With car-like underpinnings adapted in part from the Audi A4 sport sedan, the Q5 drives and handles much like that car, despite its relatively tall cabin. The 2.0L model has a higher peak torque rating than the V6, so with the 8-speed transmission it should feel just as quick under many conditions. The Q5 is quite compact on the outside--it's about as easy to park as a compact sedan--yet there's a lot of passenger space within. Nice, supportive front seats afford a great view out, with a center console that has an adjustable armrest up top, while there's a surprising amount of legroom in back. The back seats in the Q5 slide fore and aft to balance the amount of cargo space and legroom, while the seatbacks recline; the seats also fold forward to allow a large cargo space or, when up, there's still a pass-through for long objects. The Q5's long wheelbase, in addition to helping maximize passenger space, also helps improve ride quality.
The Audi Q5 offers a long list of safety features that includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and hill descent control, with a special off-road mode for the electronics that allows a little more slip. The stability control system in the Q5 will recognize when the roof rack is loaded and adjust accordingly. The Q5 also has the best tow rating in its class--4,400 pounds when equipped with the 3.2L engine. Front side thorax bags, along with head-curtain side bags for both rows are all standard. Rear side-thorax bags are available.
Leather upholstery is standard on the Q5, along with power front seats, telescopic steering, keyless entry with an alarm, 3-zone climate control, a trip computer and a hard cargo cover along with cargo nets. The sound system that's standard even on the base model is a 10-speaker, 180-watt system including Sirius Satellite Radio, an auxiliary input and an SD card slot, while Bluetooth and an iPod interface are optional. Premium Plus models add a power tailgate, heated front seats with driver memory, heated folding mirrors, xenon headlamps, LED running lamps and a panorama sunroof. Available only with the Premium Plus, as options, are a hard-drive-based navigation system that accepts voice prompts and includes a rearview camera and HD radio and an amazing 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The top Prestige trim is only offered with the V6. It brings a host of high-end luxury and tech features including heated washer nozzles, Audi side assist and a heated/cooled cup holder. An available Luxury Package brings expanded leather trim, while the S Line Package adds flashy 20-inch wheels, summer performance tires and a special steering wheel and shift paddles. The Audi Drive Select system, which adds three modes--Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual--that control the suspension, steering, engine/transmission response, is only offered on this top-of-the-line model.