Compact Audi Q5 crossover finds right balance
By JOHN STEIN Automotive Editor August 10, 2012 2:29PM
2012 AUDI Q5 2.0T PREMIUM
ENGINE: 211 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: eight-speed automatic
DRIVETRAIN: all-wheel drive
FUEL ECONOMY: 20 city/27 highway
BASE PRICE: $35,600
AS TESTED: $44,800
The compact luxury crossover class continues to see growth as the Audi Q5 and its competitors meld luxurious amenities and interior comfort with sporty performance and handling.
The Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX35, Mercedes-Benz GLK and the BMW X3 are all battling for the same upscale customer who yearns for cargo versatility and sedanlike agility.
The five-seat Audi Q5 blends sophisticated exterior looks featuring a sleek silhouette, bold front grille and headlamp assembly with an athletic stance on gorgeous 18-inch 10-spoke V-Design rims that make the crossover appear more sport sedan than sport utility.
I recently tested the 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium and found it to be a wonderful premium crossover that exhibited a comfortable cabin, on-demand power and firm road manners. What is admirable about the Q5 begins with what it is not — a downsized Q7. I love the exterior styling of the big Q7 and there are some signature Audi styling cues shared between the two vehicles, but this Q5 looks proportionately faster and fleeter afoot than its larger sibling.
Last year Audi introduced the new 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder model paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission; it really seemed to hit its mark by combining viable horsepower output with improved fuel efficiency. At 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, the 2.0T balances good performance with respectable fuel economy.
Sure, many potential Q5 buyers might think they could only yearn for the 270-horsepower V-6 in the Q5 3.2 model. However, my weeklong test made me a believer in the 211-horsepower 2.0T. While the 2.0T output may be lower, it definitely produces more torque (258 pound-feet versus the V-6 at 243 pound-feet), which should equate to more fun driving around town.
While the higher riding position and sightlines are huge pluses most owners site for choosing a crossover, I believe the most endearing quality of the Q5 is that it truly handles like a sedan,
Within the confines of the luxurious cabin, cabin noise not withstanding, refined material quality, fine leather upholstery and spacious accommodations for front and rear passengers makes the Q5 cabin as good as it gets in the class.
Standard features for the Q5 are plentiful. Base equipment includes a 10-speaker sound system, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, power front seats, trizone climate, Sirius satellite radio and an SD card slot that can manage up to 32 gigabytes of music.
Audi touts the Q5 as an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick for 2012. It offers driver- and passenger-seat-mounted side airbags, pretensioning seatbelts, curtain airbags, active and passive rollover protection, and advanced rear child safety locks. Also available as an option are the rear thorax airbags, which are still rare on any vehicle.
The 2.0T premium plus package ($4,300) does deliver a rich list of great options such as xenon-plus front lighting, LED running lights, auto-dimming, folding outside mirrors, interior mirror with compass, heated front seats with memory, a huge sunroof and power tailgate.
My Q5 tester had a base price of $35,600, but with several loaded equipment package add-ons like the premium plus, the price quickly climbed to more than $44,800. Even at that price, you can rest assured knowing you are driving one of the best and safest crossovers.
You Might Like
- Beetle Convertible debuts with sportier style
- Lexus ES350 maintains luxury feel
- Jeep Wrangler Sport a dual-purpose SUV
- Click & Clack: How to replace a car’s interior
- Chrysler Group makes substantial investment in Ohio machining plant
- Chevrolet Equinox a distinctive and comfortable crossover
- New Ford Explorer Sport a high-performance SUV