2012 Audi Q5 Performance

7.0
Performance

Overall, the Q5 performs and handles like a car, with the lean, responsive feel of a lower-riding wagon

Last year, Audi has broadened the Q5's appeal with the introduction of a new 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder model and new eight-speed automatic transmission, and while its 211-horsepower output is quite a bit lower than the 270-hp V-6 in the Q5 3.2 model, we almost unconditionally recommend the 2.0T.

The 2012 Audi Q5 is strong and fuel-efficient in 2.0 TFSI form, with the neat, responsive driving manners of a lower sport wagon.

The turbo four makes more torque than the V-6, and works well with the automatic. It doles out responsive shifts from its closely space gears, and EPA fuel economy climbs to 27 mpg highway. Manual-shift mode is included, and the all-wheel-drive system plus 8 inches of ground clearance make the Q5 a good pick for deep snow and steep driveways. The Q5 can also tow up to 4,400 pounds.

The smaller engine isn't as quick to 60 mph (7.1 seconds, versus 6.7), and the down side is that it's a bit more coarse in sound, but it excels at scooting out of corners, and in passing maneuvers.

There's one disappointment in the Q5; the steering has an overly damped feel that is decently weighted but feels completely disconnected from the road surface; it's the same issue as in the A4 family, but more so.

Audi offers Drive Select in the Q5. It gives electronic, adjustable control over steering feel, throttle uptake, shift patterns and more, between Auto, Sport, Comfort, and Individual modes. We think it's a bundle of imperfectly chosen setups and it doesn't dial in any more road feel.

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