Audi first introduced their Q5 in 2009 as a performance SUV that blended the feel of a sports sedan with the versatility and flexibility of an SUV in an appropriately sized package. The Q5 was based on Audi’s A4 platform implementing Audi’s Modular Longitudinal Build – sort of a kit approach. It was sportier in appearance than most of its competitors, boasting all-new proportions, and striking styling dynamics.
Power for the Q5 was initially delivered only by a 3.2-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with FSI Direct Fuel Injection and Audi Valvelift System variable intake valve lift. The engine produced 270 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, along with 243 pound feet of torque at 3,000 rpm. The V6 equipped Q5 was capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, and delivered power to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro AWD system, through a 6-speed Tiptronic® automatic transmission.
The 2011 Audi Q5 still displays a unique and attractive design but now, in addition to the 3.2 liter V6 offering, makes a potent 2.0 TFSI exhaust turbocharged, intercooled, inline four-cylinder with FSI direct injection, that generates 211 horsepower at 4,300 rpm along with 258 pound feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. Motive force is still delivered to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive system as standard fare, but gears that power through an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic with DSP and Sport shift program.
The new Q5 2.0T engine provides excellent fuel economy ratings with 20-mpg city, and 27-mpg highway. The Q5 still features one of the longest wheelbases in its class and delivers a towing capacity of 4,400 pounds (V6 version). Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is standard fare and is rear-biased with a 40/60-torque split.
Visually, the Q5 showcases artistically executed, sculptured forms. Up front, the expressive headlamps flank the traditional, signature, large single-frame grille, curving into the aluminum hood. In profile, the oversized wheels and rising edge character lines are prominently featured. The roof exhibits a graceful slope, topped by rails, sans joint strips for a smoother, more aerodynamic look, underscoring the Q5’s slender, coupe-like persona. In the rear, the aluminum, wrap-around power tailgate borrows styling cues from its larger sibling, the Q7. The Q5’s stance presents a more athletic image with its wider track.
The Q5’s interior reflects the same tasteful elegance and styling as that of the exterior. There is room for five adults to travel in comfort. The rear split seat backs offer angle adjustment for optimum comfort, as well as folding flat to accommodate varying passenger and load requirements. Audi’s MMI (Multi-media Information system) showcases the latest evolution of 3D navigation, joystick control for navigation map destination finding, updated graphical clarity, SIRIUS artist/title preview, SIRIUS traffic-based navigation, voice-based destination input control, and voice inputs such as “I’m hungry,” “I need money,” “I need gas” and “I need coffee” that will point to closest options within current vicinity.
Audi’s optional Drive Select actually provides four vehicles in one in the Q5. The system controls the adaptive suspension, dynamic steering, transmission shift points, as well as engine response. There are four operational modes within the system: Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual, which allows for a customized response profile.
My test Audi Q5 came with an Ibis White exterior and a Black interior. The base price was set at $35,200. My test vehicle was fitted with the following optional features and equipment: the Premium Plus Package for $4,200 which included such niceties as the Panorama Sunroof, Audi xenon plus headlamps with LED running lights, Homelink® garage door opener, power tailgate, heated front seats, mobile phone prep with Bluetooth, driver side memory, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, Audi music interface with iPod cable, auto-dimming interior mirror with compass, stainless steel trunk edge trim and door sill; Audi’s $3,000. MMI navigation Plus Package with Audi Parking system and rear view camera, Audi mini-navigation plus with cd/dvd player HD radio, color driver information system, HDD navigation with Voice Control and Destination charge – $825 for a grand total of $44,125 before tax and license.
SUMMARY: The 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro is outfitted with the latest in top-of-the-line safety equipment as part of its standard inventory. Other technological features and equipment abound in the Q5 as well – things like ABS, ESP, etc.
Acceleration is outstanding and the dynamic steering is genuinely dynamic, with rapid response to driver input. The ride quality is both smooth and comfortable while still being stiff enough to deliver road feedback. The handling is indeed sporty and nimble.
The Q5 strikes the perfect chord in terms of size – it is larger than the A4 Avant, but smaller than the Q7. The Panorama sunroof should satisfy the most avid sun worshiper, with its vast open aperture. The front seats are infinitely adjustable in addition to being heated.
Bottom-line, the Audi Q5 2.0T quattro Tiptronic is really more wagon-like than SUV or Crossover-like, though it is equally suited to on or off-road driving scenarios (we’re not talking Rubicon Trial here, however). The only negative issue that I found with the Q5 was the rear lift-gate opening height and the cargo tray – taller individuals have a tendency to bump their cranium. The Q5 is built in Ingolstadt, Germany, alongside the Audi A4 and A5.