Positioned below Audi's three-row Q7 crossover, the compact Q5 utility has space for five passengers in a stylish and well-appointed interior. It also offers a quartet of strong engines options that should suite the tastes of nearly all buyers.
The Q5 continues to share a basic platform with the A5 coupe/convertible. Like those models, it features relatively sporty handling along with a comfortable ride, though the platform's driving dynamics are dulled somewhat by the Q5's higher height and larger size. On the other hand, the Q5 does provide an elevated view of the road ahead along with plenty of cargo space: 29.1 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 57.3 with them folded.
Despite being a car-based crossover, Audi says the Q5 still acquits itself well off-road. Its climbing capability of 31 degrees of incline is respectable, while its overhang angle is 25 degrees thanks to a short front overhang. The ramp breakover angle, determined by the wheelbase, is 17.5 degrees. Ground clearance is a healthy 7.87 inches, with a fording depth of up to 19.69 inches when driving through water. Despite all that, the Q5 should not be mistaken as a hard-core off-road vehicle.
The Q5's cabin is tastefully trimmed in high-quality materials and can be outfitted with the most recent version of Audi's MMI infotainment system. Also available is Audi Connect, which brings in-car internet connectivity and industry-first Google Earth integration - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
The Q5 can be had with three different powertrains, each of which shift through an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The entry-level engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque while returning 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Those looking for a bit more power can spec a 3.0-liter supercharged V6, which replaces the old 3.2-liter unit and produces 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 18/26 mpg.
The diesel-burning TDI engine has been dropped from the Q5 lineup in the wake of Audi's emissions cover-up, so efficiency-minded buyers are left with the Q5 hybrid. The drivetrain teams the standard Q5's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce 245 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. Mileage checks in at 24/30 mpg.
Trim Level Breakdown
The standard Q5 is offered in three trim levels called Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige, respectively. The Q5 Hybrid is only offered with the Prestige trim.
Only offered with the 2.0-liter TFSI engine, the Premium trim level brings xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, LED tail lamps, power-adjustable heated door mirrors, fog lights on both ends, aluminum roof rails, a power tailgate, heated windshield washer nozzles, leather upholstery, eight-way adjustable front seats, a ten-speaker sound system, a black and white driver information system integrated into the instrument cluster, Bluetooth connectivity, a HomeLink transceiver, rain-sensing wipers and a SD card slot with a 32GB capacity.
Premium buyers can order a panoramic sunroof, Audi's MMI navigation, heated front seats and rear side airbags at an extra cost.
Premium Plus is available with the 2.0-liter TFSI, and the 3.0-liter TFSI. It builds on Premium with a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a memory function for the driver's seat as well as keyless entry and start. Six-cylinder Premium Plus models up the ante with headlight washers, a S Line appearance package and a three-spoke steering wheel.
Premium Plus buyers can select an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system. Additionally, Premium Plus have access to the Technology package, which brings HD radio, Audi side assist, a color driver information system, MMI navigation plus with voice commands, parking sensors on both ends and a rear-view camera.
Six-cylinder Premium Plus models can be upgraded with the Luxury package, which brings ventilated front seats, perforated Milano leather upholstery, a stitched leather upholstery on the door panel and the dashboard. Another highlight is the Sport Interior Package, which brings sport front seats, Audi drive select, a black cloth headliner and a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles.
Offered exclusively with the six-cylinder engines, the range-topping Prestige trim adds rear sunshades, navigation with voice controls, a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers, a color driver information screen, Bluetooth audio streaming, an extra SD card slot, parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
The list of standalone options includes an adaptive suspension as well as new alloy wheel designs and paint colors.
Only offered with the Prestige trim, the Q5 Hybrid boasts the same level of equipment as its six-cylinder-powered counterpart.
Standard safety features include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Also available as extra-cost items are rear side airbags and side assist, which warns the driver of vehicles in the Q5's blind spots.
Vying to steal the hearts and wallets of premium crossover buyers away from the Q5 are the Cadillac SRX, the Lexus RX, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, the Acura RDX and the BMW X3.
Efficiency-focused car shoppers can consider the gas-electric Lexus RX 450h and Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC as alternatives to the Q5 hybrid models.