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Audi Q5: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

Illustration for article titled Audi Q5: Jalopniks Buyers Guide

The Audi Q5 is a fine example of what luxury CUVs can be. What do you need to know before you buy an Audi Q5? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.

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Crossovers are not the most exciting cars on this green and blue planet. They’re cars on stilts, basically. CUVs don’t handle as well as cars, they’re not as efficient as cars, and they’re not as capable off-road as a true SUV. They’re rolling compromises.

So that might make you think there’s now way to get such a compromise-mobile “right.” But no, the Audi Q5 has got the CUV thing down pat. It offers good interior volume, solid driving dynamics, a slew of powertrain options and plenty of standard equipment for a reasonable price. On top of all that, it looks good, but in an Audi-ish, under-the-radar sort of way.

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What’s New About The 2016 Audi Q5

Illustration for article titled Audi Q5: Jalopniks Buyers Guide

The Audi Q5 made its North American debut at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. Based on the Audi A4’s MLB platform the new Audi promised sportiness and versatility with its car-based suspension and high interior volume.

Those initial 2009 models were all powered by a 270 horsepower 3.2-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic.

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The second model year, 2010 saw few changes, but for 2011, the big news was the introduction of a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which mated to the fresh new base engine: a 211 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo inline-four.

The following year didn’t bring much change to the Q5, but 2013 brought a refresh, which included revised front and rear fascias and new powertrains. A new hybrid model debuted with a 2.0-liter turbo I4 combined with an electric motor, together making a total of 245 horsepower and a whopping 354 lb-ft of torque.

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The other new powertrain was a new 272 horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine to replace the aging 3.2-liter six. The new engine is mated with an eight-speed auto, making it the only available transmission choice.

In 2014, Audi introduced their new diesel model, which offered a 240 horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel. In addition, 2014 brought nine more horsepower to the 2.0-liter turbo, giving it a total of 220 ponies. Also new for ‘14 was the first S model in Audi’s Q-line of CUVs: the Audi SQ5.

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The following two model years, 2015 and 2016, brought very few changes to the table aside from tweaks to optional equipment packages, but in November 2015, Audi issued a stop-sale on all diesel Q5s.

Which One We’d Buy

The Audi Q5 can be had in three models: Q5, Q5 hybrid and SQ5. The Q5 comes in either Premium, Premium Plus or Prestige trims, the hybrid comes as its own trim level, and the SQ5 gets either Premium Plus or Prestige trims.

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All Q5s come with electric power steering, a five-link front suspension design and a trapezoidal-link setup in the rear. Brakes on the standard 2.0-liter Q5 are 12.6 inch rotors in the front and 11.8-inchers in the back. Opt for the 3.0-liter or the hybrid, and you’ll get 13.6-inch discs in the front and 13-inch pies in the back. The SQ5 has the same 13-inch vented rotors as the 3.0-liter and hybrid model, except it swaps the fronts with huge 15-inch pizzas.

If we had to buy a Q5, we’d look at a lower trim level, as the optioned-out Q5s tend to creep into Porsche Macan territory. The base Q5 Premium offers good value at $40,900. Sure, it gets the smallest engine, but the 2.0-turbo can get the small luxury CUV to 60 in a respectable seven seconds.

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The base 2.0-turbo Q5 comes with leather seats, xenon automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, a panoramic sunroof, power front seats with driver lumbar adjustment, three-zone automatic climate control, 10-speaker audio system, rain sensing wipers, and fog lights. We’d tack on heated seats for $500, bringing us to a total of $42,375 with destination fee. That’s good value.

[Build Your Audi Q5] [Build Your Audi Q5 Hybrid] [Build Your Audi SQ5]

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $40,900-$60,800 Top Speed: 155 MPH (SQ5)

Acceleration: ~5.1s to 60 [SQ5]

MPG: 24 city/ 30 hwy / 26 combined [Hybrid]

Engines: 2.0L turbo I4, 2.0 turbocharged hybrid I4, 3.0L supercharged V6

Max Horsepower/Torque: 354 hp/346 lb-ft

Max Advertised Towing Capacity: 4,400 pounds

Curb Weight: 4,090-4,431 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick +

Transmissions: 8-speed automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, AWD

Photo credit: Audi

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DISCUSSION

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Drakkon- Most Glorious and Upright Person of Genius

Leased one about two months ago. I got the loss-leader basement model which is still a very nice car. I added some miles to the lease, prepaid the maint. and got out the door for just over $525 a month. For that payment, I was looking at a purchase of a $30,000 car + a warranty or a lease of a $40,000 one. Easy choice for me with only a 18-mile two-way daily commute. I went to the dealer to drive the Q3 as a hedge to the Tiguan that I was really seriously ready to buy. Audi throws so much incentive that the Q5 that you can get out the door cheaper in the bigger car.

I got black on the outside and a stylish combo of black with chestnut interior. It has heated leather, dual zone HVAC, rain sensing wipers and monstrous sunroof with an all glass roof and roller shade.

Like I said, this was the basement model, but it’s still a very nice car. My last car was a modded Subaru Forester XT pissed off teenage mobile. I miss that car every day, but the Q is certainly an ‘executive car’ which really fits my lifestyle/job description better.

I did not get the ‘tech package’ and that is about the only thing I miss from the upper models. It can bluetooth with my phone calls, but my car won’t stream music from my phone. I had to buy the stupid Teutonic plug-in thing to connect my phone to the sound system (VAG-Mercedes thing from what I understand). I swear, they do it just to wring the dollars from you and black mail you into the tech package. I also miss the rear view camera since I have a 150 foot driveway (detached garage). I would recommend that upgrade even if you skip the others.

The 4400# towing blew my mind on the 210hp engine. We have a Durango to tow the boat, but I can get a hitch and wire harness online for the Q5 for about $200 so that opens up the options for towing with either vehicle.

Is 210hp enough? With an 8-speed, it’s adequate. It does not attack the off-ramps like the FXT does, that’s for sure. It’s 1000 pounds heavier and missing over 100hp so I don’t expect the two to move the same, but I miss that feel of a manual and the grunt of the EJ.

The transmission, like all 8-speeds is super eager to shift to keep the revs low. Too eager once in a while. In heavy stop and go, I actually bump the shifter over to manual mode and pick a lower gear so I’m not always on the brakes. It coasts like no other car I’ve driven.

Gripes? Would love 250 torquey HP instead. You open the power lift gate from inside, but you cannot close it there, you have to get out and hit the button on the gate. Speaking of the liftgate, it often takes two or three tries to get the gate open with the remote. Our Durango will open the liftgate even if the doors are locked. You just hit the gate button twice. On the Audi, you hit and hold the liftgate button, it flashes the lights at you to say it heard you, but it doesn’t care. The doors are locked. So you unlock the doors, then hit and hold the liftgate button again. It always takes longer than it should. The A-pillar-mirror blindspot is a serious concern. Whole buses of nuns can hide in that blind spot.

Likes: calm, quiet, confident. Good German ‘thunk’ of the doors. Nice surfaces. I looks great. It feels expensive. With an all-glass roof, people are wowed inside when they first sit.

Would I BUY it? A VAG.... likely not. Too many expensive stories out there. Will I lease another when this is ready to turn in? A very good chance of that. What else would I consider? The RR Evoque was on the list for sure. That was the closest thing I drove to compare to my FXT. Even the new Forester XT doesn’t feel like my angry 2005, but the Evoque came close.

If I could negotiate the Evoque (Or the new Disco Sport) to a similar lease, I would jump at that, too.