After exploding onto the scene in 2009, the 2012 Audi Q5 carries on virtually unchanged. Last year's models received a few mid-life upgrades designed to keep it at the top of its class. The stylish crossover is essentially a miniaturized Q7, offering top-shelf luxury with crossover sensibility. During the previous model year, the Q5 added the automaker's new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 211 horsepower on tap, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Both of which are a first for the segment and are aimed at raising the Q5's fuel economy above that of the competition. The Q5's V-6 models carry on with an S-line package offered for 2012.
The 2012 Audi Q5 offers the most rear-seat legroom thanks to its best-in-class wheelbase, which is the distance between the front and rear wheels. Cargo capacity, however, trails the class and overall interior space is only average for the segment. The Q5's ground clearance isn't particularly noteworthy either, but is competitive for its segment. Overall the Q5 does a good job of delivering some of the finer attributes we've come to expect from Audi, in a crossover body style.
Body style: SUV
Engines: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, 3.2-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic, eight-speed automatic
Models: Premium, Premium Plus, Prestige
The turbocharged inline-4 introduced in 2011 continues to serve as the base engine for the 2012 Audi Q5, while the 3.2-liter V-6 has become the range-topper. For 2012, V-6 models offer an S-line Plus package, adding 20-inch wheels and matte black exterior accents. Rear door window shades are now included in the V-6 Prestige package.
The 2012 Audi Q5 is a clean, stylish, luxury crossover modeled closely after the larger Q7. Ground clearance is average for the class though the towing capacity and wheelbase are at the top of the segment. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard, while the 3.2 models get 19-inch wheels as standard. For the new model year, V-6 models offer an S-line package, which adds 20-inch wheels and matte black exterior accents.
The German automaker has earned a reputation for producing top-notch interiors, and the 2012 Q5 is a good example of this. It carries a rich, upscale interior befitting the brand. The cabin is driver-centric, controls are fairly well-placed and logical. It offers rear-seat legroom at the top of the class but doesn't translate to cargo volume, which trails the competition. Interior space is about average against competing vehicles. Rear-door window shades are now included in the V-6 Prestige package.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Audi Q5 offers crossover practicality, but Audi's trademark performance isn't limited to its cars. The Q5 offers sporty handling, excellent traction with its quattro all-wheel-drive system, and superb acceleration. The company's hardest working engine--a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 211horsepower that was added last year--even delivers 27 mpg on the highway. Those seeking a bit more oomph can opt for a 3.2-liter V-6 with 270 horsepower. The new four-cylinder uses an eight-speed automatic transmission while the V-6 sticks with a six-speed automatic. Either way, the Q5 has all of the performance attributes of the German automaker's sportier coupes and sedans, with added practicality.
Driver and passenger front airbags are standard, as are side impact thorax bags for front seat passengers and front and rear head curtain bags. Antilock brakes, electronic safety devices include standard traction control, and stability control.
EPA Fuel Economy
Q5 four-cylinder: 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Q5 V-6: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Great styling
- Sliding rear seat
- Good use of interior space
- Surprisingly good off-road
You Won't Like
- Pricey end of the segment
- MMI and navigation system
Still setting the pace.
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