Audi Q5 To Debut With Impressive Towing Capacity, Mediocre MPG

January 28, 2009

All hail...another thirsty German crossover. The new Audi Q5, making its debut at Audi dealers in March, boasts the firm's impressive 270-horse 3.2-liter FSI V-6, expected Audi luxury trappings, and reputedly tenacious handling. But, weighed down with numerous infotainment features, quattro AWD, and a towing-prep package as standard, the best-case mpg scenario will be 23 mpg highway (18 city).

In truth, these mpg ratings are within range for the segment, and rather impressive considering a claimed 6.7-second sprint to 60 mph and a max tow rating of 4,400 lbs. (beating the next-most formidable competitor by 900 lbs). But who actually buys a crossover for heavy towing and stoplight sprints? Aren't they more about style and image? And haven't the faltering economy and the hybrid craze made green the new black this season?

2009 Audi Q5

2009 Audi Q5

At least the Q5's mpg is better than the 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK350's abysmal 16/21 rating. But both automakers need to hurry up and offer us their clean diesels, which are torquey, quiet, and have reached as high as 38mpg (Audi Q5 3.0 TDI) on recent mileage marathons.

Audi's amazing interiors, sturdy A4-based chassis architecture (with a lengthened wheelbase and widened track), and a dizzying host of infotainment options (voice-recognizing new-gen MMI, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound system, steering wheel iPod control, integral hard drive, and even digital 3D nav screen display) would be just as fantastic with a diesel or even the firm's 2.0-liter FSI turbocharged four under the hood.

Audi teased us with a Q5 running the 3.0-liter turbodiesel during the aforementioned mileage marathon; compared to the 3.2-liter gasoline FSI, it yields a few less horses, much more torque, and class-decimating mpg. They even give us this engine in the States in the Q7 3.0 TDI - why not in the sporty new Q5 crossover?

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