By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/1/2012
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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.What's New for 2012
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.Notable Standard Equipment
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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.Under the Hood
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.