By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 2017 Audi Q5 offers the kind of luxury, style and performance that we've come to expect from the German luxury manufacturer. With an all-new model coming sometime early in 2017, Audi has pared its lineup this year, dropping the hybrid model altogether. As for the diesel, well, you've probably seen the headlines. Regardless, the remaining 2017 Q5 luxury SUV lineup stays competitive against the likes of the Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lincoln MKC and others. From the base-level and surprisingly affordable Q5 2.0T Premium to the 354-horsepower SQ5 performance model, there are spacious and versatile interiors, a comfortable and sporty ride, and styling that's unmistakably Audi.
The 2017 Audi Q5 and SQ5 offer the high-end features you expect from a luxury-crossover SUV in a package that's still compact and tidy and affordable for a European luxury brand, at least at the low end.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 Audi Q5 sees a simplification of its lineup for its abbreviated model year, as an all-new model is coming in the spring. Still, 3.0T Prestige models get a 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, Audi Drive Select and adaptive cruise control. There's also a new Black Optics package for SQ5 models.
The 2017 Audi Q5 splits the difference between the sporty BMW X3 and softer Lexus RX. Audi's Drive Select mode lets you pick among Comfort, Sport or...
... a customizable in-between setting of your choosing, but none is as sporty as the BMW or as soft as the Lexus. It's a good compromise though, complemented by steering that's a little heavy at low speeds, but with good on-center feel on the highway. The diesel is gone this year (you probably saw the headlines), as is the hybrid, but the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, and two supercharged V6 engines have their unique charms. We're particularly fond of the V6 and its excellent low-end torque delivery. If you are looking for BMW levels of performance, the SQ5 offers a stiffer suspension backed up by impressive performance credentials.
While everyone has a sophisticated infotainment system these days, Audi Connect remains one of the best. Its sophisticated in-cabin tech system includes a Wi-Fi hotspot to service up to eight devices, Google maps with real-time traffic and news, and a simple interface.
4 CYLINDERS, 8 SPEEDS
Base engines are often easy to overlook, but the 220-horsepower 4-cylinder in the 2017 Q5 2.0T comes connected to an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission and standard quattro all-wheel drive. It's a terrific and fuel-efficient combination.
While Audi has a well-deserved reputation for excellent interiors, the 2017 Q5 is an older vehicle, and the interior reflects some last-generation design compared with the new A4, or even the updated A3. Still, it's elegant and comfortable, with an emphasis on technology resulting in a bevy of buttons. Unlike many of its competitors, the Audi Q5 comes standard with leather, even on base models, and the 3-zone climate control will keep everyone comfortable. The knobs and dials surrounding the shift lever would look at home in a private jet, and the Q5's roomy rear seats fold in a flexible 40/20/40 arrangement.
There's no mistaking the 2017 Q5 for anything but an Audi. The massive trapezoidal grille, well-proportioned rear with twin tailpipes, and tidy dimensions all perfectly capture the Audi aesthetic. We particularly like the standard LED accents in the taillights and mirrors, and optional LED running lights in the headlights lend a modern touch. If the Q5 looks like a high-riding luxury-crossover SUV, that's because it is. With 7.9 inches of ground clearance there's enough space to tackle snow and dirt, but it's still low enough that day-to-day driving isn't accompanied by a long climb into the driver's seat.
The 2017 Q5 Premium is the "base" model, and it comes standard with a power tailgate, xenon lighting package, leather seats, 18-inch 5-spoke wheels, 3-zone automatic climate control, 10-speaker audio system, and hill-descent control. Bluetooth is now on the standard-equipment list instead of optional, fixing a curious blind spot in a brand that prides itself on technology. Note that SQ5 models start at the Premium Plus level, which adds amenities like heated front seats, keyless entry and push-button start, iPod integration, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a panoramic sunroof.
Start ticking option boxes and you can push the price of even the Q5 2.0T to nearly $50,000. The Technology package adds blind-spot detection and a navigation system, an interior upgrade includes a Nappa leather-clad instrument panel, plus a 14-speaker/505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system and rear-seat entertainment package. You can also add adaptive cruise control, and high-tech systems with navigation, rearview camera and a 3G network that turns the Q5 into a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot. One cool must-have feature: a cup holder that will keep your drink warm or cold.
There are only three engines available in the 2017 Q5 lineup. Standard is the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, which sends its 220 horsepower to all four wheels. The upgrade for the Q5 is a supercharged V6 that offers 272 horsepower. If that's not enough, the SQ5 offers a more highly tuned version of that V6 that puts out 354 horsepower, certainly more than enough to satisfy your speed lust. All Q5 and SQ5 models come with a sweet-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, and quattro all-wheel drive is standard. Also standard: a requirement for premium fuel. Note that with the absence of the hybrid and diesel models, fuel economy is only so-so, particularly with V6 models.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
220 horsepower @ 4,450-6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6
272 horsepower @ 4,780 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,150 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6 (SQ5)
354 horsepower @ 6,000-6,500 rpm
346 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of a 2017 Audi Q5 2.0T starts at just below $42,000, including the $950 destination charge. Sounds good, and if you want no options and are happy with either black or white paint, you can keep the price there. The Q5 3.0T starts at about $47,300, while the SQ5 with its more powerful engine comes in at a few hundred more than $54,000. Options add up quickly, with even paint costing $575; you can quickly find yourself spending in the $60,000 range. Competitors range from the less expensive Acura RDX, to the similarly priced Infiniti QX60, to the more expensive Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3. The KBB.com Fair Purchase Price will tell you what others in your area paid for their 2017 Audi Q5. Resale value is a strong point for the Q5, with the Audi being among the best in its class.