AUDI’S Q5 REMAINS POPULAR, CHANGES LITTLE FOR 2015
By Tom Crosby
Audi’s Q5 compact luxury crossover has been increasing in popularity every year since its introduction in 2009, continually outselling its siblings, the smaller Q3 and the larger Q7.
Changes have been minor since being remodeled for 2013 and this year’s version’s changes in all Q models include at no extra price xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights and a power liftgate with no liftover.
There are several versions of the Q5 and our test drive was the Q5 TDI (turbocharged direct injection) quattro Tiptronic.
Using diesel fuel, the TDI engine is one of the auto industry’s most efficient, decreasing emissions while increasing power. We averaged 26 miles per gallon in normal driving mode and the smooth-shifting 8-speed Tiptronic transmission offered sportier driving in S-mode or by manipulating the manual shifter.
Quick off the starting line with high torque at low rpms, it has a tested top speed of 130 mph, only usable when driving overseas on the Autobahn.
Handling is superb in any drive mode with quattro all- wheel drive providing confidence in tight curves and brakes exhibiting good stopping power, although as the heaviest Q5, it averages a longer stopping distance than other Q5 models.
Crash tests yielded strong safety ratings but not the highest – four stars out of five in the overall government crash rating. The 19-inch all-season tires using Audi’s five-line front suspension and trapezoidal-link independent rear suspension contribute to a smooth highway ride.
A $4,000 technology package option included Audi’s Multi Media Information knob with voice recognition navigation (and Google Earth map displays), colored trip computer, parking sensors, blind spot alert and rear camera. It also included a free six-month subscription to Audi connect with mobile WiFi capability.
The options complimented pleasure already experienced from a lush interior with heated front leather seats, a $850 Bang and Olufsen sound system, sliding seats for easier entry/exit, reclinable rear seats and professional fit and finish with styling panache. Rear seats fold 20/20/40, cargo space is ample above a compact spare tire and extra storage bins are below the cargo floor.
Crossover is the marketing term used by automotive companies, but the government classifies the five-passenger Q5 as a small sport utility vehicle. While pricier than some of its competitors, such as the BMW X3, the Q5 has historically had a high resale value, according to Kelly Blue Book. Some safety features, like adaptive cruise control, are options.
LIKES: Power, mileage, luxury, handling, versatility
BOTTOM LINE: Style, comfort, performance and high resale value
- Base price w/destination fee $47,925 ($52,775 as tested)
- Vehicle weight 4,475 lbs.
- Wheelbase 110.5 inches
- Length 182.6 inches
- Width 74.7 inches
- Engine specs 3.0-liter, V6, turbocharged
- Horsepower 240 hp at 3,750-4,000 rpm
- Torque 428 lbs.-ft. at 1,750-2,250 rpm
- Transmission 8-speed automatic/Tiptonic
- EPA Rating 24 city, 31 highway
- Range 19.8 gallons, diesel fuel
- Performance 0-60 in 6.5 seconds