Q5 Q5 clutch failure causing fire


Registered User
Morning all,

I'm looking to see if anyone else has had issues with a clutch failure causing under tray fire on Q5?
My sister has a 2016 Q5 2.0 TDI with manual gearbox and the clutch failed at 37k.

In my experience this is quite early for a clutch failure even for a AWD vehicle.
I was in the car with her and there was not much in the way of warnings for this failure, we were going down the motorway and it started slipping, continued for around 3-4 miles with easy acceleration to reduce slippage and pulled over at a safe location, there were 3 kids in the car at the time. There were no warning on the DIS at any time, it was purely a drop in acceleration and increased revs which indicated the issues.

Upon stopping of the vehicle smoke noticed from the engine bay and when the bonnet was opened a fire in the under tray was noticed.

Thanks to a friendly trucker who had a fire extinguisher to hand the fire was extinguished but not in time to prevent significant damage to the engine, gearbox and wiring loom.

The report from Audi as follows:
"We checked over the car and found fire damage to under trays and engine wiring loom. We have spoken to Audi Technical who asked us to remove the gearbox & inspected the clutch and flywheel kit. We found excessive heat damage to clutch and flywheel, found release bearing stuck onto input shaft of gearbox & also slave cylinder burst leaking brake fluid out into gearbox housing. Found bearings in flywheel to have collapsed with heat".

The vehicle still has warranty but repairs are not covered as the clutch is considered to be a wear item.
In previous correspondence Audi stated there was "some wear to the clutch friction pads". The clutch pedal was flat to the floor when the vehicle was stopped, which is worn out rather than "some wear".

I'm thinking perhaps the release and/or flywheel bearings failed first as opposed to this failure being a result of overheating. Repair bill has been quoted at £12,500 which is the approximate market value of the vehicle.

An official complaint has gone into Audi UK as we feel Audi have not been fully transparent with their investigations and communications I get the feeling they are perhaps covering up a deeper issue with component or design failure.

If anyone has had similar or even slightly related experiences please let me know.