$9,691 - $10,151

2010 Audi Q5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Audi Q5 was new.


Performance: 9.1

The 2010 Audi Q5 performs very well for an SUV -- in fact, test drivers say its car-like handling and standard all-wheel drive system are 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
  • "Compared to fellow compact luxury crossovers, the Q5's handling is at the top of the heap, yet its ride will never beat you up. Its acceleration is also up there with the class leaders, and its transmission always seems to be in the right gear." -- Edmunds

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 V6 rated at 270 horsepower and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. While reviewers find the V6 powerful enough, practically all of them long for a diesel or hybrid model.

According to the EPA, the 2010 Q5 achieves 18 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. This rating is one of the highest in the class. In fact, the only SUV with a higher rating is the Acura RDX, which is rated at 19/24 city/highway. The RDX also costs almost $5,000 less. However, it doesn’t come with standard all-wheel drive, and opting for the system lowers its fuel economy rating to only 17/22 city/highway.

If you’re looking for more power than the Q5 offers, consider the Infiniti EX. Its 297-horsepower V6 engine is the most powerful in the class, but it takes a toll on fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive model has only a 16/23 rating. On the plus side, the all-wheel-drive EX still costs about $2,000 less than the Q5 (which comes standard with AWD).

  • "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
  • "The Q5's 3.2-liter V6 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the six-speed automatic is also refined and responsive. The Audi matches European rivals like the X3, GLK350 and XC60 in terms of acceleration, though the Japanese EX35 has more punch." -- 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

Handling and Braking

The Q5 handles like a champ thanks to Audi's famous Quattro all-wheel drive system. It also owes its good driving manners to the optional Audi Drive Select, which is available on Prestige models and offers preset suspension and steering modes. It allows drivers to choose a softly-tuned Comfort setting for a calm commute on smooth roads, a Normal setting for daily driving, or a stiff Sport setting for an energetic drive. Still, some say the Q5's steering leaves a little something to be desired.

  • "In terms of handling, the 2010 Audi Q5 is one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. One downside, though, is that the electric power steering rack has both a consistently artificial feel and an odd tendency to weight up suddenly at low speeds." -- 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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