The Audi Q5 is a mid-size crossover, designed to offer the compactness of a sedan and the fun of an SUV. The trendy 4-wheeler is now in its third generation and keeps offering the best of both worlds – utility and comfort with style.

People love to use their SUVs for off-roading and other adventures as well, and thanks to so many options in the market, this trend has only flourished. With its well balanced body and powerful engine, the Audi Q5 is capable of towing a horse trailer to an extent. This popular German engineered SUV is loved by everyone, be it women, young college students, or people looking for a comfortable daily driving experience. Thanks to its configuration, some people also use it to tow small-sized trailers, especially for carrying bikes, kayaks or surfer boards.

Although it has a good towing capacity, the Audi Q5 is designed more for luxurious cruising and economical commuting.

But there is a limit to what you can tow with an Audi Q5, depending on its size and mechanical capabilities. If you’re planning to switch from your big-size SUV, such as a Toyota Landcruiser or Nissan Patrol to a compact crossover, you must realise that it would be a downgrade on towing and rugged off-roading.

People who own horses and participate in different equestrian events, have to travel occasionally and most of the time they have to tow a horse trailer. A horse trailer is different from any other trailer and requires additional planning, as you’re carrying live cargo and not simply carting building materials from A to B. You’ll need to consider the design, safety, and weight of the trailer, as well as the well-being of the horses inside.

If the Audi Q5 is at the top of your wish list, keep in mind that it is not an all-out SUV, but rather a compact crossover meant to be a comfortable daily driver. Although it has a good towing capacity, it is designed more for luxurious cruising and economical commuting. Can you install a tow bar on an Audi Q5? How much weight can an Audi Q5 tow? Should you tow a horse trailer with a Q5? And can the Audi Q5 off road? This detailed article has answers to all your questions, so let’s get right to it and help you decide on your next horse trailer towing SUV.

Can You Put a Tow Bar on an Audi Q5?

The Audi Q5 is designed so that it can easily be fitted with a tow bar and there are many reliable aftermarket options to suit your needs. Although it’s a mid-size crossover, it still has some juice in it and with its durable Quattro All-Wheel Drive System, it can meet your small-sized trailer towing requirements.

In the earlier generations of Audi Q5, the bumper needed some modifications for a tow bar installation. With time, the technology and manufacturing became smarter removing the need for special modifications.. There are different types of tow bars with a specific rating that you can use with your Q5 and tow your horse float.

Audi Q5 subtle tow bar

Best Tow Bar Options for the Audi Q5

There are 3 main types of tow bars available, differing somewhat in design.

1- Fixed flange tow bar

Given that it is a permanently attached accessory, a fixed flange tow bar is a great option for individuals who don’t want to detach the tow bar from the car. The fixed flange tow bar is a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their tow bar with additional towing equipment because the flange has a bolt-on plate that extras can be attached to. This plate enables the combined use of the tow ball and equipment like bumper protector shields and bolt-on cycle racks. Note that it is slightly bulkier in design and can hamper the functioning of rear parking sensors.

2- Fixed swan neck tow bar

As you could guess by its name, it is also a fixed type of tow bar that you can attach to your Q5, but it is much more compact and smarter in design. It is compatible with most trailers, and carriers that you could use regularly, and doesn’t inhibit the parking sensors or reverse camera in any way.

Additionally, you also don’t need an ALKO stabiliser with this tow bar, unlike the fixed flange, where you need to prevent swaying and rocking of the trailer.

3- The detachable swan neck tow bar

This might well be the most suitable tow bar you could get for your Audi Q5. Due to its smart design and construction, it can easily be detached once not in use and doesn’t alter the looks or functionality of the car. It comes with a twist and push locking mechanism and can easily be attached or removed without any complex tools and skills. To protect it from theft, there’s a locking mechanism as well which uses a key. If you’re planning to use your Audi Q5 for towing, this is one of the ideal options that you should consider.

The swan neck tow bar comes with a twist and push locking mechanism and can easily be attached or removed without any special tools

Westfalia detachable towbar – AUDI Q5

Tow Bar Rating and Other Considerations

Towing itself,  is not a sport or recreational activity. It is something that requires a high degree of concentration and awareness as there are risks associated with towing a trailer on the road. That’s why there are towing regulations and guidelines which the traffic authorities put in place to ensure road safety.

The first thing to consider before buying a vehicle for towing is the GVM (gross vehicle mass). It is the combined weight of the car and the cargo inside it. A trailer must weigh less than the car’s GVM, otherwise, it can easily start swaying on the road and could risk toppling the vehicle. For instance, if the vehicle’s GVM is 1000 kg, the weight of the trailer should ideally be 700-800 kg or less.

Tow bar rating

Based on how much weight a trailer can carry, they are divided into three classes, namely Class 2 (light duty), 3 (medium duty), and 4 (heavy duty).

Class 2 (Light Duty)

Class 2 or light-duty trailers are those that can easily handle a load of up to 1,200 kg or 2,600 lbs.

Class 3 (Medium Duty)

These trailers are capable of carrying a load of up to 1,600 kg or 3,500 lbs.

 Class 4 (Heavy Duty)

If you’re looking to carry a heavy load of up to 2,000 kg or 4,400 lbs, this is the one for you.

How much can my large SUV tow?

What is the towing capacity of the Audi Q5?

The Audi Q5 comes with different powertrains and has a variable rating for each. Ranging from a basic 2.0L 4-cylinder to an aggressive 3.0L V6 engine, it can offer respectable towing capacity.

According to the manufacturer, the towing capacity of the Audi Q5 is 2,000 lbs to 4,500 lbs (around 900kg to 2,000kg).

How Much Can the Audi Q5 Tow? | Audi Ontario in CA

Is the Audi Q5 Suitable for Towing?

Audi Q5 is a luxury crossover designed to offer a comfortable riding experience, practicality and driver assistance with up-scale technology. Yet, being a crossover, the Audi Q5 offers a respectable towing capability and you can use it for some very common towing jobs, including a horse trailer.

Audi Q5 offers a respectable towing capability

What makes the Audi Q5 good for towing?

Apart from its dependable powertrain, Audi Q5 is equipped with some other features that make it reliable for towing, such as:

1- Technical prowess

With its turbocharged engines, the Q5 produces a generous horsepower figure of up to 350 (260kW) and 330 lb-ft (447Nm) of torque. This enables it to pull any kind of payload within set specifications, i.e., a maximum of 4,500 lbs. (2,000kg).

2- Traction | Quattro AWD

To safely and confidently pull a payload, the car ought to have a solid road grip and traction. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system is one of the best in the industry and provides maximum traction irrespective of the terrain.

3- Stability Control

Stability control enables the car to maintain its balance and with a payload on its tail, this feature is quite vital. Audi Q5’s electronic stability control offers maximum stability, particularly when towing a fully loaded horse trailer.

4- Birds eye view and Rear camera

This feature allows the driver to safely and confidently back up the vehicle while trying to align the car with the trailer. Without a visual aid, it comes down to either guesswork or relying on someone’s word. Audi Q5 solves this issue by offering high-definition cameras and different views to help your tow bar get aligned properly with the trailer’s tow hitch.

5- Brakes

Just like power and stability are important for towing, brakes are equally crucial to keep the vehicle safely on the road and bring the vehicle smoothly to a stop. Audi has dependable brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, which keeps the deceleration and traction in check all the time.

Related: Cheapest Luxury Cars to Maintain

Audi Q5 is equipped with features that make it reliable for towing

How Long do Audi Q5 Brakes Last?

If used conservatively and maintained at regular intervals, some Audi OEM brake pads have been known to last up to 50,000 km, or 30,000 miles. But the manufacturer recommends you change the brake pads every 40,000 km or 25,000 miles.

If you regularly tow a horse trailer with your Audi Q5, the brakes on your car will have to be replaced much sooner as they would wear out more rapidly. As per experts, you should expect to have to replace your brake pads every  20-25,000 km (12-15,000 miles) if you use your Q5 for towing.

When using a vehicle for towing the brakes will require replacement at more regular intervals.

What Brand of Brake Pads Does Audi Use?

The majority of Audi OEM parts, including brake pads, are manufactured by third-party manufacturers. These include MAHLE and BOSCH, both German-origin brands.

There are also aftermarket brake pads available but these are not recommended by the manufacturer.

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Is the Audi Q5 Good for Off-Roading?

Related: Can the Audi Q5 go Off-Road?

Audi Q5 is a luxury compact crossover that is designed and intended for daily driving. It is comfortable to drive, easy to use and maneuver on a daily basis, fuel-efficient and loaded with the latest technology to keep the driver in control.

Despite most Audi’s being designed as road cars, the SUVs Audi produces – in this case the Audi Q5, can be used for basic/minimal off-roading. Although it comes standard with the Quattro AWD, stability control, Drive Mode Select, and other driver assistance features, it is not a rugged or an all-out off-roader that you would take exploring rough terrain or do river crossings with. Its ride height is similar to that of a Toyota Corolla and it has a limited towing capacity. It doesn’t have those rugged LSDs, anti-sway bars, 4×4 locking gear and other off-road specific technology to take you to those remote places.

Having said that, you could use it to tow some payload on the highways or maybe some unsealed roads. But by its inherent design, the Audi shouldn’t be used as a rugged off-roader.

Audi Q5 – More a luxury crossover than rugged off-roader.

Should You Get an Audi Q5 for Towing a Horse Trailer?

Towing a horse trailer is totally different from regular towing. A horse trailer has its own weight and carries a live animal inside, which apart from having a weight of its own, can behave erratically and create a hazard on the road.

An Audi Q5 has a maximum towing capacity of 4,500 lbs (around 2,000 kg) and a single-horse trailer weighs up to 2000 lbs (around 900kg). With a horse weighing an average 1,200 lbs (544 kg), the total payload would come to 3,200 lbs (1,451 kg) which is close to the maximum this car should tow keeping in mind the physics and road safety. The sportier Audi SQ5’s towing capacity would be limited to the same, although the powerful V6 engine won’t miss a beat towing a trailer at its maximum safe limit.

Hence, if you own only 1 horse with which you’d like to travel places and visit other cities by sealed roads, then an Audi Q5 is ok. But if you own a stable and have to take your 4-legged friends away from the city, you’d need a huge trailer and a vehicle that can tow them safely.

So the ideal vehicle for such a purpose would be a large SUV or a rugged truck, such as a Ford F-150 or a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, certainly not an Audi Q5. Additionally, you could also carry extra gear and emergency tools in the bed of your truck, that you could not possibly fit into an Audi Q5.

The Audi Q5 is suitable to tow a one horse trailer on sealed roads.

Off-roading / towing accessories for your Audi Q5

If you’re planning to tow your single-horse trailer with your Audi Q5, it is ideal that you add some extra gear to your inventory to enhance your experience and guarantee a safe journey. The gear includes;

  1. A tow bar stabiliser – it keeps the trailer stable and prevents it from rocking when passing through an undulating patch of road. This is an important item that you must have with your horse trailer.
  2. A tow chain – It secures the trailer even further and can act as a secondary hook if the tow bar breaks or cracks. Having this piece of contingency gear is always a plus and you must have it in your inventory.
  3. Brake and turn indicators – These are important for road safety and before embarking on the journey, you must ensure that these lights are working properly.
  4. Air compressor – You might not be able to find a tire shop on a long stretch of highway and ideally you’d be carrying a spare for the horse trailer. But in the event of any problems related to tire pressure, an air compressor that plugs into the car’s lighter socket and runs off 12v power is an absolute lifesaver. It might mean the difference between reaching the nearest repair shop and getting patched up before resuming your journey – or being stranded out on the highway for hours with your horse.
  5. Emergency brake and support – To make sure that the trailer doesn’t move away when parked, get an emergency brake installed on the trailer with an extending support to brace it on. This double support keeps the trailer stable and prevents it from slipping.
  6. Fire extinguisher – Needless to say this this must be a part of your car anyway, but carrying an animal in an enclosed space makes it even more important, in case an emergency occurs. The animal would likely panic in an emergency situation and could injure itself or hurt the people around it. In case of fire, ensure you always have an extinguisher in your vehicle.

Another accessory we recommend for Audi Q5 owners is a high quality car cover – you never know what might splash onto your car. A car cover is a wise investment for horse owners or transporters because it helps protect the car from hay, straw and other horse related debris, ensuring a cleaner and more professional appearance. We highly recommend this Supreme Audi Q5 Cover, which comes with lifetime warranty, free shipping and is 100% waterproof.

2021 Audi Q5, SQ5 Sportback

Other Alternatives for Towing a Horse Trailer

We have now established that the Audi Q5 is basically a compact luxury crossover that’s meant to drive you around in comfort, on a daily basis. But if you are planning to tow a horse trailer, bear in mind that the maximum towing capacity of an Audi Q5, and it’s SQ5 cousin only really allows for towing a single-horse trailer. So, it is not a good option for people who frequently need to tow more than 1 horse or for those looking to do more adventurous off-roading.

There are some great alternatives to Audi Q5 – these are vehicles are actually built and designed for towing. For example, a Ford F-150 is a rugged 4×4 off-roader that comes with 5.0L V8 engine, a purpose-built off –road suspension, and other accessories. It has a maximum towing capacity of 12,000 lbs (almost 5.5 tonnes) and can take your ponies anywhere, anytime, without breaking a sweat.

Related: Cheapest Luxury Vehicles to Maintain

Other options include the Jeep Wrangler, Isuzu D-Max, Toyota Tundra or Hilux, RAM 1500, and GMC Denali. All of these are ideal for towing a horse trailer and take your string of horses safely on road trips as well as providing enhanced off roading capabilities. If you really want to stick with Audi, the Audi Q5 Sportsback has a slightly more powerful engine than the standard Q5, and would pull a small horse trailer with a little more ease.

If you’re a horse owner whose heart is set on an Audi Q5, just limit yourself to a moderately small horse trailer, and be prepared to transport only one adult horse at the time.

Any information and advice is general in nature, and any opinions expressed are those of the author. Please note that this page may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services we believe in.

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