- Appealing style, inside and out
- Quality feel of cabin and controls
- Ample V-6 power
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Drive Select gimmickry
- Steering too heavy in all modes
- pricey addition to the class
The 2009 Audi Q5 sports the sleek lines of a sweet German sedan, a date-worthy cabin, and good, hefty, but gimmicky handling.
The 2009 Audi Q5 is the German automaker's first compact sport-utility vehicle, and it's a direct competitor to the Benz GLK, BMW X3, and Lexus RX crossovers. It's comes with a V-6 engine, all-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic. The 2009 Audi Q5 provided to TheCarConnection.com for this Bottom Line road test summary carries a base price of $38,025, including destination, and an as-delivered price of $48,275.
Even in its stylish class of luxury utes, the 2009 Audi Q5 is a handsome winner. Like the Volvo XC60, its softly sculptured lines use height and stance to convey all the right SUV messages, the opposite of the angularity that the GLK and LR2 depend on for their more masculine looks. The Q5 is better looking than some sedans, in fact, except for the massive grille up front that's too large, too deep, and too everything. It's the same story inside, where Audi hashes out some sense from a slew of tiny buttons by framing them in wood, leather, and metallic trim, which gives the somewhat cluttered dash a unified, rich look.
The Q5 teams a 3.2-liter V-6 with 270 hp to a 6-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive. The V-6 revs with gusto, even if it's louder and vibrates more than exepcted. Audi says we can expect to see turbodiesel and hybrid models in the near future, as well as a turbo-4 version.
Ride and handling are a mixed bag. The Q5 wants to feel sporty, with its rear power bias (40:60). But like the A4, the Q5 usually has Drive Select, an electronically variable system that allows drivers to choose response levels for steering, braking, transmission shifts, and throttle quickness. We prefer a single well-developed suspension setting; with Drive Select the Q5 has heavy steering in all modes, and ride quality isn't supple enough to justify variable controls. The Q5 is good at moderately light off-roading, with its standard all-wheel drive, and 8 inches of ground clearance. Audi clearly meant it for all-weather traction, not seriously involved treks. Gas mileage is 18/23 mpg.
Audi offers a roomy cabin and cargo hold for well-heeled buyers. As long as or longer overall than most of the competition, the Q5 is among the widest vehicles in its class and sports the longest wheelbase. That gives front seat passengers plenty of and shoulder and leg room, while headroom is average (but good enough for six-foot drivers and passengers). The front seats are firm and well-bolstered, while the comfortable second-row seats fold down for expanded cargo space. Audi molds in 1-liter-sized drink holders in door panels, in the console, and in the fold-down armrest in the backseat.
Safety features abound on the Q5; Audi's crossover also earns 5 stars from the NHTSA and top ratings from the IIHS, which calls it a Top Safety Pick. Audi makes parking sensors and a rearview camera options.
For $38,025, the 2009 Audi Q5 hits showrooms with standard power features, automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, satellite radio, wood trim, leather, heated power mirrors, and a tilt/telescope steering wheel. Options include a panoramic sunroof, power heated seats, a power tailgate, Bluetooth, and an iPhone/iPod interface. Top models offer navigation, parking sensors, and a DVD player.