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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
Without navigation, the knob and buttons for the MMI system reside on the center stack, and the resulting procedure for using the stereo is not intuitive.
The navigation system now shows details on buildings, and can be viewed in "bird's eye" format—quite chic, indeed. But we'd still like to have touchscreen controls.
You can't fully load the Q5 2.0T with a leather dash and armrests, wood trim, adaptive cruise control, or the S line exterior cosmetic package, but those options certainly don't define the Q5 experience.
The Q5 has a moderately reasonable base price of about $37,000, but it's easy to trip over the options list, and not so easy to keep prices under $50,000.
The $36,795 Audi Q5 2.0T comes with most of the features we'd expect to see in a premium-brand vehicle. And true to form, the base version's dubbed Premium, in Audi's trim designations. It includes power windows, locks, and heated exterior mirrors; an AM/FM/XM/CD player with an SD card slot for additional memory; leather upholstery and walnut trim; power front seats; and 18-inch wheels.
That's plenty, but to get an iPod interface and Bluetooth, you'll need to pay $1,000 to get them, or spend $4,300 to step up to the Premium Plus package, which also adds heated front seats; a panoramic sunroof; a power tailgate; and a xenon headlight package with LED daytime running lights. The turbo-four model's options include a navigation system bundled with a rearview camera, for $3,550; a $500 package with sport seats, a sport steering wheel and shift paddles requires the Premium Plus trim. Rear-seat airbags, an entertainment system, and different wood or aluminum trim are stand-alone options.
The $44,795 Q5 3.0T has standard 19-inch wheels, S line exterior trim, and Premium Plus content. For $7,500 the Prestige trim adds standard adaptive lighting; navigation; blind-spot monitors; a Bang & Olufsen audio system; and a heated/cooled cupholder. Stand-alone options include adaptive cruise and Drive Select; the Sport interior; an S line package with 20-inch wheels, sport interior, adaptive suspension, and aluminum trim; and a Comfort package with a leather instrument panel, ventilated front seats, and premium Milano leather. Our most recent Q5, a Q5 3.0T with Comfort add-ons, bore a sticker price of more than $55,000.
Hybrids come only in the equivalent of Prestige trim, at $50,795. The Comfort and Sport interiors are options, as are different 19-inch wheels and 20-inch wheels, rear side airbags, a DVD entertainment system, and interior trim.
We're still clumsy when it comes to running Audi's MMI and navigation system smoothly. It doesn't have the depth of voice control that other systems do, nor does it allow touchscreen contact. What it does have--aside from four new hard buttons that provide hot-key access to major functions--is lovely Google Earth mapping, integrated with Audi Connect, the brand's data-connectivity package. For a monthly fee of under $40, drivers get beautifully flowing and accurate maps, as well as real-time traffic information and local search. They also get connectivity for up to eight devices inside the car, all provided by Audi's 3G link to T-Mobile. Yes, you already pay for that with your smartphone--but does your navigation system look this good?
Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are options on base versions, but Audi Connect brings Google Earth maps into the Audi Q5's nav system.