2020 Audi Q5 Problems and Top Issues – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

In the world of luxury SUVs, customers have a lot of grand expectations. The 2020 Audi Q5 was set to meet all of those goals by providing “style ahead of the curves.” However, many drivers find that more is needed than just style. What they really want is a functioning electrical system, a reliable fuel system and a strong, durable structure.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Audi Q5

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Seat Belts
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system in a vehicle is responsible for starting the engine, running the accessories and keeping everything working correctly. When something malfunctions, it can be downright discouraging.

Here is one example from an Edmunds review. “This is a horrible purchase. Basic features like the rearview camera can’t function properly on my car, the auto start/stop completely shuts my car off at stop signs/lights. The car is sluggish off the line and my sons 07 A4 has more pep. This car has virtually no storage so and the screen functions are better in a basic Honda.”

In this example, it’s clear that the electrical system failures inhibit safety, performance and amenities. The automaker goes on to talk about other issues with Service Bulletin #A9020512058077_4. In this announcement, the company acknowledges trouble with the Audi Pre-Sense system, which leads to “unexpected interventions.” On the bright side, when the Q5 intervenes in a way that it shouldn’t, at least it will provide plenty of style along the way.

Problems with the Fuel System

The fuel system is responsible for providing enough gasoline to the engine for a smooth ride. However, this is another area that is causing problems for Q5 owners.

Here is another Edmunds review. “Bought a new Q5 2020 in March 2020. Shortly after the purchase the car would turn off when at a red light.  Filled the car with gas and the gas gauge would not work until I drove about 25 miles. Now today the key FOB stopped working and no it was not the battery.”

This is one thing that Audi doesn’t want to talk about. Whether it is an unpredictable performance or a malfunctioning gas gauge, owners are simply being left in the dark for now. Hopefully, there’s enough fuel to get through those curves that are ahead.

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

There’s nothing cheap about the Q5 price. Therefore, the structure should be well-made and worth the cost, but it doesn’t seem to be.

Here is a final Edmunds review. “I’m 60 years old and have owned Chevy’s, Fords, Chrysler, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, etc. The Audi Q5 carpet is the most horrible flooring I’ve ever had to deal with. Every tree needle, etc. sticks in the carpet and is a nightmare to get out. The “mat” in the rear, and I call it that because it is more like cheap felt than carpet, is fraying from just moderate normal use. It is so bad that honestly I will never buy another Audi if it has this poor quality flooring.”

In this situation, there’s actually a structure-related recall worth mentioning. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V737000 says that the trim around the rear wheel arch cover can detach and fall off. If this happens, it might create a road hazard and an accident. It looks like the manufacturer failed to install the necessary clips to hold this trim in place. Not only will this defect hamper the Q5’s “style,” but it’s also quite dangerous.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Audi pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Complaint Data

CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJan 09, 2023
Incident occurred as I was waiting third in line to add fuel to my audi. Usually when I am in a long wait I put my vehicle in neutral and to move forward then I have to put my foot on brake to change gears. In this incident I did just that when car in front moved up, but the car suddenly accelerated forward quickly and hit with force the car in front. I put car in reverse to back off with intent to shut down car to exit in order to assess damage and provide insurance information. Instead when I went into reverse the car shot uncontrollably backward 20-30 feet at high speed striking another car entering the fueling area. In either the forward motion and or the backward motion of car did the sensors or brake assistance system deploy. The car will be inspected by both audi america and also by a third party appointed by my insurance provider.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateOct 23, 2022
The vehicle is a 2020 audi q5 premium plus model with 15,525 miles on it. I was driving at 55 mph on a two lane country road and approaching an intersection at 11:55 am et. Road and weather conditions were perfect. Clear, sunny weather and 65 degrees. Recently paved roadway which was clear and dry. There were no vehicles in front, behind or at the intersection. No pedestrians or animals. Cruise control was off. My foot was on the accelerator pedal. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the audi pre-sense system engaged. The brakes were automatically applied which instantly reduced speed to about 40 mph. Steering wheel shook briefly, there was a brief audible alert, and then a audi presense triangle warning symbol appeared on the instrument gauge cluster. I was thrown into my seat belt when the car quickly decelerated. The entire incident was probably 5 seconds although it seemed longer in the moment. I startled but maintained control of the vehicle. Luckily, I have a previously scheduled dealer maintenance appointment this coming week. This item will be at the top of the list.
DateSep 28, 2022
I have this car and it "drinks" about 300ml of coolant between 800-1000 miles. I have to add coolant once a while, but not much... Went to the dealership and they did an inspection and pressure test and came back all normal. They told me the car will use coolant during summer?! I see many other people having similar issues on the audi forum. Please investigate as vw tends to make poor-quality water pump and I hope it is not the engine consuming it...
CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Seat Belts
DateJun 24, 2022
The car was constantly smelling like smoke. It felt like it was going to catch fire. I got it serviced when it had to be serviced at 15k but audi dealership did not warn of any recall and mentioned everything was great with the car. In the end I had to sell the car which was in april, 22 because I didn't feel safe driving the car anymore. I would also constantly get airbag being deployed warnings on the screen and one time the car shut down automatically as I was driving at about 45mph going up the mountain
CategorySuspension, Wheels
DateJun 17, 2022
Recall number: 22v034 audi has a current recall impacting the alignment of the rear axle. It is causing uneven and unsafe wear on the rear tires. Our tires are experiencing this greatly. We took the car into our audi dealership. Audi, the manufacturer, rejected the request for tire replacement claiming alignment is within specification. However, if you take even a small glance at our tires, it is clear there is something wrong due to the vehicle, matching the description of the recall to a t. This is a serious safety issue that audi is not properly addressing.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateMay 17, 2022
Sun roof exploded for no reason. No rock hit it, driving on the highway with no other cars around
DateMay 16, 2022
The hood has opened 3 different times with no warning while driving down the road.
CategorySuspension, Unknown Or Other
DateMar 22, 2022
Received letter from audi regarding nhtsa:22v034. Letter indicated there was a defect with the rear axle suspension alignment which could lead to premature and excessive tire wear and, potential tire failure. After inspection, dealer (fletcher jone audi, costa mesa, ca) said there were no issues despite presence of excessive tire wear. Tires only had 18,000 miles on them and had been rotated at 10,000 by fletcher jones audi. I was told they would not do any work, repairs or replace tires.
CategoryUnknown Or Other, Wheels
DateMar 20, 2022
I went to dealership to fix recall and the dealership didn't finish work on recall because they wanted me to pay for an alignment when it says it should off been fixed on your website because the recall damaged my tires unevenly.
CategoryElectrical System
DateJan 20, 2022
Yesterday I driving my audi q5 2020 on the expressway , then with no warning multiple warning and error messages suddenly appeared on dashboard. The entire car immediately shut down in middle of the expressway, no time for me to put on my hazard, no time for me to safely pull over .. With difficulty moving it to safety. The car wouldn't start and I was in the middle of the expressway which put me at great risk along with my passengers and surrounding vehicles.... I was scared and shocked very dangerous !!!!
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Steering
DateNov 30, 2021
gateway control modular failure. At dealer currently. We took pictures. Multiple reports of the exact same thing on audi forums online. Audi confirmed same issue. While driving car it suddenly stopped and the emergency brake was automatically applied. No warning, no way to live the car to safety, all the warning lights began to flash, windows started to rolling up and down. Then the car just turned off. Unable to start it, turn it on, move it, nothing. Needed a special tow truck to have it towed to dealer. A serious safety issue. I am 8 m pregnant, had my brother and 4 year old nephew in car. I am concerned for my safety but equally concerned for every q5 has this gateway module in this location. Every person driving a q5 and other drivers can be affected by the design flaw of the location/ lack of protection of this gateway module. We were lucky we were not on the highway. What if this happened on a highway at high speeds or in a curve.
DateJun 15, 2021
on july 14, 2020, my daughter and I drove my leased audi q5 to cari's sister's home. As I pulled in the driveway, and before I turned off the vehicle and exited the car, smoke began to billow from the engine compartment and enter the interior. My daughter and I were suddenly engulfed by white smoke, and evacuated the vehicle immediately. With the use of a garden hose and fire extinguishers, my sister, brother-in-law, and I were able to subdue the fire until the fire department arrived and extinguished it fully. My audi q5 was totaled due to this fire that, suddenly and without warning, engulfed the engine compartment. After the incident, audi inspected the vehicle. Ultimately, audi stated that the cause/origin of the engine compartment fire was due to the turbocharger electronic waste gate malfunction. My daughter and I were stunned, shocked, and scared by the car's sudden and unexpected combustion. Naturally, the trauma and terror of having a car ignite for seemingly no reason are significant, and weigh on my daughter and me. First, the terror of having to fend off a car fire from surrounding people and property is arduous and horrible. Second, my daughter, to this day, still thinks that a car in which she is a passenger may erupt in flames at any given moment. She does not realize that this may have been a one-off accident, and fears simply riding in a vehicle as a result. No person should have to go through the harrowing experience of pulling their daughter out of a burning car and extinguishing the fire before it can damage even more property or take a life. Importantly, the smoke that engulfed the vehicle's passenger compartment exacerbated my asthma. For months after the incident, my breathing was strained and I suffered more severe asthma symptoms. Audi/vw made a minimal offer and I have had to engage attorneys to seek compensation for the damages my daughter and I suffered as a result of this incident.
CategoryElectrical System
DateAug 13, 2020
I recently purchased a 2020 audi q5. It was 6 weeks old and had about 2300 miles on the odometer. When pulling out of a parking space the car died. I could not get it started no matter what I did. I could not even get the flashers to turn on (to the ire of those trying to exit the lot.) after having it towed (I was on vacation, no less!) I learned that the electrical distribution system was defective and had to be replaced. I am just grateful this did not give out on a 55 + mph highway, which could have been life threatening. Also, since the gear shift is electric, there is a way to put the car in neutral for towing purposes. This system did not work and my car had to be towed backward while in drive.
CategoryElectrical System, Service Brakes, Steering
DateApr 27, 2020
Overall problem: audi q5 2020 appears to have a computer malfunction that instantly disables all systems. Vehicle 'shut itself off' at a brief stop and became very difficult to control, rolling into intersection. Details: I stopped car at residential neighborhood stop sign (brief and complete stop, no wait), immediately ready to proceed forward. Audi's 'auto stop/start' feature shut off the engine, then immediately all electronics shut down. The car basically 'turned itself off.' vehicle then began drifting/coasting into intersection. Controls were unresponsive. I realized the power brakes and power steering were disabled. I braked very hard, which stopped the car. Had to keep brakes pressed very hard to keep car from moving. Ignition button was unresponsive. I then noticed a small message on the dashboard controls which read something like 'start/stop ignition system disabled ' put car in p.' (this was the only working electrical feature I noticed, the event was frightening and disorienting, but I'm fairly sure nothing else was functioning). I then shifted gearshift to park, and was able to start the car and drive away. I reported problem to dealer. Dealer claimed to inspect vehicle, and said they were unable to find anything wrong. Dealer said vehicle's computer had no record/memory of the incident. Dealer also seemed resistant to properly documenting the incident on their paperwork. I reported the problem to audi corporate in auburn hills mi, explaining I no longer felt safe driving this car, and would not drive it again. Audi claimed to perform their own investigation, and their brief reply said that they were not obligated to do anything under applicable lemon laws. Car was in 3rd month of lease, ~150 miles. Previously I drove an audi a4 2017 for 3 years so I was/am very familiar with the way audis operate.
CategorySeat Belts
DateFeb 29, 2020
Any time my apple cell phone se model is in the passenger seat, the seat belt unbuckled alarm intermittently is activated on the dash. I see this as a safety issue particularly if a child was in the back seat, since it could be realized as a false alarm, but actually be a true unbuckling somewhere in the vehicle. This occurs with the vehicle in motion, but the phone stationary (ie. Not traveling over road bumps, potholes or cornering) and is unpredictable. This has been occurring since I took possession nov 30 last year and was not able to be rectified by the dealership or by them contacting audi central for guidance. All that was done was resetting the electronics to factory settings which did not solve the problem. Only suggestion was not to allow the phone to sit in the seat?

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Wayne

    i have an Audi Q5 2020 with about 19k on it. Whenever i drive 60mph or more on the highway with hardly any water on the ground the backend starts to fishtail. This only happens when there is morning dew or light rain. My wife’s KIA Sorrento handles much better in the rain than this expensive Q5. I’ve pressed every button to see if there is a correction and “no.” I put brand new expensive tires on the back and still i cannot drive more than 60mph on the highway which is a joke living on Long Island.

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