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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
“delivers its power in a cushioned lump of torque”
“you don't have to twist it hard to get peak output”
“even in cornering, Q5 is fairly nimble and exhibits only minimal body lean”
2009 Audi Q5s are available with only one choice of drivetrain: a 3.2-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Edmunds says “though this engine seems to lack any sort of personality, it delivers 270 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 243 pound-feet of torque at 3,000.” According to Car and Driver, “the engine’s fairly sweet-revving, though a little louder and more vibration-prone than you might expect—just like the six-cylinder in the latest Lexus RX.”
Motor Trend is complimentary of the Q5’s engine: “The new V-6 revs freely and delivers its power in a cushioned lump of torque thanks to reduced internal friction and Audi's innovative valve-lift technology, which enhances cylinder filling on the intake side and helps deliver a European-cycle average of 25 mpg and more than sufficient pulling power.” The Q5 gets to 60 mph from a standstill in 6.8 seconds (6.5 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and on to the quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds at 93.1 mph.
Many reviewers, however, lament that optional engines and transmissions will not (immediately) be offered in the United States. Car and Driver is “able to sample a Q5 with the 2.0-liter (that engine is, of course, available in Europe), and subjectively it felt every bit as quick as the V-6— Audi claims 0-to-62-mph times of 6.7 seconds for the V-6 and 7.2 seconds for the four.” Automobile Magazine says of the V-6 engine, “Audi's upcoming S Tronic seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox performed brilliantly, with sharp off-the-line throttle response and crisp, rev-matching upshifts. Unfortunately, the S Tronic will not be offered in the U.S.-market Q5, at least initially, but our past experience with Audi's six-speed Tiptronic automatic, the sole U.S. Q5 transmission, has been largely favorable.”
Other reviewers also give positive reviews of the Audi six-speed transmission. Edmunds says “you don't have to twist it hard to get peak output, as the standard six-speed automatic sweeps you along on the broad crest of the torque curve.” ConsumerGuide asserts that “with its responsive 6-speed automatic, it delivers ample smooth, linear power on the highway.”
The 2009 Audi Q5’s handling also wins mostly praise from reviewers. Motor Trend says, “Audi wanted excellent handling and so took special care to lower the car's stance for a more gravity-friendly experience in the twisties. Even if you're going small, though, size still matters.” And ConsumerGuide remarks that, “even in cornering, Q5 is fairly nimble and exhibits only minimal body lean. Steering is firm and direct; braking is strong and linear.”
Then, of course, there’s the benefit of Audi’s electronics. “The Q5's electronics configure throttle response, transmission shift points, steering effort and suspension setting according to four different parameters: Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual,” says Edmunds. “This system might sound like a gimmick, but the difference in the way the Q5 behaves is immediately noticeable whenever you switch from mode to mode. When it came to acceleration, we discovered a half-second difference in quarter-mile time between Automatic mode with the stability control engaged and Dynamic mode with the stability control switched off.”
“Serious off-roaders,” says Motor Trend, “will want to know the Q5 has a ground clearance of 7.87 in., a fording depth of 19.68 in., approach and departure angles of 25 degrees, an unloaded ramp breakover angle of 18 degrees, and axles that can articulate through a range of 6.3 in. Those with gravel driveways or occasional snow will need to know nothing more than how to turn on the vehicle and choose a gear.”
The combination of six cylinders and quattro gives the 2009 Audi Q5 quick feet, but its driver-selectable handling is gimmicky.