By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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
The 2012 Audi Q5 2.0 starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $36,000 and can be optioned up close to $50,000. The V6 powered 3.2 starts just under $44,000 and can exceed the $58,000 mark when fully equipped. Comparing MSRPs strictly from a feature-based value perspective, the 2012 Q5, 2012 BMW X3 and 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 all play in or near the same ballpark, while the 2012 Lexus RX 350, 2012 Acura RDX and 2012 Cadillac SRX offer buyers some additional features for their money. From a resale value perspective, the Q5 promises to be one of the category's strongest entries.
By Delta man (FL) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive. Good gas mileage. Quiet."
Cons: "Dash takes a while to figure out."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I recommend the V6, plenty of power, very smooth driving rivaling my wife's 5 series BMW. Best of my Acura, Mercedes, and Lexus SUV's I've owned in the past. Highly recommend this vehicle; worth a look !"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By arrived (MN) on Friday, March 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Panoramic sunroof!!"
Cons: "The center counsel is a bit on the small side."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have never owned an Audi before and I am a believer. The smoothness of acceleration and the way it corners makes me feel so in control. The panoramic sunroof is a must from now on. I feel like I am outside without all the wind. I love the design of the cruise control. Its a one button push and you can accelerate and decelerate as needed without touching the pedals. I feel very safe, quick, like I can fit into any parking spot, but still have room for packages and 5 passengers. This car is just good looking."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Big D (HI) on Thursday, February 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car just over 2 months now. I purchased a base model, with only the lighting package and convenience package as upgrades. I was able to keep the price under 40K, so that was good since I'm not a big fan for some of the pricey extras. The handling of the vehicle is great, and the ride is very smooth. It's my first Audi, and I am impressed with it. Checked out BMW, Lexus, Infinity, and Acura, and they just couldn't offer the same vehicle for the price. The interior room is very comfortable, and the rear seats have plenty of space as well. If you've got the bucks to go for the gusto, the supercharged V6 is a nice upgrade, along with sportier wheels and suspension, but the 2.0T has plenty of power for me. I'm very happy with the vehicle and would definitely recommend it to others."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By audiq52013 (NY) on Thursday, February 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this new audi q5 2T premium plus 2013 model a few months ago. Drive is pretty harsh, you feel all the small bumps, which I can understand as the suspension is tuned to be sporty. However, with that comes the relentless vibration of the rear seats, once you hear it, it is hard to ignore. It comes on the slightest of bumps even at low speeds, and is just continuous on a bumpy highway. Took it to the dealer, no solution, they drove me around in other cars saying it happens in every Q5. Very disappointed."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By RMC (PA) on Thursday, February 07, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Too expensive for what it was - My approximate mileage is 21,000
Pros: "Drives great and handles well"
Cons: "Loses resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The only downside is the car compares to any VW, Nissan, Infinity...or any other lower class vehicle whee Audi should be up thee with Mercedes and BMW status. Also, buying a 55k+ vehicle and having it worth only 30k trade in with 21k miles and not a scratch on it is pathetic.....kbb has it way wrong. Sell the car on ur own if u can find some own who will spend that much on a used car, but it's hard to resell an SUV type car which is really small, and doesn't hold much in terms of cargo even with the back seats down. It's a compact car and if I had to choose again, I'd go for Range Rover, or BMW over this car any day. Audi's headlights are the best feature of the vehicle and the nice leather interior is comfortable, but it doesn't have enough room in the back seats for a car seat or a grown adult with two people in the front. Panoramic sunroof is awesome, but other than that, it's not worth the price and I'd choose a different car over this any-day. I Traded it in for a Toyota pickup and low the Toyota and the features more than Audi's features...so stay away from Audi and VW....stick with BMW, Mercedes, or Range Rover for high end SUVs...I even rank Toyota fully loaded platinum packages higher than an Audi Premiums Plus or S-Line package."
5 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Debbie (IN) on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Bottom of the seat could be deeper for leg comfort"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I just love this car. It is great to drive around town on short trips or on long trips. I wish the seat was a little deeper for my legs on long trips but it is an awesome vehicle! Very sporty and handles well."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful