Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Audi Q5: A Crossover? Yeah, Right, It's a Sports Car

Come on, Audi, seriously, this is an SUV? 
Or a crossover?
Could have sworn it was a sports car.
Ok, fine, the 2009 Audi Q5 really is a crossover, a very nice one.
But when you focus on the driving, you'll forget that and feel like you're in one of Audi's exhilarating-to-drive sedans.
And that's not because the practical stuff that you need from a small SUV is missing.
It's there.
The roominess for cargo and passengers.
The easy-to-access storage area accessible by the rear lift gate.
Plenty of other nice touches, too.
But what really makes the Q5 a keeper is its street chops.
Sure, there's competition from some other fine models in the luxury segment.
We just finished an enjoyable test drive of the Mercedes-Benz GLK350.
And it wasn't so long ago that we had a nice stint in a BMW X3.
But it seems just a tad bit easier to form an emotional bond with the Q5, possibly thanks to its user friendliness.
Audi rolled out the Q5 a while back to present a smaller offering than its lovely Q7 SUV.
Good move.
With gas prices being so unpredictable, and with a growing number of consumers wanting SUV functionality with mid-size sedan practicality, there's sure to be ample demand for the Q5.
Especially when the economy perks up and when more people learn how good it is.
For instance, the Q5 only trims three cubic feet of passenger space from its Q7 big brother.
Also, the 
Q5 comes standard with Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system. 
It has an efficient 3.2-liter V-6 engine.
It's built on the same chassis as Audi's way cool A4 and A5. 
Audi's typically comfortable and high-quality interior styling is present in the Q5.
The 60/40-split backseat moves fore and aft. 
And one of the most thoughtful features is the plastic tub under the cargo floor, which can be removed and is a nice storage space.
Good thinking, four-ring guys.
But let's get to the real delight of the Q5.
It is tuned to deliver a sporty driving experience, and that it does. 
Audi says the engine's position, which is slightly to the rear of that of a sedan, lets the transmission give more torque to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions. 
In that sense, it performs like a rear-wheel-drive sports car. 
Plus, when driven on twisty roads, an area in which I believe Audi is dominant, the Q5 kicks more butt, providing a solid, but not too weighted-down ride. 

And when it's time to accelerate, no problems to report - just go.
Now get this: with all this sportiness, the Q5 also has a towing capacity of 4,400 pounds, which is far above that of any similar vehicle.
I'm not really sure that most folks who would buy something in this category are big towing types (however, I guess most of them have big toes).
But it's nice to know you can if you need to, I suppose.
If you want to add more cargo and you run out of room inside, use the roof rack, which has sensors that detect when the standard cross-members are installed and tells the electronic stability system that the vehicle is now more top heavy and adjusts accordingly. 
As for gas mileage, it's pretty good: 18 mpg city, 23 highway.
Pricing is also quite competitive, starting at around $37,200. 
Our tester, all optioned-out, carried a sticker price of $48,275.
The Q5, with its many amenities and superb driving characteristics, makes a nice choice for any buyer seeking a practical yet cool vehicle with some luxury.

1 comment:

rob douthit said...

One of the best luxury brands in the world, Audi.