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 Inlet rider on Monday, February 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Advertised 20-40 mpg. I get 22-23 mpg with the hybrid engine. Not happy. Had to wait for this model to come out to get good gas mileage and not getting it. Paid over $10,000 for this engine."
By John on Monday, February 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, sound system, quality"
Cons: "Cost to maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Handling and ride is fantastic All wheel drive works perfect Sound system (Bang and Olefsen) Rides great"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Alex on Friday, February 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,232overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great MPG, Great Torque, Quiet clean diesel"
Cons: "mediocre HP but that didn't stop me."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My Q5 TDI is my second Audi I've owned. I previously owned an Audi S4. I love the power and handling of my S4, but didn't like the mpg on it. At first I thought of the SQ5 but the American version is the gas version. I really wished they brought the European diesel SQ5 version instead over here, then I would definitely gotten the SQ5. I settled with the Q5 TDI because of the insanely great MPG and torque I can get from it. I test drove all of the Q5 variants and they were ok on driving characteristics. Until I test drove the TDI version, and I was surprised to how 428 ft pounds of torque felt like. It almost felt like my S4, but no V8 rumble. But that didn't matter, because I was aiming for great MPG and better resale value. I actually had my Q5 customized before it was built. I got everything I wanted in it that made sense for me to get, i.e. S-Line pkg, Sport Interior pkg, Audi Mmi pkg, etc etc. all the way down to the color. When I waited a couple months for it to be delivered, I was so excited to see it in person. The quality both in and out was what to be expected from an Audi. So what if the bumpers have tail lights, I don't parallel park my Q5 nor park it near where there's a lot of cars anyways. I love how quiet this diesel car makes. It sounds as quiet as a regular gas car. As for the gas mileage, i'm getting way over 40 MPG on my new Q5 TDI. And as for combined MPG, I get it around 30-40 MPG. Not bad for an All wheel drive SUV when compared to other AWD SUV. My only wish is that Audi designed a Q5 TDI hybrid with AWD, now that would be something to look forward to. I do miss my V8 rumble sound from my previous S4 but moving to the Q5 TDI was much better for me. And Audi is always coming up with great technology."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Spa on Sunday, December 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance - handling & smooth ride & sporty"
Cons: "None - 3 new Audis & no complaints"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Let me start by saying this is my 3rd new Audi in 4 years. I had had 2010 & 2012 A4's before this & wanted to go back to an SUV but was not too keen on the gas Q5 ride. The 2.0 was a bit stiff & I find the 3.0 gas to be a little heavy in the steering. BUT THE NEW TDI not only performs better than the gas Q5's it also handles & rides GREAT! Steering is spot on & the car rides very smooth & balanced. I had test driven the Mercedes M class Diesel but the Audi has a better suspension & drivers feel. I have owned Lexus (& my wife is on her 2nd RX350 - also new 2014), Mercedes & BMW but I enjoy the new generation Audi's the best. My wife likes the Lexus but it is Audi driving experience for me."
11 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Coaach on Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "solid, fast, comfortable,"
Cons: ""options" is an oxymoron. You get what they have.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned more than 20 cars, and have run most of them close to 200,000 miles, European, Japanese and US. We have a 2002 Audi A4 which is like a new car but has cost a lot to repair -$2,000 a side (dual exhausts) when the cat goes, bad coils, recalled after an expensive replacement at my expense, etc. But worth it. Test drove a Q5 with the 4 cylinder, worked awfully hard on my favorite test hill, 6 just goes up with no effort at all. Very comfortable and electronic console and phone work very well. Came with big wheels and summer only tires, an extra $500, tried to get dealer to switch them for regular wheels and tires, at no money back to me, but dealer would not. So bought aftermarket wheels and winter tires. You can fit an 8' long object in if you pull the passenger seat all the way up. Thule box on the roof is useful for trips."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By GeoregNY on Friday, November 22, 2013
I don't own this caroverall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable company. Good Quality Car"
Cons: "Bad Design - Tail Lights on Real bumper is a NO NO"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I am researching in buying this car as I already own an Audi A3 and I am very happy with it. There are 3 major items that it will make me to switch over to BMW X3. 1. The MMI feature all I hear is bad news. 2. Does not offer me a complete iphone integration 3. You DO NOT put tail lights on both sides of the real bumper. Think about how many times these lights will need to be replaced as you or other people hit you while parking."
4 people out of 15 found this review helpful