Scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2009, the Q5 joins a growing class of compact luxury SUVs that includes the Acura RDX, BMW X3, Infiniti EX35 and now the Mercedes-Benz GLK and Volvo XC60.
A resemblance to the larger Audi Q7 is evident, but the Q5 also looks like a Volkswagen Tiguan dressed up for a night on the town, though the Q5 is larger than the compact VW. The standard wheels are 18-inch alloys. Aluminum trim and LED taillights are standard.
The five-seat Q5 has the interior luxury for which Audi is revered. Heated and ventilated seats and sport seats are both offered. The Q5 debuts the third generation of Audi's Multi Media Interface, a multi-function controller. The hard-disk-drive-based navigation system offers real-time traffic information. Interesting features include heated and cooled cupholders, keyless entry and engine start, adaptive cruise control and a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo with an iPod jack.
A power liftgate is optional. Spring-loaded folding rear seats go flat in one step for a maximum cargo capacity of 55 cubic feet and a load floor that's 67 inches long. Audi says four golf bags fit in the cargo area.
Under the Hood
Audi has multiple engines and transmissions for the Q5, including diesels and both manual and dual-clutch automated manual transmissions, but for now the U.S. will receive only the 3.2-liter direct-injection V-6 with a conventional six-speed Tiptronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. The engine is rated at 270 horsepower and 243 pounds-feet of torque. It's rated to tow 4,400 pounds, which is high for a model in this class. Audi estimates its 0-60 mph time at 6.8 seconds.
The Q5 comes standard with an electronic stability system that offers three modes: on road, offroad and a unique setting optimized for times when the roof rack is carrying a load.
In addition to the usual front, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, the Q5 offers several active safety features, the most notable of which is Braking Guard. It uses the adaptive cruise control's radar to monitor the space in front of the SUV. If it's closing in on another vehicle or object, it alerts the driver first with a sound and warning lights and then by jabbing the brake momentarily.
Better-known safety options include blind-spot detection, a backup camera and a lane-departure-warning feature that vibrates the steering wheel if you stray from your lane. The active xenon headlights can swivel in the direction of a turn and automatically switch between low and high beams, based on traffic.
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|Kelsey Mays||Cars.com National||June 17, 2009|
|Joe Wiesenfelder||Cars.com National||April 29, 2009|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||January 7, 2009|
|Scott Burgess||The Detroit Newspapers||October 24, 2009|
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||July 26, 2009|
|Dan Neil||Los Angeles Times||July 24, 2009|
|Lori Hindman||Mother Proof||June 3, 2009|
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