The Q5 runs into trouble with small- to medium-sized intrusions. The combination of stiff spring rates and damper settings doesn’t allow enough suppleness over less extreme bumps. As a result, the Audi’s ride is always fidgety over town roads. It gets better at speed, but never disappears – there’s a hint of stiffness even at speeds that normally suit stiff suspension setups.
You get permanent all-wheel-drive Quattro on the Q4, with a 40/60 front/rear bias. There's also hill descent, where the SUV automatically does the braking on each wheel when it comes down a steep slope. Even with the regular tyres shod on the Q5, it handles dirt tracks with great aplomb.
Smooth surfaces will rarely unsettle the Q5, though it's never a truly relaxing ride. You will notice the stiff egde to the ride. Handling is good. The Q5 turns with little body roll and changes direction without protest. It steers accurately, too, although with a curious mix of weight. Usually it’s too light, switching to too heavy quite quickly off-centre. There’s fantastic grip from the four-wheel-drive system and, if the BMW X3 didn’t exist, we would even call it nimble.