By on April 20, 2011

The crossover is the new minivan, and in an age of $4-per-gallon gasoline, the fuel-efficient crossover is all the rage. While minivan-mommies may disagree for the sake of image, ask yourself: how is your crossover different than your parent’s minivan? The minivan sprang out of the station wagon revolt and the CUV is the result of minivan denial. As usual, the formula is the same: start with a sedan, add a taller box, toss in some optional AWD to make buyers think they are getting something rugged and you get instant sales success (unless you’re a Chrysler, but that’s a different review). This CUV formula wrought on an A4 creates the Audi Q5, one of Audi’s hottest selling models in the US market. Sales of the cute-ute soared over 70% to just over 23,000 in 2010 and show no signs of cooling with January sales up 50% over 2010. To keep the momentum (and CAFE numbers) going in the right direction, Audi has mated the corporate 2.0T engine to the latest 8-speed auto from ZF creating the 2011 Q5 2.0T Quattro.

Editor’s note: apologies for the press shots, which were made necessary by a technical problem.

Outside, the Q5 plays the same farm girl card as the majority of the Audi lineup. The wholesome sheet metal is attractive, but completely devoid of the dramatic styling cues that grace the new X3, GLK, SRX and even the XC60. Some might even call the Q5 slightly boring. The sterile exterior was accentuated by the rental-car white paint our tester wore. Sales of the old X3 paled in comparison to the Q5, but by early indications, the X3 has the Q5’s sales crown in its sights this year. Will the wholesome farm girl beat the beauty queen with its newly found frugal practicality? Since it will take a while for the market to let us know, give us your take now in the comment section below.

In order to maintain brisk sales, the base Q5 has received an engine down-size for 2011. With the likes of the Ford Explorer sporting a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine option, it was only a matter of time before one of VW/Audi’s turbo engines was found under the Q5’s hood. Audi followers know that the TT, A3, A4 and A5 are now available exclusively with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot in the USA and if the numbers tell the full story, buyers may not miss the 3.2L V6 when the option is finally removed at some point in the future. Forced induction lovers rejoice! The turbo charged fuel sipper is the base engine, not an expensive option (unlike the new the new Explorer).

While the 211HP Audi 2.0-liter TFSI engine is nothing new, the lighter duty version of the 8-speed ZF cog-swapper found under the hoods of certain Rolls Royce and BMW models is. According to ze Germans, the 2 extra cogs alone are worth an 11% improvement in fuel economy over the previous 6-speed. The result of the displacement right-sizing and extra gears means the Q5 in 2.0T guise delivers 20MPG city, 27 highway and 22 combined. On paper this is only a 15% increase, in practice during our 800-mile week-long test of the A5, we averaged an impressive 26.5MPG in mixed driving; a practical real-world 25% increase in mileage over a Q5 3.2 I drove a year ago. 26.5MPG would be good in a FWD CUV, but even better when you note that all US bound 2.0T models are equipped with Quattro.

By offering AWD standard on all Q5s in the USA, Audi succeeds in distancing themselves from the likes of the two-wheel-drive XC60 or GLK chionophobic base models. For MPG comparison, the new BMW X3 xDrive28i delivers 19/25 MPG, the Volvo XC60 3.2 AWD gives buyers 18/24, the Acura RDX spools up 17/22 and the Mercedes GLK rounds out the bottom gulping a lowly 16/22 MPG. No wonder Audi expects 60% of Q5 buyers to stick with the base four.

At the first stab of the accelerator it seems that there is a replacement for displacement after all: while the 3.2L V6 in the Q5 3.2 may deliver 59 more horsepower, it’s actually 15lb-ft down on its two-liter cousin. Torque comes on early, lag is minimal and the twist doesn’t quit until high in the RPM band. It is therefore no surprise that our tester scooted to 60MPH in 6.8 (Audi claims 7.1 officially), down only .2 seconds to the 3.2 equipped Q5 we have tested in the past. It’s worth pointing out that the 2.0T beats acceleration expectations while the 3.2 merely meets them. The numbers are close enough to make little difference to most shoppers.

The only impediment to sporting progress in the 2.0T seems to be the 8-speed transmission. The sheer number of gears seems to leave the transmission software confused about which gear is right for you. The result: acceleration can be a varied experience depending on your speed. Still, overall performance is quite good having a far more linear feel than the 3.2L I6 in the XC60 or even the 2.3L turbo four in the RDX. Buyers paying extra for the Q5 3.2 may be disappointed to find that the 3.2 is still mated to ye olde ZF 6-speed. Towing capacity is the same between engines at a lofty (for a small CUV) 4,400lbs when properly equipped.

Out on the road, the 2.0T’s suspension tuning is similar to the 3.2: stiff for a CUV. Wide tires, a wide track, beefy brakes, fairly svelte curb weight (the 2.0T is 209lbs lighter than the 3.2) and oddly well balanced weight distribution of 50.5/49.5 (TTAC estimate) and quick steering (3.2 to lock) combine to give the Q5 athletic prowess on the track worthy of a BMW badge. If you are used to your Audi plowing like a nose-heavy freighter, the Q5 will surprise you. A quick-shifting DSG gearbox or at the least some shift paddles (available on the 3.2) might even turn the 2.0T into a pleasing corner carver. Compared to the likes of the XC60, RDX and GLK, the Q5 is certainly the road feel champ but it can’t quite match the new X3 for road manners.

First released as a 2009 model, our 2011 tester brought few changes to its largely monochromatic interior. Audi’s limited and tasteful use of wood trim helped break up the large expanses of black in our tester but let you know the price tag is lower than the wood-laden Q7. Unlike some of the competition (and some Audi models) buyers can opt for lighter leather and dashboard shades resulting in a feel that is far more airy than the black-on-black-on-black theme of our tester.

The latest MMI system is the largest change inside the Q5. Along with a large high-resolution LCD in a dedicated dash binnacle, a revised MMI controller knob that now includes a mini-joystick and revised software. The high-resolution 3-D navigation screens are crisp and comparable to BMW’s latest iDrive. BMW’s wise-aspect ratio screen gets the nod for the wow factor, but Audi delivers a close second in both form and function. Bluetooth and iPod integration are both about average in the class with logical controls and fairly good media device browsing ability on the main screen or the small LCD between the speedo and tach via the steering wheel controls.

My only major gripe with the MMI system continues to be the lack of voice commands for media device voice control ala Ford Sync, in truth this is a complaint against everyone but Ford. A less critical niggle is that Audi has done nothing to address the ergonomic flaw in the button and knob layout. While you can change the volume on the steering wheel (and voice command is available for some functions) I found myself spending a great deal of time looking down at the array of buttons surrounding the MMI dial or hunting for the volume knob. In a CUV with a moderately high beltline, this poses a distraction issue. Some upgrades, including steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a backup camera, and intelligent cruise control are available only on the 3.2 Prestige (the most expensive version of the Q5) so they were not available to test on our loaner.

Great, but how much does it cost? Our Q5 came in Premium Plus trim with a base MSRP of $39,400, the $3,000 navigation and parking sensor package and the $850 Bang & Olufson sound system. Only a $350 rear side-airbag option, 19”” wheels and some sparkly paint remained un-selected on our nearly loaded $44,600 tester. While the navigation system wears a big price tag, even for the luxury market, the functionality of the MMI is worth it. To achieve the lower ticket the 2.0T is “de-contented” to 18-inch wheels, a manual lift gate, and washerless headlamps. In our book these features (or lack thereof) are worth the $7,300 discount and greater fuel economy. A quick drive by my local Audi dealers revealed that all but two examples on the floor had had the MMI, so if you want a stripper, be prepared to order.

In comparison, a similarly equipped Volvo XC60 3.2 (albeit larger and more powerful) is the value leader coming in $2000 less with more interior room. A comparably equipped Mercedes GLK? $46,400. If BMW is more your style, an X3 xDrive28i will set you back an eye bulging $47,825 comparably equipped. Admittedly the Q5’s sporty dimensions (read: small) limit cargo room compared to the GLK and XC60, both which can easily swallow a 10-foot PVC pipe or 6-foot ladder from the home improvement shop of your choice. Practicality lovers note that the XC60’s fold-down front seat actually allows the Swede to sword-swallow a 10-foot ladder if you are careful. As pictures can attest, a two-tank water softener will fit in the Q5 no problem. If a sporty ride with cargo hauling capacity is what you seek, look no further than an Audi A4 Avant. If you really must CUV like the Jones’ then the Q5 2.0T is certainly a well-balanced choice.

Audi provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for the review.

Performance statistics as tested:

0-30: 2.5 seconds

0-60: 6.9 seconds


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60 Comments on “Review: 2011 Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI...”


  • avatar

    I recently attended a BMW X3 driving event that included the Q5 3.2., GLK, RX 350, and SRX. Reviews to come.

    The Q5 surprised me in one area: steering feel far better than all the others, including the BMW.

    The Q5’s weak spot? Reliability:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Audi&mc=874

    Results for the 2009 and 2011 aren’t shown unless you log in, because their sample sizes are smaller. But they’re similar to the 2010.

    Many of the repairs to the 2009 and 2010 involve a water pump specific to the V6. But this shouldn’t affect the 2011, so something else is also going on.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Michael,
       
      I agree the steering feel is excellent, and you’re spot on with reliability, this hasn’t been a huge strong suit for Audi lately. Still, if you plan to lease then you might not worry too much about it.

    • 0 avatar

      I should qualify my earlier comment: I just checked the updated results we’ll be releasing next month, and with more data the 2011 is looking about average. With the earlier model years the water pumps were about half of all repairs. Remove these and the Q5 would have been about average for those years as well.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Michael –

        I’m glad you’ve put that qualifier in there about the water pump.  I’ve got five acquaintances with a combo of 3.2 A4s, Q5s and one with a 2010 S4.  On all of them the *only* problem has been the water pump, replaced on all but the one friend with a 2.0T A4.  

        I would actually argue that Audi’s done an excellent job of eliminating a lot of the very annoying problems (read: electrical gremlins). Take the water pump out of the equation and they’re doing pretty darned well.

    • 0 avatar

      Michael,

      Audi really has some sad numbers across the board but the Q5’s are almost Jaguar bad.
      Spent some time on your site early this week and got to look at VW’s numbers and several others. Your site seems to bare out Honda and Toyota’s dominance when it comes to reliability. You grow up hearing stories but your site really seems to legitimize at least some perceptions. I find it a great tool.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    In ALL German road tests Q5 vs new X3 BMW beats Audi in ALL aspects. But most comparisons in Europe are done with 2.0L diesels.

  • avatar
    Wheely

    All it needs is sliding doors.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    In comparison, a similarly equipped Volvo XC60 3.2 (albeit larger and more powerful) is the value leader coming in $2000 less with more interior room. A comparably equipped Mercedes GLK? $46,400. If BMW is more your style, an X3 xDrive28i will set you back an eye bulging $47,825 comparably equipped.

    what do these compare to? the $44,600 tester?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure what methods/sites Alex uses. Vehicles tend to be hard to similarly configure on any of the popular sites, so as many people here are aware I developed my own. To similarly configure these models then see how they compare before and after adjusting for remaining feature differences:

      http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Yes, my numbers are comparisons to the tester. As Michael pointed out, this is handled by writers and publications differently, but my personal method is to take the Q5 as tested and option the competition until parity with major features is achieved. If the competition’s pricing structure depends headily on bundled option packages, then the competition may end up being more feature rich than the model being reviewed, if that is the case I will usually point this out. In this case the competition was roughly matched with the exception of the engine options. Obviously the X3 xDrive28i brings far more engine to the table.

      • 0 avatar

        This is how other suppliers of car price comparisons handle them, but without any notes about differences. This method often gives the focal vehicle an advantage, sometimes a large one.]

        The xdrive28i has more peak power, but less at the low end and midrange. It’s more comparable to the 3.2, but as noted in the review the objective stats aren’t much different.

    • 0 avatar
      PeugeotHound

      When it comes to value in this category, don’t overlook the Acura RDX.  Yeah, the front end looks like one of the Angry Birds, but it too has a zingy turbo 4, and you can get one loaded, including full nav, for around $39K.  I looked at the Q5 to replace my ’01 Audi allroad, but after three Audis in a row with massive repair bills, I defaulted to Honda/Acura reliability.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Nice CUV.
    They’re EVERYwhere around these parts (Chicago), so Audi must have gotten most of it right.
    Regarding the styling, the sheetmetal is devoid of the decoration and forced “style” seen on most of its competitors (I’m looking at YOU, GLK), so it’s likely to age well.  I’ll take Audi’s design theme of classic restraint every time, thank you.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I was planning to complain that this is basically the same vehicle as a loaded VW Tijuan so why pay so much more for it… but then a quick check of the VW web site shows that the price premium really isnt that big of a difference when equipped the same, and the performance on the Audi is better, probably due to the tranny or engine tune.

    But keep in mind if you want a cheaper Tijuan, you can get one… not so much with the Audi.

    • 0 avatar

      The Tiguan is as much like the Q5 as the Golf is like the A4–totally different platforms.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Q5 is built on Audi’s exclusive MLP platform which is shared with the A4, A5, and to a certain extent the new A6, 7 and 8.  MLP is a a modular-component system and has nothing in common with VW’s current platform.

      That all said, the upcoming Audi MQB platform will debut with the new A3 and will be shared with the next generation Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Thanks for clarifying… and that makes sense since apparently its bigger than a Tiguan too.  I think I got it confused with the upcoming Q3.

      But, I do believe the A3 and TT already share platform with the Golf (and the Tiguan and upcoming Q3), among others:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Group_A_platform

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        It’s a bit fuzzier these days: Audi has moved everything, TT included, to a modular component system, not so much of a platform system.  That said, the current, outgoing A3 shares a platform with the Tiguan, Jetta, Passat, Golf, etc.  The TT does too, but to a much lesser extent. The TT is a much more Audi-ized version of that platform because it incorporates significantly more aluminum in to the mix.

        Moving forward, from what I understand the new Q3 is still based on the outgoing platform as well. The new A3 wil be the first of the MQB based platform cars that will allow Audi greater powertrain, alloy and wheelbase flexibility.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Is this the real full-time AWD from the A4 or the part-time AWD from the A3?  I’m guessing the A4’s system, as it seemingly shares the A4/A5 8-speed transmission.

    Do any of the CUVs mentioned have a stick-shift option?

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Why test a petrolcar???
    90% of the Audi Q5 are diesels.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      While it is possible that 90% of Q5s sold in some EU markets might be diesels, 25% of the worldwide production of the Q5 in 2010 landed on US shores in 3.2L trim and the EU as a whole only accounts for somewhere around 1/3 of the Q5s sales volume.

  • avatar
    JMII

    OK so when is someone going to stick this engine / tranny combo into a small pickup? 4,400 lb towing capacity – the weight of CUV – weight of AWD = usable towing in pickup truck form. I realize a truck wouldn’t be a areo smooth as this CUV but tossing the extra weight would gain those MPG back I think (hope?).
     
    Knowing what a simple ECU flash can do to the 2.0T this engine can do more.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The Q5 has defintely become the holy grail for yuppies here in Europe. Maybe a lot of them want to be (with) Demi Moore, I don’t know.  

    I think the new X3 is the better car though and looks better in the flesh. I’m also a little bit annoyed with the badge snob/enthusiast ratio of Audi’s appeal that they seem to be pushing towards badge snob (for example through the Joneses). If they really want to be(at) BMW they should put their money where their mouth is and design some RWD platforms IMO (even the quattros start out as FWD models while BMW X-drive models obviously start from a RWD layout and the respective characteristics still show even with the AWD cars).

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I actually agree that the new X3 is the more aesthetically pleasing car.  The Q5 is by far my least favorite Audi design at the moment.  It’s pretty damn bland, and that’s probably why it sells so darn well.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Why anyone would choose this over an A4?  I still don’t get the CUV thing other than people prentending they are driving something that has off road ability.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I cannot for the life of me fathom why anyone would want one of these over an A4 Avant. Completely baffling. No one in thier right mind is EVER going to take one off-road intentionally, regardless of what its ground clearnance and ramp angle are, so what is the point?

    • 0 avatar
      kurtamaxxguy

      Well, the A4 Avant has low ground clearance, and easily hangs up on curbs when parking.  Who wants to tear off the underside of their expensive vehicle?  It’s also kind of hard to get in and out of the Avant.
      Then again, the Lotus Elise remains wildly popular with enthusiasts, and it’s far worse at the above than the Avant is.

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      I agree with krhodes1
      If a A4 driver has problems with the ground clearance, either he can´t drive or he lives in a thirld world country.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        That’s nonsense.  People in the U.S. clearly prefer (on the average) cars with higher ground clearance, and more importantly, a higher seating position.  I have a 328xi, and while I like the car, it is wholly inferior to an X3 with respect to handling deep snow, deep puddles, potholes, speed bumps, for loading things in the back or trunk and for ease of entry and exit.  It also provides far worse visibility on American roads littered with tall vehicles.  It handles better, is more nimble and provides less weight and wind resistance for mileage, but it is a compromise.
        My wife has an RX350, and while she would like something like an A4 Avant, she thinks it is entirely too low to the ground.  The Outback and Volvo XC70 get the ground clearance and taller driving position just about right.  The old Allroad did as well.
         

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Deep puddles?  Seriously?  Even in an Hummer you won’t be able to see over all of these other tall vehicles.  The visibility argument is a myth as it is only an illusion of better visability.  Also I have found loading items into my last 2 wagons MUCH easier than in my old Ford Explorer as you don’t have to lift items as high.  Like I said, I have driven both SUVs and Wagons in the last 10 years… both wagons are FAR superior to the SUV in almost all practical everyday uses.  Other than the cargo room, I don’t miss ditching the SUV for a minute.

        I understand why people will chose the Q5 over the A4, my argument is that they are making a huge mistake.

      • 0 avatar
        Diesel Fuel Only

        Ubermensch is correct, unless the car truly does have crummy visibility higher ground clearance only gives the illusion of better visibility, and safety.
         
        I don’t remember the source, so I won’t try to cite it, but studies have been done that prove that the less confident the driver, in his/her abilities, the higher the driving position (a la SUV) preferred, and the more confident driver is less likely to prefer stadium seating.
         
        Given the abysmal state of driver ed. in this country (by and large) the preference for compensating for lack of skill with size/height is understandable.
         
        My state has the worst roads in the country and a blue-collar demographic, so the most popular vehicle, even amongst secretaries, are GM pickups and full-sized SUV’s, so I understand the impetus behind the high ground clearance bit.  However, I’ve yet to have any difficulty in my somewhat low 5 1/2 inch ground clearance, though we don’t get much snow either.

    • 0 avatar

      I would normally agree with you, but it is my guess that you do not have young kids.

      Driving an E39 M5, I am no stranger to the CUV vs. Sedan/Station Wagon argument. HOWEVER, with young kids, the elevated seat height is a HUGE plus when loading little ones into their car seats. With a lowered sedan/wagon, it’s tough to bend down for the 60-90s it takes to load up a wriggly toddler. The elevated height of the CUV is a huge plus, as it allows you to stand straight up.

      But yeah, against a Minivan? No reason, except the wagon shape seems to handle better, and you’re not sitting on the engine. Also a smaller shape, so easier to park in the city.

      So then vs. a Mazda 5? Uh, no answer to that one. The Q5 simply looks better inside and out. But if I were more frugal? Mazda 5 does everything a Q5/X3 would.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Audi’s Q3 is essentially a VW Tiguan with Audi trim and embellishments.  It’s unknown whether Audi USA will bring Q3’s to the USA.
    Pity the MMI remains tricky to use.  I tried MMI in several showrooms and frankly found it annoying to wade through menus to turn on seat heaters or other simple functions.  At least critical controls like HVAC and lights do not require MMI.
    Reliability and high maintenance costs are why I’m holding off on Audi, even with a brand new 3-story high Audi dealer 2 miles from my house.

    • 0 avatar
      ZCD2.7T

      Michael Karesh
      April 20th, 2011 at 5:49 pm
      The Tiguan is as much like the Q5 as the Golf is like the A4–totally different platforms.

      Kurt – you really should research the facts before posting. As Michael has already pointed out, the Q5 and Tiguan are not related – they’re built on completely different platforms.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Kurt,
       
      You are incorrect. Although it is often rumoured that the Q5 and Tiguan are relatedl, the Q5 rides on the MLB/MLP platform along with the A4/A5/A6/A7 and A8. The Tiguan is on the VW PQ35 platform along with the mark 6 Golf, EOS, Caddy, and Audi Q3 and TT. Keep in mind with platform sharing that sharing a platform and sharing parts are two totally different things. The Q5 shares virtually no parts with the Tiguan other than an engine block and likely some control systems. The 2.0L TFSI used in the Q5 is shared with the A4, A5, TT, SEAT Exeo, and a slight variation is used in the MK5 Golf, MK4 Jetta, Passat B6, VW CC and Audi A3.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    “-handling deep snow, deep puddles, potholes, speed bumps, for loading things in the back or trunk and for ease of entry and exit.”
    Don´t you have ANY maintenance done on your roads, or are you just being silly?
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      In Massachusetts, the roads are absolutely punishing on my 3-series.  I hit potholes 4 feet by 3 feet and fully 5-6 inches deep, on the highway, at 75.  In heavy rains, on backroads, I also frequently encounter 6 inch deep puddles that span the width of the road.  Snow well above the ground clearance of my car happens many times a year.  Our friend lives on a dirt road in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, and unless it was just graded, it’s unlikely my car could get there without bottoming out.  Similar things happen when we visit Vermont.
      So no, not being silly.  I prefer wagons to CUVs and SUVs.  I just wish that the German variety were not quite so low to the ground.  The GC in my 328 is 4.9 inches. The 2011 A4 Avant is even worse, at 4.2.  The 2011 Q5 is 7.87 inches.  If they bumped the A4 Avant to between 5.5 and 6, it would eat up Q5 sales.  The handling would still be plenty good.
       

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        The Audi All Road was a possible solution to this issue with it’s selectable ride height, but from the reviews I read, this fancy suspension did not give it a very sporty ride.

      • 0 avatar
        Eric

        Ubermensch
        I have an allroad.  It’s pretty sporty for a 4300lb wagon, when set at it’s lowest ride height.  At the max clearance height of 8.5 inches, it’s punishingly stiff on a dirt road.  My old Outback was 10x better on a dirt road.

        What the allroad was/is FANTASTIC at is hammering up I70 in CO at 90mph in slush and snow.  It was made to crush the autobahn and it sure does here on the CO autobahn.

  • avatar

    For every review or discussion of a SUV/CUV/marketing acronym of your choice, there is an invariable discussion of the dismaying number of idiots who purchase these vehicles instead of sedans or wagons.  No one ever seems to bring up the reason I ultimately prefer to purchase vehicles with offroading pretensions, though, which is this:  Even though I live in Texas, where winter barely exists and wreaks no havoc on our pavement, potholes, heaves, gaps, etc. abound.  The northeast and midwest must be worse.  And every time I buy a car that I *like* to drive – small, lightweight, manual-equipped – it gets knocked out of alignment within six months and the bushings are shot within eighteen months.  These little trucklets, though, are designed with the stronger suspension components and steering mechanisms that allow for that never-used offroad capability, which means that the craptacular roads around here don’t wind up ruining the front end.  So there’s my $0.02.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I have never had a car get knocked out of alignment on Iowa roads in 20+ years of driving here and I don’t know anyone else that has.  That includes driving a fair amount on poorly maintained country gravel roads.  In fact the only vehicle I ever owned that needed an alignment was, you guessed it, my SUV.  I also wouldn’t say that all CUVs have more robust suspensions than their car counterparts.  My more nimble cars also have allowed me to dodge some of the worst pot holes even at interstate speeds which I had lots of opportunity to do these past two winters driving through WI.  Some of the canyons that I was dodging would have easily destroyed those 19″ Q5 rims.

  • avatar
    Reisen

    Ha!  So many generalizing comments I had to register if only to throw in a rebuttal.  But first, to the author, great review.  One or two slight errors (IIRC, the backup camera is available on the 3.2 Premium Plus, not only the Prestige), but having test driven this vehicle recently, after driving most of its competition, I generally agree with the author’s viewpoint.  Note, I haven’t driven the new X3 yet, but have driven the old X3 extensively (my father owns one).  Along with that, lots of experience with E34 and E39 5 series, an E53 X5, E36’s, and, of course, my own current manual E46 coupe I’ve driven daily for almost a decade after buying new in 2001.  Obviously, we’re BMW people, but are considering a foray into Audi after recent family success with a 2005 A4.  I should also mention many of those cars were owned and driven in Germany, routinely above 110mph, over an 18 year period of living there.  So I have a lot of experience driving German cars on the autobahn, including an E39 M5, euro spec (no speed or re limiter) at 170mph a few years ago…
    For Ubermensch and KRhodes, it’s obvious your perspective comes from driving in Iowa.  I’m currently in New York City, and after driving an E46 here for a few years, cracking two rims, replacing my own control arms and bushings, etc, I can say it’s not feasible to have a car with so little ground clearance and suspension travel.  Yes, people do it (I see plenty of M3’s and S5’s), but they pay dearly for it.  We routinely get flooding after heavy rains.  Google “Hoboken flooding” for examples.  There are parts of the city where parking spaces are literally half on the street half on the sidewalk.  Speed bumps, potholes, and horrible transitions between road/parking lots are everywhere.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve scraped up the bumper or underside of my E46, and it’s fully stock with the sport package, no coilovers or springs installed!  Truth be told, living in North Carolina or DC before, I really didn’t understand there were parts of the US that had roads like this, so it’s no surprise living in Iowa you don’t either.  But let me say, after a lot of living and traveling internationally, these roads are Nicaragua bad.
    The other thing not mentioned for non North-Easterners, is kids.  We have a 1 year old, and while I would actually prefer the A4 Avant due to handling, my wife likes the idea of not having to bend over as much to get our daughter in and out of her Recaro infant seat.  This is another big factor.  Cargo space, of course, is another.
    Lastly, a huge benefit of these types of vehicles is headroom clearance.  I’m tall, and short of reclining the seat in my E46 so far I can barely reach the wheel (at maximum extension), my head hits the headliner.  The men in my wife and my immediate families are 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, 6-6, 6-6, 6-7, 6-7, and 6-8.  I can drive the Q5 without looking like I’m in a rap video, which for me, is a plus.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I am not talking about the low riding performance versions of these wagons which we can’t even get in the U.S.  I am talking about the standard ride height of US sedans.  I don’t see sedan drivers having problems with pot holes and drive ways here so why would a wagon version of the same car have issues?  The head clearance issue I can understand and part of the fault of that is the manufactures trying their hardest to make these wagons not look like wagons by tapering the rear roof section which comprimises head and cargo room.  They don’t do this on the CUVs so why do they do it on the wagons?  My old B5 Passat was great with this.  The roof was horizontal from the A pillars back and head room was much better than the sedan version of the same car, not to mention more cargo area.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a great summary, and hits it on the head for those living in the “fly-to” states. I would argue that a normally sprung sedan/wagon will do the job just fine, but agreed: unless you’re buying a Toyota, all of them are slung too low these days.

      One other piece to the Q5, which is why I chose the 2.0T — the rear leg room is pretty impressive. It’s way better than the A4 in real life, and I believe that’s because the occupants are more upright, rather than lying back.

      I do wish that the Q5 could be made lower, more light. But any lower, any the height advantage of loading kids/cargo is gone. The 4-cylinder has been a happy medium, and I believe a total STEAL when one considers 8-speed tranny, Audi cachet, AWD, handling, etc.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    You must have have very bad roads ove there, much worse than Europe.
    I´ve never had any problems with ground clearance, rims or bushings

    • 0 avatar
      Reisen

      No doubt, sadly, the roads in the NYC area really are third world.  I’ve driven extensively in the UK, New Zealand, most of continental Europe (Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, and Austria), etc.  The only places I’ve been that I’ve seen like this are parts of central America (Nicaragua, Costa Rica), parts of South Africa (although most of SA is better!), and parts of South-East Asia.  I vaguely remember New Orleans’ roads being as bad.
      Here are some good flooding pictures from a few years ago.
      http://blog.nj.com/jerseyblogs/2007/08/swapping_jersey_flooding_stori.html
      This also happened right down the street last fall:
      http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2010/10/hobokenites_express_shock_and.html

      • 0 avatar
        Diesel Fuel Only

        Yes, they’re not kidding when they say that Louisiana has the worst roads in the country.  I recently wrote our Sec. of Transportation (some nice lady with absolutely no independent political power) and compared US 90 to a former East German autobahn – and that might not be doing justice to Herr Krenz.  You would be wise to drive below the posted limit on certain routes and to avoid driving many routes at night if you can at all help it – and this is from someone who quite enjoys driving at night (less traffic).  New Jersey’s problem is that it has too many jurisdictions (equals too many elected officials and administrators and not enough worker bees).

  • avatar
    Edie_Marlowe

    What’s not to like about this? It’s the new Q5 by AUDI. Anything they make is pure genius (nowadays, anyway). 

    The MI Used Cars at MI Dealers get a few of these occasionally, so I make sure to get a good look at them before they go. Test driving them is always fun. =)

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    After a ton of research, I recently bought a ’12 Q5 2.0T and am most happy with the decision thus far. I had lusted after the new Evoque but after due consideration of Ranger Rover poor quality record (I know Englishmen who hate then!) and the smaller size of the Evoque, I decided on the Q5. The reasons are fairly simple. The 2.0T has more than adequate performance and delivers superior mpg compared to any of the others. Look, I traded in a Porsche Cayman S so I know a little about sports cars. Anyone buying a CUV for sports car performance, e.g., BMW X3, is just an idiot. These vehicles are made to haul a few more than 2 people on occasion, pets, while delivering decent comfort, mpg and have some extra foul weather capability. The idea that any of these vehicles will see substantial off-road duty is ludicrous. The Q5 delivers on all the important counts while having perhaps the best interior of all. OK, so it’s a little pricey. I paid in the mid $40s to get the Premium Plus package. It has all the bells, e.g., huge sunroof, leather, nav, climate control, sat radio, rear-view camera, 19″ wheels, chrome exhaust, etc. So far in mostly urban driving, I’m getting 22 mpg and I haven’t been left at any traffic light. I’ve owned all of the Germans, i.e., several BMWs, Porsche and lots of MBs and this is my first Audi. Thus far, I have not been disappointed nor do I find reason to regret the choice. Oh, I also have owned a Suzuki Samurai, Isuzu Trooper, Jeep Grand Cherokee, a G500 MB and an ML, so I’ve had more experience with SUVs than most.

    • 0 avatar
      AB1

      Does anyone have any input on space. Is the trunk space enough to carry a large stroller +? Looking for luxury mid size car…love the Q5 just concerned of trunk space. Have a one year old now and plan for another one. But I do not want a 7 seater (i.e. MDX or a Pilot), unless I have to.

      • 0 avatar
        TybeeJim

        While I haven’t tried a stroller, I have little doubt that folded stroller(s) will fit. You’ll have to stack them, but I’d think that two turned on edge (side) folded would fit nicely against the seat back and leave a little room to spare. I routinely carry my golf clubs with a folded Clic Gear cart and still have space. One nice thing about the Q5 which I don’t think is common is how the rear seat folds. It’s not just 60/40 but has three elements that make it more like 40/20/40 since the center section will fold independently in addition to the “ski hole”.
        While I’m at it here’s another little noted neat thing about the Q5. The doors open all the way to bottom which means you won’t be dragging your pants leg over a dirty rocker panel as is the case on most cars. You might have to see it the understand, but you’ll notice it immediately if you drive on unimproved roads after a rain or snow. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a damn sight better than most people realize.

    • 0 avatar
      Cgermany

      Hi TybeeJim.

      I noticed that most of the vehicles I’m comparing have been in your garage at some point. My short list for new vehicles is #1-Q5, #2-Merc M, #3….I don’t know.

      I am looking at Trailmanor pop up campers, but haven’t found alot of reviews about towing with the Q5. Do you have any experience with this? I’m trying to see what I can safely pull with the new Q5 Prestige TDI 3.0. The specs for the Trailmanors are at http://trailmanor.com/WebDocs/Showroom/Specs/specs.html

      I’d really appreciate any feedback you can offer, particularly about the transmission. It looks to me like this is the weak link in the Q5 configuration for towing capacity.

      Thanks!

      Chance

      • 0 avatar
        TybeeJim

        CGermany,
        The Q5 is rated to tow 4400 lbs and should have no problem with your trailer. As for the transmission, I don’t know how you understand it may be a weakness. The ZF 8 speed used in the Q5 is used across the Audi line and also by BMW for virtually everything from the 328i though the X6 maybe even the 7 Series. I’ve not heard any complaints about this transmission. My only caution would be what Audi will charge for their towing setup, e.g., rear apron, drawbar, electric hookup. When I had my Gwagen, the towing package from MB was about $1000 as I recall.


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