and Audi side assist with Audi pre sense rear technologies.
The decision between the Q5 and Q7 should ultimately come down to whether or not you need the additional seating capacity and cargo space provided by the Q7.
Although the Q7 does offer more standard features, those can all be optioned on the Q5. The Q5 also benefits from smaller body dimensions which makes it more adept at navigating narrow roads.
Practicality aside, the Q7 does offer a more luxurious design, additional presence on the road and potentially better performance thanks to the availability of the bigger 6-cylinder engine. Some buyers will understandably be tempted by the bigger Q7 for these reasons alone.
As if the decision wasn’t hard enough, Audi throws another curveball with the plug-in hybrid Q5 which offers unbeatable fuel efficiency. All things considered, there’s a lot to think about when choosing between the two.