All photos by Audi
Even though Audi wasn't the first to introduce a compact luxury crossover they made sure they got it right the first time with the Audi Q5 . The trick in this segment is to provide the space needed in an SUV/crossover while also providing the handling and ride expected in a sports sedan. Here are our thoughts on whether Audi accomplished those goals.
When you first take a look at the 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 quattro Tiptronic, you realize how far crossovers have come in the last few years. The quartz gray metallic test model we drove included the S Line package that comes with 19-inch wheels standard. That height puts the Q5 into crossover range, which is great for visibility, but it's also low enough that the vehicle looks like a sports sedan on steroids. The single frame grille and sculpted headlights give the Audi Q5 a very distinctive look and the muscular fenders suggest the power that awaits the driver. The exterior is complimented with a small rear spoiler, bold dual-exhaust ports and sleek rear LED tail lamps.
The interior of the 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 quattro Tiptronic is one of the top of its class, serving as a reminder of how well Audi knows her customer. The upscale black leather and sliding rear seats make it obvious that interior quality was a top priority for the Audi design team. Our test model sported three zone climate control, heated 12-way power front seats with driver memory, decorative wood inlays, tilt and telescopic adjusted steering column and privacy glass. Other notable features included the 60/40 split folding rear seats with passthrough adjustment and power tailgate. The dash was smart and efficient with an Audi MMI navigation plus package and included Audi’s parking system plus rearview camera, CD/DVD player, HD radio, color driver information system and HDD navigation with voice control. The stand out for us was the Bang & Olufsen sound system. It was off the charts fantastic and we had to struggle not to crank up every song we liked on the included Sirius radio. The seating was roomy enough for five adults and the ride was quiet and smooth. The panoramic sunroof was enormous and enhanced the lighting in the cabin of the Q5. We also found the cargo space behind the rear seats to be larger than expected with more than enough space for those with an active lifestyle.
Expectations were high going into our review of the 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 quattro Tiptronic – we always expect top-notch performance from a vehicle with the four rings. Our model had the 3.2 FSI direct injection engine, which delivered 270 horsepower, 243 lb-ft torque while the all-aluminum engine delivered uncompromising performance. The 6-speed tiptronic transmission was very smooth and logged 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg highway with quattro full time all wheel drive. The low center of gravity in the Audi Q5 quattro provided excellent handling and reaction to driving conditions. Off road capabilities abound in the Q5 and, according to Audi, "The Audi Q5 quattro has a suspension engineered to set the pace no matter what the terrain. The axles boast a design that allows for more than six inches of travel to overcome obstacles, and a vertical climb limit of 31 degrees delivers proof that this SUV can go beyond casual trips to the grocery store. A stunning 25 degree approach and departure angle means there are few routes the Audi Q5 quattro cannot take head on, while a ground clearance of nearly eight inches protects the underside of the vehicle". That is a strong statement for those who tend to venture off road and enjoy challenges for themselves and their vehicles.
The 2011 Audi Q5 is not a large vehicle but when you drive the Q5 and experience all it has to offer, you see there is much more than meets the eye. Audi utilized every spare inch of the Q5 crossover, which is exactly what you want in this segment. Audi found a way to offer the most important features of an SUV in the package of a sports sedan with a lot of headroom. This is where that fine line we wrote about earlier comes into play. Audi has not only found but created a sweet spot for customers who continue to demand more from their vehicles. The price point of our test model 2011 Audi Q5 3.2 quattro Tiptronic came in at $47,700 which is very competitive to other fine offerings in this segment.
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