Blending comfort, style and performance, the 2014 Audi Q5 SUV expands its already impressive portfolio with a new performance model, the SQ5, and a long awaited diesel model. The Q5 has proven its worth by rising to become the company's 2nd-best selling model, just behind the A4. Ironically, the diesel and the hybrid trims earn about the same fuel economy figures, neither of which punch much past 30 mpg. Then again, the Q5 is more about performance than pinching pennies at the pump. Easily the equal of rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX, the Q5's standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and laudable towing capacity of up to 4,400 pounds make it a favorite among buyers who require many services from a single car.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a 5-passenger luxury SUV that wears many hats, the 2014 Audi Q5's combination of power, performance, luxury and ability will likely strike a positive note. Excellent resale values help offset the high cost of purchase.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Q5's $38,000 starting price doesn't include many desirable options. If you're looking for a comfortable and safe SUV that stays in the low $40K range loaded, you might consider an Acura RDX or even a non-luxury model such as the Ford Edge or Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The long-awaited SQ5 joins the Q5 lineup, motivated by a 354-horsepower supercharged V6. Also new is the introduction of the Q5 TDI clean diesel that delivers up to 31 mpg highway. The base 2.0T sees its horsepower output increase to 220, and Premium Plus models gain more standard features.
Driving the Q5
With the introduction of the new SQ5, we no longer think Audi has to play catch up to the BMW X3. However, the rest of the Q5 lineup still walks...
... a fine line between comfort and performance, softer sprung than the X3, but not as disconnected from the road as the Lexus RX. Audi does allow the driver to fine tune the suspension and engine performance via the available drive-select feature. We still find the Q5's steering feel to be a bit over-weighted at low speeds, but have no complaints once up and running. The Audi Q5 hybrid offers a smooth transition between its electric motor and gasoline engine, but with mileage estimates of 24 mpg city/30 highway, it's not that much more miserly than the torque-happy TDI or the 2.0T, the latter with a starting price about $15,000 less than the admittedly loaded hybrid.
AUDI CONNECT This is the name for Audi's sophisticated in-cabin tech system that seems straight out of the future. Offering everything from Google maps with real-time news and traffic info to a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to eight devices, this system will indeed keep you and your passengers connected.
4 CYLINDERS, 8 SPEEDS Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is a splendid engine thanks to its blend of power and fuel economy. Connected to the buttery-smooth 8-speed automatic transmission found in the Q5, this powerplant shines even more.
2014 Audi Q5 Details
The 2014 Audi Q5's interior is just as elegant as the SUV's outer skin. In fact, one might say the 5-passenger cabin dazzles even more with its emphasis on technology and, by default, bevy of buttons. Unlike some competitors, leather is standard even on base models, and 3-zone climate control will keep occupants front and back at the proper temperature. The shift lever and its surrounding cadre of buttons, knobs and dials would look at home in a private jet, while the optional wood grain lends a more classic feel. The Q5's roomy rear seats fold in a flexible 40/20/40 arrangement.
Even in a sea of luxury SUVs, the 2014 Audi Q5 stands out with its brilliant looks. From its massive, trapezoidal grille to its well-proportioned rear with twin tailpipes, the Audi is a picture of form and function. LED lights abound, from the optional daytime running lights up front to the standard LEDs in the taillights and those in the side-mirror-mounted turn signals. At 7.9 inches, even the Q5's ground clearance is a good balance between road-going sedan and mountain-climbing beast, which allows the Q5 to tackle both twisty pavement and snow- or dirt-covered roads.
In Q5-speak, a base model is designated "Premium." When it comes to features, that moniker mostly fits the bill, as even that version comes with leather seating, 18-inch 5-spoke wheels, 3-zone automatic climate control, AM/FM/CD player with 10 speakers, and hill-descent control. Surprisingly, you'll still have to pay extra for Bluetooth on base models. Stepping up to Premium Plus and Prestige trims brings heated front seats, keyless entry and push-button start, blind-spot assist, iPod integration, auto-dimming rearview mirror, panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, power tailgate, and a memory setting on the driver's seat.
For those willing to spend the money, a Q5 for 2014 can become a seriously high-end vehicle. Among the extras found as options or incorporated within trim levels are a Nappa leather-clad instrument panel, 14-speaker/505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system, rear-seat entertainment package, adaptive cruise control, and high-tech systems with navigation, rearview camera and a 3G network that turns the Q5 into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot. One particularly ingenuous feature is an available thermo cup holder that can warm or cool drinks so your latte stays hot and your soda remains cold.
Under the Hood
Five engine options are available in the 2014 Audi Q5. A 220-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder is standard on lower trims. For those wanting the most power, there are two supercharged V6 engine choices, one offered in the new SQ5 putting out 354 horsepower. The most fuel-efficient Audi Q5s are the hybrid and diesel models. The hybrid, which pairs a turbo 4-cylinder with a battery pack and electric motor to make a total of 245 horsepower and attain up to 30 mpg. All 2014 Q5 models are linked to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode. All Q5 models are all-wheel drive and are rated to tow up to 4,400 pounds. The gasoline-powered models require premium fuel.
The 2014 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $38,500. Prices rise quickly here, beginning with the exterior paint. Opt for any color except black or white, and it's considered a $475 option. Stepping up to a top-line Q5 V6 or SQ5 model brings you closer to $53,000, as does the Q5 hybrid. The TDI starts around $47,500. Optioning up either can move you beyond the $58,000 mark. In terms of competitors, the Audi Q5's base price is in line with the Infiniti QX60. It is more than the base price of an Acura RDX and Volvo XC60, and less than the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and BMW X3. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what buyers in your area are actually paying for the 2014 Audi Q5. Resale value is a strong point for the Q5, with the Audi being among the best in its class.
"This is a great vehicle. I have had no trouble with it, it drives like a sports car, plently of power, glued to the road. The car has great seats, very comfortable on long trips. The gas mileage is much better than advertised, 30mpg on the highway.
I would buy this car again!!"
Pros: "Fun to drive, practical for daily use & adventures"
Cons: "MMI system could be more user friendly"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought a 2015 2.0T Premium Plus Q5 about a month ago. This car is the most fun/practical/luxury crossover you can buy. Even though Audi has not changed the Q5's design a lot over the years, it has a minimalistic elegance about it. It does not say "hey look at me" when you are driving it but at the same time looks beautiful. Interior is amazing and it feels like you are sitting in a cockpit (especially at night with the red backlights). The driving experience is fantastic and I am finding any reason I get to take it out for a spin. Get this car if you like driving but also want a comfort smooth ride. As everyone has mentioned already, MMI takes a while to get used to and could be more user friendly. The car is too new to comment on it's reliability. Basically, if you are in the market for a luxury crossover SUV, give this baby a test drive!"
Pros: "Great power and efficiency. Great handling"
Cons: "MMI is not user friendly or intuitive."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned the vehicle for about 8 mos. and 11K miles. Over that time there have been essentially no problems, and I've averaged nearly 26 mpg in combined city / highway commuting. Great efficiency, given the power.
On the topic of power, we focused on the Audi TDI because my wife is accustomed to the power of her BMW 335 coupe, and wanted a vehicle that could approximate its speed and acceleration, but in a small SUV package. Mission accomplished."