In today’s society, there’s a focus on blurring the lines. Barriers are being broken in terms of who we see in leadership roles, metrosexual men are dropping their Carhartts and scheduling manicures, and language once reserved for late-night HBO specials is now at home on daytime talk shows. Automobiles are another prime example, perhaps evidenced most clearly by the proliferation of gas/electric hybrids and, to a lesser degree, the development of midsized crossovers like the 2010 Audi Q5. Built to serve the wants and needs of drivers seeking the dynamics of a traditional car coupled with the attitude and functionality of an SUV, models like the Q5 are quickly finding placement in U.S. homes. Indeed, the Q7’s little bro’ obscures the line between sport sedan and utility vehicle, but does so with a high fully-equipped price and unnecessarily complicated audio and climate control systems.
Photos courtesy of Audi.
#10. The Audi Q5 arrives with few changes for 2010.
With not even a full calendar year passing since its initial U.S. launch, we’re not terribly surprised by how little has changed with the 2010 version of the Audi Q5. Visually, you might notice new alloy wheels available with the S line Package and a different look to the interior’s wood trim. On the equipment front, the top-of-the-line Prestige variant comes standard with Audi’s side assist blind-spot warning system; an optional Luxury Package adds Milano leather upholstery, more leather interior trim, and cooled front seats.
#9. Power for the Audi Q5 comes from a gas-powered V6…for now.
Fitted under the 2010 Audi Q5’s lightweight aluminum hood is a 3.2-liter V6 boasting direct injection technology, 270 horses, and 243 lb.-ft. of torque. That engine, shared with models such as the Audi A5 and A6, is mated to a six-speed automatic tranny with a sport mode and is currently the Q5’s only available powerplant. However, company executives have confirmed that a hybrid version of this midsize crossover will begin production in late 2010, and will be sold as a 2011 model. There’s no official word on an upcoming diesel offering, but count us among those who have their fingers crossed.
#8. The five-passenger Audi Q5 delivers decent fuel economy.
Until the forthcoming hybrid variant arrives, Audi Q5 buyers can plan on seeing 18 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined while traveling on required premium fuel. Those figures aren’t too shabby for a 270-horsepower crossover and, in fact, they place the Q5 on equal footing with the BMW X3 xDrive30i and the all-wheel-drive Lexus RX 350 (each delivers 20 mpg combined). Alternative models like the redesigned Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX35, and Mercedes-Benz GLK350 trail behind.
#7. Despite weighing more than two tons, the Audi Q5 is remarkably agile.
Color us red and call us surprised. With a curb weight of 4,244 pounds, the Audi Q5 isn’t what one would call slight, and as such, not a shoo-in for any Best-Handling Crossover award. But introduce this German machine, with its rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system and A4-based chassis, to a twisty mountain road, and prepare for a look of shock…or at least one monstrous grin. At slow speeds the steering feels heavy, but that heft gives the Q5 a decidedly sporty feel as you pick up the pace. Body roll, an unfortunate accompaniment to most portly crossovers, is well controlled in the Q5, and any hint of understeer is insignificant.
#6. Behind the Q5’s sophisticated exterior lies a rig that’s ready to get dirty.
Fancy-schmancy German crossovers, those loaded with refinement and enough technology to draw the envy of Steve Jobs, are not what most consumers would consider to be working vehicles. But outward appearances can be deceiving, as the 2010 Audi Q5 proves by towing a class-leading 4,400 pounds, which is enough to tote your boat, haul your small camper, or move your daughter and most of her clothes to college. In addition to its tugging capabilities, the Q5 has been designed to tackle light to moderate off-road trails, thanks to standard quattro all-wheel drive, a stability control system with an integrated hill-descent assist feature, and 25-degree approach and departure angles.
#5. Prices start at $37,350, and rise sharply from there.
With a starting price of $37,350 (up slightly from 2009’s $37,200), the 2010 Audi Q5 falls into the middle of the luxury crossover pack, but opt for all of the available goodies and that sub-$40,000 figure disappears quickly. The base Q5 Premium offers items such as leather upholstery and a three-zone climate control system, but you’ll need to pony up for the Premium Plus trim to get heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof. The best Q5 standard features, including a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system and 3D navigation system, are reserved for the top-of-the-line Q5 Prestige. Add an adjustable suspension system, Luxury Package, rear-side airbags, and an S line sport appearance package to that trim, and you’re looking at about $57,000.
#4. Audi’s Q5 is more about carrying speed than groceries.
Part of the midsize crossover’s appeal is how it blends car-like handling with added capacity and capability, something that the Audi Q5 doesn’t do as well as its competitors. Though the Q5 does deliver 57 cu.ft. of maximum cargo space compared to 55 cu.ft. from the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, models such as the BMW X3 (71 cu.ft.) and the 2010 Lexus RX 350 (80 cu.ft.) provide lots of extra room for transporting everything from gear to well-fed retrievers. To its credit, the ’10 Q5 is competitive in terms of its interior passenger dimensions, providing ample amounts of front and rear head and foot room.
#3. Comfort is hit-and-miss inside the Audi Q5.
If you’re given a choice between riding in the Audi Q5’s front or rear passenger seats, make sure to choose the former. That’s where your butt will be introduced to firm and supportive buckets accented by plenty of upper and lower bolstering, ample thigh support, a tilting and sliding center armrest, and a wide range of adjustments. Drivers, in particular, will appreciate the tilting and telescoping steering wheel, though that should be a powered feature in a car with an as-tested price of nearly $53,000. Those relegated to the rear split bench should enjoy the reclining feature and padded armrests, but the unlucky fifth passenger will be left with nary a bit of leg/foot room and a very inhospitable backrest.
#2. Think of the Audi Q5 as the perfect ride for needy people.
When it comes to cars, we’re all needy. We need them to get us to work, to be affordable, to get the ladies’ attention, to be efficient, and more. Now there’s a car that listens – the 2010 Audi Q5. The 3G MMI (third-generation multi-media interface) voice-activated navigation system responds to verbal inputs including “I need coffee” or “I need gas” by directing the user to the nearest coffee shop or gas station.
#1. Adjusting the cabin temperature really doesn’t need to be this complicated.
Remember the days when adjusting the temperature in your car involved the burdensome task of twisting a dial? When cranking up the heat required nothing more than twisting a knob from Lo to Hi? Even the most techno-centric drivers may long for that type of simplicity after tackling the Audi Q5’s over-complicated climate control system, one that demands multiple steps to perform the most menial of operations. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes you simply want to turn on the heated seats or lower the fan speed without fuss. The 3G MMI setup is simple but requires far too much input, too, and had the navigation and Bang & Olufsen audio systems not been integrated, we would’ve avoided MMI altogether.