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PERFORMANCE | 8 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
The 2010 Audi Q5 performs with a single powertrain and all-wheel drive, but its Driver Select adjustments are a point of contention for car reviewers around the Web, including TheCarConnection.com.
Unlike the Benz GLK or Lexus RX, the Q5 comes with only one drivetrain: a 3.2-liter V-6 mated to an automatic six-speed 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." Motor Trend compliments 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 6.7 seconds by Audi's estimates, and in 6.5 seconds according to Motor Trend. Reviewers also like the six-speed automatic. Edmunds asserts "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 remarks, "with its responsive 6-speed automatic, it delivers ample smooth, linear power on the highway."
The 2010 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, "even in cornering, Q5 is fairly nimble and exhibits only minimal body lean. Steering is firm and direct; braking is strong and linear. A tight turning radius eases closes quarters maneuvering."
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." In TheCarConnection.com's opinion, the differences are immediately noticeable-but everyday drivers may feel that none of the adjustments are ideal, particularly the heavy-feeling steering. Edmunds Inside Line concurs, noting, "The steering is precise, but...the variable-ratio rack feels a little artificial," and "Even when we put the adaptive suspension in Comfort mode using the Audi Drive Select (ADS) interface that's part of the optional Multi Media Interface (MMI), the ride is simply too stiff, especially for those in the backseat."
"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 2010 Audi Q5 quick feet, but its driver-selectable handling is gimmicky.