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2009 Audi Q5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Audi Q5 was new.


Performance: 9.2

The 2009 Audi Q5 performs very well for an SUV - in fact, test drivers say its car-like handling is a major plus. One complaint, however, is that the Q5 will initially only be available with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine.

  • "The Q5 is based on the same platform as the new Audi A4, so it's perhaps no surprise that this new crossover drives more like a sport sedan than an SUV. In that vein, it's a lot like the new Infiniti FX50 and the BMW X6: SUVs with a whole new level of driving prowess." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It would take some effort to stray from the road in the Q5, as its suspension, steering, and brakes are carlike, and the effort required to keep the un-carlike mass of the vehicle in total control is about the same as tooling around in the family sedan." -- Motor Trend
  • "The dynamic steering system gives the Q5 responses like nothing in the segment. If it weren't for the high seating position, the Q5 might have you convinced you were driving an A4. Pushing the Q5 too hard in corners generates understeer, but we were surprised at the effectiveness of the ESP." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Audi's new 'Drive Select' option ($2,950) adds a toggle on the dash with four settings: Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual, which allows a custom response profile. Drive Select controls suspension, steering, transmission and throttle settings, with nearly-instantaneous changes. So, as road conditions shift, you can shape the Q5's performance to your desires. I like everything about this system except for the placement of the toggle on the dash -- I'd love a redundant control on the steering wheel, so I could access Drive Select without taking my hands off the wheel." -- About.com

Acceleration and Power

While the European model will get several powertrain options (including a diesel), the U.S. version of the Q5 comes with only one -- a 3.2-liter V-6 rated at 270 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. While reviewers find the V6 adequate enough, practically all of them long for a diesel model, which is expected in 2010. The EPA does not yet have fuel economy figures for the Q5.

  • "At first glance, the Q5 looks great, and the V6 will provide plenty of scoot. Audi says it should hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. But, again, we have to ask: Where's the diesel? The Q5 vehicle would be a perfect candidate for a small, fuel-efficient oil burner." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Most people will be content with the 3.2-liter V6's torque, as there's enough here to accommodate most driving situations. Still, this V6 lacks the low- and midrange punch of the Infiniti EX35's 3.5-liter V6, and as a result, the Q5 comes across as a bit less athletic." -- Edmunds
  • "The new V-6 revs freely and delivers its power in a cushioned lump of torque thanks to reduced internal friction and Audi's innovative valve-lift technology, which enhances cylinder filling on the intake side and helps deliver a European-cycle average of 25 mpg and more than sufficient pulling power." -- Motor Trend
  • "The capable V6 is a good match for the impressive handling, but, because most of its punch comes at higher rpm, a couple toggles of the paddle shifter are often necessary for quick passing. At the end of the day it's satisfying, but you can't help but lust after the torquey European diesel offerings." -- MSN

Handling and Braking

The Q5 handles like a champ thanks to Audi's famous Quattro all-wheel drive. It also owes its good driving manners to optional Audi Drive Select, which offers preset steering modes. Still, some say the Q5's steering leaves a little something to be desired.

  • "Around turns, the Q5 feels balanced and secure, even if doesn't quite replicate the sport sedan feel of the EX35 and X3. The steering is precise, but as on the A4, the variable-ratio rack feels a little artificial in its weighting and feedback." -- Edmunds
  • "On smooth pavement, the Q5 rides very well, if firmly, without undue harshness. We were very comfortable riding in both the front passenger's seat and the driver's seat." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Audi wanted excellent handling and so took special care to lower the car's stance for a more gravity-friendly experience in the twisties. Even if you're going small, though, size still matters. The Q5 sits on a best-in-segment 9.22-ft wheelbase, a major contributor to the Q5's luxurious ride." -- Motor Trend

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