No contest: Range Rover Velar vs Audi Q5

Here at Cars Interest we are passionate about cars of German and Swedish origin. This makes it all the more painful to admit – the Audi does not even come close this time.

Not that the Audi Q5 is a bad car. It is eminently capable, well-built, well-equipped, practical and safe. Think of it like a sausage. The new Range Rover Velar by comparison has all the sizzle. It is an absolute stunner to look at and has the image to match. The svelte lines and sleek profile, the attention to detail, the recessed door handles, the extra slim lights. And that’s before we look at the interior.

The Velar range starts at £44,830 for the entry level 2.0 D 180 and goes up to £72,630 for the range topping supercharged R-Dynamic HSE with its longitudinal / V6 / 24 Quad cam DIVCT (Dual Independent Variable Cam Timing) 380bhp petrol engine. To be honest, the entry level is by no means sparse and is all the Range Rover most people should ever need. The Audi Q5 starts at £37,240 for the 2.0TDI 190. Currently there is a choice of just two power units – the 2.0 TDI 190 diesel or the 252bhp 2.0TFSI petrol however the range will be joined with a 3.0 TDI and a 354PS V6 TFSI version when the latest SQ5 joins the UK Audi range following its recent world debut at the NAIAS in Detroit.

Range Rover Velar

Ingenium diesels: Low fuel consumption, high torque
Two versions of Jaguar Land Rover’s clean, refined four-cylinder Ingenium diesel are offered, each delivering high levels of torque from low engine speeds, ensuring excellent responsiveness and acceleration whenever the driver demands it.

Both of these 2.0-litre engines share the same efficient, low friction design, and benefit from features such as a split-cooling system and electronically-controlled coolant pump for rapid warm-up and therefore reduced fuel consumption. Variable exhaust cam timing helps the aftertreatment system to reach operating temperature as quickly as possible, reducing emissions.

And both feature state-of-the-art technologies to cut NOx emissions. The sophisticated exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system uses a cooled low-pressure circuit in addition to a high-pressure circuit: this reduces pumping losses, and therefore increases efficiency still further, and also reduces peak combustion temperatures to help reduce the formation of NOx in the cylinders.

The selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system cuts tailpipe emissions of NOx to very low levels. The system injects AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid into the exhaust gas, where it reacts with the NOx and converts it into harmless nitrogen and water, ensuring that the Ingenium diesels comply with the stringent limits of Euro 6.

The most efficient version of the engine, known as D180, features a 1,800bar common-rail system and a single variable geometry turbocharger, ensuring clean, quiet efficient combustion and excellent response from low engine speeds. Developing 180PS and maximum torque of 430Nm from 1,750rpm, this engine delivers flexible performance and outstanding efficiency: acceleration from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds (0-100km/h takes 8.9 seconds) , with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of 52.5mpg (5.4-litres/100km) and 142g/km respectively on the European combined cycle.

The most streamlined Land Rover ever
Close collaboration from the outset between the Design and Engineering teams, together with exhaustive computational fluid dynamics simulation and wind tunnel testing, delivered a drag coefficient from just 0.32. This makes the Velar the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever.

The flow of air around the vehicle has been optimised in terms of lift too: as a result, the lift balance front-to-rear is an ideal 50:50, helping to further improve stability and steering feel at higher speeds, delivering even greater driver confidence.

Audi Q5

Powerful and efficient TDI and TFSI engines
The Audi Q5 launched in the UK with a familiar 2.0 TDI engine producing 190PS. Fuel consumption for this model has been significantly reduced. A 2.0 TFSI engine is also available. The further developed 2.0 TFSI has an output of 252PS, yet it returns up to 41.5mpg combined, which equates to 154 grams CO2 per km. The also intensively revised 3.0 TDI, coming at a later date, increases output to 286PS with 620Nm (457.3 lb ft) of torque.


Sporty yet comfortable
The Audi Q5 enables handling that combines very different strengths – it is sporty while being extremely comfortable. Creating the basis for this are the newly developed five-link suspensions and also the new electromechanical power steering system. Dynamic steering is available as an option; it varies its gear ratio according to the driving speed and steering angle.

Static photo, Colour: Garnet red
Static photo, Colour: Garnet red
Static photo, Colour: Garnet red

Customers can choose from two extension stages of springs and damping. The chassis with damper control offers a very wide spread between comfort and dynamics, which the driver can select via Audi drive select. In addition to adjusting damper control, the new adaptive air suspension can be used to vary the ride height of the car body over five stages.

Our verdict

Imagine if you could buy a 5cm shorter, rakish version of the standard £100,000 Range Rover for less than half the price? That, essentially, is the new Range Rover Velar. Looks, style, class, and presence. In this market that is 90% of the battle. Compared to the Velar the Audi Q5 looks dull, lumpen, ubiquitous and distinctly average. In our opinion, there really is no contest.

Our winner
2.0 D Velar 180. £44,830

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Categorized as Opinion

By Simon D

About the author: Car enthusiast from an early age. Creator of Cars Interest. Current ride: Porsche Boxster 987.2.