2018 Audi Q5: Video Review and Road Test
The redesigned 2018 Audi Q5 has already distinguished itself by becoming the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy in the Luxury SUV category. With high style, user-friendly tech and impressive performance, the Audi Q5 has what it takes to stand out in a crowded field that includes the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3 and Volvo XC60. Micah Muzio takes a closer look at the all-new 2018 Audi Q5 in this Video Review and Road Test.
2018 Audi Q5 Video Transcript
The Audi Q5 is a compact luxury SUV that does pretty much everything well. We could leave it at that but in honor of Miss Davis, my high school English teacher who used to always say “Mr. Muzio, you're not looking deep enough. Let's dig a little deeper.”
First the fawning praise. The interior merges top-quality materials with a crisp, modern aesthetic. As if the dude who designs Bond villain lairs chose to dabble in the automotive realm. Modernism aside, the cockpit is a usable space with unfussy controls, supportive long-haul worthy standard, powered front seats, and a long list of indulgent features we'll get to shortly.
The back seats are every bit as plush as the front seats. Oh, look at the nice material quality. But I do have some notes. The second-row slides and reclines, but even in the most laid-back position I could use a little more lean. And if you're banished to the middle seat this incredibly high center tunnel means you either adopt this ludicrous position or you put your feet on the floor where they jam up against the front seat rails. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to move back here.
The takeaway, save the middle spot for child duty and the rear quarters work just fine. Add the optional panoramic moonroof and the already delightful cabin feels bright, open and even more delightful. Before leaving the interior, though, some of our editors dislike these small cup holders. If you're a cup holder aficionado, you have been warned.
Outside, despite a Mr. Potato Head application of signature Audi design elements, when splashed across a Q5-sized canvas, the result is a handsome, sculpted, and desirable SUV. Underneath this Q7-like clamshell hatch we find a nicely shaped 26.8 cubic foot cargo hold. Lowering the 40/20/40 split rear seats more-than doubles that figure, though before pulling the conveniently placed releases you might want to remove the headrests.
Powering the Audi Q5 is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder max tow rating of 4,400 pounds and fuel economy that, while not amazing for a compact SUV, is actually quite good for a compact luxury SUV. In action, the turbo-4 delivers refined power delivery and when the situation demands spirited acceleration. Handling gear changes is a operation it delivers the kind of rapid shifts you'd expect from a dual clutch. Very seamless operation, slightly marred by a little bit of a surging tendency from the turbocharged engine.
From the transmission power is channeled to a standard Quattro all-wheel drive system that, for improved efficiency, directs torque to the front wheels during normal driving. However, when needed, an electromechanical multi-plate clutch and rear prop shaft clutch engage to rapidly send up 100-percent of the engine’s output rearward imparting the Q5 with lively handling and all-weather grip. Just so you know, the Q5 has a dedicated off-road mode and 8.2 inches of ground clearance. If you actually use your fancy SUV to go bash through the rugged wilderness, please tweet me a picture.
In an appropriately civilized environment, the Q5 exhibits outstanding driving manners, skillfully negotiating the chasm between comfort and sport. Performance (whispered). Performance. Helping the Q5 navigate that chasm is an incredibly quiet cabin, clear outward visibility for the driver, and strong brakes offering excellent feel. In simplest terms, the Audi Q5 is an absolute pleasure to drive, whether you drive like me or my grandmother. And she's dead, which gives you an idea how slow she drives.
For an even more comfortable ride, the Q5 can be equipped with an optional adaptive damping suspension that alters its reactions in concert with the five drive modes provided by the standard Audi Drive Select's...uh...selector. If you crave an even quicker Q5 your wish is granted by the Audi SQ5. With a turbocharged V6, 8-speed automatic, action-packed styling, and an adaptive air suspension the roughly $55,000 SQ5 is a seriously fun way to SUV. Yes, I made SUV a verb.
As mentioned earlier, the standard $42,500 Audi Q5 comes packed with features like 3-zone climate control, a power tailgate, a 10-speaker audio system, a backup camera, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Audi Pre-Sense, which can pre-tension the seatbelts and apply the brakes to mitigate an impact with a car or pedestrian.
Audi's MMI infotainment system also comes standard and it usually works pretty well. There's a knob here that you use to control it, but I will say I kind of wish this was a touchscreen and it is not. For example, when you go into Apple CarPlay, which is standard and lovely, I can't just hit podcast. I have to rotate and then select. Audi partially addresses the lack of touchscreen functionality with this optional haptic feedback pad. You can do swipe and zoom maneuvers, which is great, but, man, a touchscreen would be nice. Especially for my Apple CarPlay, which I love so much. Oh, Duffer Brothers podcast, how can I select you?
Open your wallet and the Q5 can be further outfitted with neat options including a 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a hands-free tailgate, a brilliant 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, navigation with an 8.3-inch display replacing the standard 7-inch unit, and Audi's Virtual Cockpit, whose vivid reconfigurable 12.3-inch display replaces a traditional gauge cluster. Audi also offers driver aids including blind spot warning and a driver assistance package that bundles automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and full-speed adaptive cruise control with low speed steering guidance so you can invest just a little less brain power into your morning commute.
Maximally loaded, the Audi Q5's MSRP rises to around $57,000. Drop that kind of cash and you'll be thankful Audis traditionally hold their value well. When accounting for the Q5's standard all-wheel drive, its base price lands in the same domain as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60. Broaden your SUV search and the Cadillac XT5, Acura RDX, or Lincoln MKC represent value-priced alternatives.
Unlike some of its sport- or comfort-focused competitors, the Audi Q5 isn't a specialist, unless it's possible to specialize in everything. The Q5 is sporty, comfortable, agreeable, and enticing. And all those charms only intensify the deeper you dig. If you're looking for a truly well-rounded compact luxury SUV, this is it.