By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
The 2009 Audi Q5 was the German automaker's first compact SUV. Coming so late to the party, the Q5 hit the ground running, offering state-of-the-art multimedia and upscale amenities one would expect from a premium SUV. The 2012 Audi Q5 is an eye-catching 5-passenger SUV that takes its styling cues from its older sibling, the Q7. While it's not the ideal SUV for large families, the Q5's sophisticated design and nimble driving characteristics ensure its place as a top contender in the highly contested luxury SUV segment.
If you seek a compact luxury SUV and striking exterior styling is your primary demand, look no further than the 2012 Audi Q5. The interior layout is simple, yet elegant. Navigating tight spots is an effortless task thanks to the Q5's compact dimensions and relatively tight turning radius.
While the 2012 Audi Q5 offers the best balance in the segment, you can easily find something sportier (BMW X3), softer (Lexus RX) or more affordable (Acura RDX) in the category.
For 2012, the V6 models add a sleek S line package with titanium-finished 20-inch 5-spoke wheels, matte black roof rails, and window frames. The top-of-the-line Q5 Prestige model offers new rear-window sunshades, perfect for keeping your rear-seat passengers comfortable in the summertime.
Driving Impressions A satisfying balance of ride comfort and dynamic handling has traditionally required compromises on both sides of the equation, but technology continues to rewrite the rules. While the BMW X3...and Lexus RX 350 hold down the segment's extreme positions on the sport-comfort spectrum, respectively, the 2012 Audi Q5 offers a range of proficiency that approaches both ends. And that range is delivered by more than just the powertrain and suspension, but also by the outward visibility and ergonomics, and the "driving sensation" we consistently highlight when talking about European cars. The Q5 also adds a dose of customization to the driving experience when outfitted with its category-exclusive "Audi drive select" feature - highlighted in the Favorite Features section of this review.
Audi Drive Select
At the push of a button, Q5 drivers can adjust the engine, transmission and steering characteristics to satisfy their personal preferences. Modes include Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual, which allows a custom-tailored setting on navigation-equipped models.
Audi Dynamic Steering
In a tight parking lot, you want a lot of steering assist and response. When bombing down the autobahn, you want subtle directional changes and a calm steering response. With Audi dynamic steering, the 2012 Q5 has variable assist and variable ratio, delivering the best of both worlds. The system can even provide minor steering corrections in extreme situations, reducing the need for electronic stability program intervention.
The 2012 Audi Q5's visually striking exterior is nearly eclipsed by its brilliant interior architecture. The layout is polished and classy, with precise construction and excellent fit and finish. The 12-way power front seats offer a host of configurations to accommodate an array of body types. The rear seats feature a versatile 40/20/40 split design and provide ample legroom and headroom. Audi is leading the way when it comes to innovative in-vehicle multimedia. The available feature-packed navigation system is controlled by Audi's intuitive MMI terminal and includes 3D building graphics, DVD player and two SD card slots.Exterior
Although the compact luxury SUV segment offers a variety of stylish choices, the 2012 Audi Q5 is the clear winner when it comes to innovative design. In line with Audi's current design language, the Q5 features the distinctive Singleframe grille design, clean lines and of course, Audi's infamous LED daytime running lights. The Audi Q5's perfect height and large alloy wheels create a muscular stance once reserved for sports cars. We also like the Q5's sedan-like LED taillights and unique "clamshell" power liftgate.
Every 2012 Audi Q5 features plush leather seating, power front seats with 4-way lumbar support for those extended road trips, 3-zone climate control, multi-function steering wheel to help keep your eyes on the road, and a 10-speaker audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags along with electronic stability control that adjusts for a higher center of gravity when it detects the roof-rack crossbars are in place.
From the base price of $36,475, the 2012 Audi Q5 offers around $17,000 worth of upgrades, highlights of which include xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a handy power liftgate with memory, panorama sunroof, Audi's third-generation MMI interface and navigation system, front and rear proximity sensors, backup camera, blind spot warning, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system and a heated and cooled single cup holder. It seems odd to us that despite the Q5's mid-$30K base price, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, heated seats, auto-dimming mirrors and iPod integration are not offered as standard equipment.
The base Q5 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine shared with partner Volkswagen. Paired with a new 8-speed manually selectable Tiptronic automatic transmission, the 2.0T offers 6-cylinder performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy. Thanks to its turbocharged application, the 2.0T pumps out an additional fifteen lb-ft of torque compared to the available V6. The Q5 3.2 features a 3.2-liter V6 engine, all-wheel drive and a manually-selectable Tiptronic 6-speed. Despite the 4-cylinder's superior torque figures, the 3.2-liter V6's additional 59 horsepower helps rocket the Q5 to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds (about a half second faster than the 2.0T) and to an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. Like most of Audi's recent iterations of their quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Q5's features a 40/60 rear-biased torque split, which improves performance driving feel versus a 50/50 distribution. In case your interests are more specialized, the 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 boasts a segment-leading 4,400-pound towing capacity combined with a 440-pound tongue weight rating.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
211 horsepower @ 4,300 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
270 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
243 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg
By Remlerman on Friday, October 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling and screaming fast"
Cons: "Behind the curve in connectivity and electronics"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"This car is beautiful inside and out and handles as well or better than any BMW or Lexus I've owned. It is TERRIFIC at going fast: I have the TDI's Turbo-Diesel and it has an incredible amount of low end torque. The ride is very comfortable, the wheel transmits just the right amount of road feel and the sound system's speakers are great. All that being said, I'd give it back to the dealer tomorrow if I could. The electronics are way behind the curve; you have to take your eyes off the road and one hand off the wheel to do way too many things (change stations on radio, change audio sources, change screens so that some climate or other adjustment can be made). The Navigation system is archaic and clunky to operate and the voice recognition is terrible. The bluetooth system has a hard time distinguishing when multiple phones are in the car and the answer button frequently stops (and starts!) working. We got this car almost about the same time as a new Ford Escape which has electronics that are vastly more modern, useful and safety-conscious (the car literally will park itself) but are in a car that cost half as much as this. Powertrain: this car is really bad at slow speeds: approach an intersection slowly while waiting for pedestrians or cross-traffic and then try to speed up; the car lags like it's been flooded. You're sometimes left in mid intersection waiting for acceleration. Really too bad that this car is such a mixed bag of both excellent and really terrible design choices. 3G connectivity practically useless. Can't disable door auto-locks; can't close rear hatch from inside the car(!!)or with key fob. You have to look down at console to control too many functions."
13 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By TOM on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very utilitarian, great driving , great styling"
Cons: "A few missing features as noted."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This vehicle is now 4 years old and it looks like new, have had any mechanical issues or any other issues. It has been serviced by Audi under the Audi Care Plan 3 times (once per year) with no issues noted. Mileage is a bit less than advertised with High Octane gas. This, I do not think unusual at about 1 MPG less than advertised. The engine uses about 1 Qt. of oil in 10 months with normal driving. The vehicle is a smooth rider on highway driving and quite firm on bumpy roads using the oversize wheels that were purchased originally. At this point I see two improvements that could be made to this vehicle and that is: Find a way to create a well in the trunk/storage area so that items placed there do not move all over while driving. Rear leg room is minimal and a 5th passenger in the rear passenger seat is a bit unrealistic with the AC outlet in the middle over the hump. Also, the top side of the rear bumper is painted leaving it vulnerable to scratching while placing or removing items from the rear storage area. A protective pad should be placed there. Rear seats do not lie flat when released for more storage. Overall, however, this is a great reliable and beautifully styled crossover SUV that we love to drive."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jeff on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, well built"
Cons: "confusing controls, rough ride, road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have put over 50K miles on this car, and have not had a single issue with it. Very high quality built car. Handling is exceptional, and has good power. The radio/navigation controls are a bit confusing at first, but you get used to them. I'm also not sure why Audi does not put USB ports in their cars. Hopefully that will change soon. The ride is also a bit rough and the road noise is noticeable at higher speeds. This car is built for aggressive driving. It is not as comfortable or smooth as some of the other luxury brands, but overall quality is great."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By FiveTwelve on Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, quiet, stable and well balanced"
Cons: "SUV could be higher clearance."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"What a fabulous SUV. I feel safe, sporty, and surrounded by luxury all at the same time. Great job Audi. Love the engineering."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By MikesQ5 on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, Quiet, Sporty, Solid Handling Dynamics,"
Cons: "Still Looking for One"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 72 hours, I am even more impressed by this car than I was after an extended test drive. First off, it is exceptionally well built: everything fits, everything looks right, everything works well, controls are where they should be. Second, the car is exceptionally comfortable. Mine has the Sport Interior Package, which includes sport seats that are more supportive and are wonderful for my injured back; I sit "in" the seat, not "on" the seat, and after about six hours in the car at one time, I was not tired or aching. The ride is exceptional in terms of comfort and noise; this is a German vehicle, so the ride is firm but not punishing, but that puts the driver more "in touch" with the road and provides a better understanding of what is going on. The most noise we noticed at 70 mph was the tire noise from the interaction between the Goodyear Eagle LS2's and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On a bad stretch of another freeway, the Q5 significantly toned down the impact of the disjointed sections of concrete. I had originally considered the 6-cylinder TDI version, but the projected payback period was way too long, the 2.0T provided good mileage while providing more than adequate power, and the 2.0T equipped model felt more "nimble." I noticed 33.5 mpg on the driver information system while cruising at 65 mph on level ground with the cruise control on. I had originally thought to give the Q5 2.0T a "nine" instead of a "ten" in the "Driving Dynamics" category, because in my search I found that the BMW X3 28i model handled a "little bit" better (maybe the BMW X3 should get a 10.5 on handling). However, when you take into consideration that this is not a sports sedan but an SUV, the handling is superb. In my view, the Q5 has about 90% of the handling of the BMW and about 125% of the comfort and style--I know others will disagree with that opinion, but those differences of opinion mean that both companies, as well as others, will have products to offer. Additionally, the styling is sound and the dealer experience was superb. No rating on reliability yet, but will report later. Bottom Line: The Q5 is superbly comfortable, eats up the freeway miles, gobbles up the secondary roads, transports you in real comfort, and has a build quality that sets a world standard. A definite winner."
11 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Freddy H on Saturday, August 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very nice, luxurious and comfortable. Handles really well, nice pick up, power and very smooth handling. All kinds of convenient bells and whistles. My wife and I were looking for a smaller SUV and stumbled upon this machine. We were impressed. It has been a great car for us."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful