Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic

2011 Audi Q5

2011 was a great year, and the Q5 made for an even better year for the Audi brand. In December 2011 the company had sold 24,908 units year-to-date (YTD), compared to 23, 518 units YTD in December 2010, which was a 5.9% increase.

These numbers may impress you, but as for me, I had to experience the Q5 for myself to believe the hype.

When the Q5 arrived for the week visit, I have to admit that I wasn’t expected to be wowed. After all, this is the little brother (or sister) to the illustrious Q7, which blew me away when I first drove it. How much better could a mini SUV be, anyways? I still sometimes succumb to the “Bigger is Better” mentality, so you can understand where my thinking comes from. However, one week with the Q5 was enough to change that mindset.

The Interior

To say that the cabin is "plush" is an understatement.

I’ll offer you fair warning. Once you go with a Prestige and Luxury package in any Audi, you’ll never go back to just a regular interior. The Bang and Olufsen sound system, thermo cupholder, leather instrument panel top and door arm rests, premium Milano ventilated front seats, parking system plus with rearview camera, Audi side assist that lights up when there‘s a car in your blind spot, and Audi adaptive light is enough to convert you into a “car snob”. If you can shell out the extra $9,500 for these upgrades, we'll let you slide a little if you want to be snooty.

If that's not enough, let's add on a little more comfort and convenience, shall we? The heatable, 12-way power front seats allows you to get that seat just right. Add on the memory driver seating so you don't have to manually adjust the seat every time you get in the car. Then when you're ready to start the engine, all you have to do is press a button. The advanced key just has to be anywhere inside the car for it to start.

With all these little luxuries, a 5-hour drive to Vegas is much better than riding first class in any jet plane - even if the trip is much longer. The Q5 is a great little road warrior for the front seat passengers, but doesn’t leave too much leg room for back seat riders unless they’re little kids or if any of the front passengers has long legs (as my fiance does). And if you are riding with children in the back seat on long road trips, you can have them look up in the sky via the panoramic sun roof and play “I Spy”.

2011 Audi Q5 Front Seats

2011 Audi Q5 Panoramic Sunroof

As for the bells and whistles, the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) in the Q5 is a familiar sight for Audi enthusiasts. Navigation, music (including SIRIUS satellite radio with 3 month complimentary subscription), and driver settings can be accessed with a knob right below the gear shift. With bluetooth you do have other options for music, including streaming of Pandora from a smart phone or synching an iPod. Then there’s a CD/DVD player and slots for SD cards.

2011 Audi Q5 Interior

The Exterior

Another wow factor that adds pizazz to the Audi Q5 is the S-line package. Our tester was equipped with 20-inch wheels and 255/45 summer performance tires. You also get the xenon plus headlamps with LED daytime running lights, which isn’t available in the Premium or Premium Plus versions.

As far as outer appearances go, who is going to argue the fact that this car looks good? The distinctive grille; the curvy, sporty stature; and the little details like the honeycomb-designed inlays plus chrome accents all combine together to create one fine-looking vehicle that demands a double take.

I could go on and on about how the car looks good on the outside, but we’ll let these pictures speak for themselves…

2011 Audi Q5 Side View

2011 Audi Q5 Rear View Details

2011 Audi Q5 LED Lights/Grill

The Drive

The Q5 3.2 is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission and the standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The Audi drive select, which is a $2,950 option, puts you in charge of how you want to conquer the road. Drive select gives you the choice of "comfort", "auto", or "dynamic" which configures the engine, transmission, steering, shock absorbers and the sport differential depending on which option you choose. I spent most of the time in "auto", but at times switched to the sporty "dynamic" when navigating through windy roads and hills.

When trying to come up with an adjective to describe how I feel when driving the Q5, the only word that repeats in my mind is "steadfast". The Q5 hugs the road, making it easy to weave through highway traffic. With 270 horsepower, you have enough to give you a little boost when stepping on the gas pedal.

At 18 city MPG and 23 highway MPG, the Q5 gets pretty decent gas mileage. I averaged about 21 mpg in my week with the Q5, which included a combination of city and highway, but mostly highway - and the air conditioning on about half the time.


The base price for the 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 is $42,500. Tag on all the luxuries we mentioned in this review and you're looking at a total price of $59,900.00

Click here for more pictures of the Audi Q5 posted on our Facebook page.

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