The latest entrant in a hot segment, the 2009 Audi Q5 raises the bar for the competition. Its high fashion looks and high-performance specs should shake up the class. There’s a new sport crossover in town looking to make a name for itself.
The 2009 Audi Q5 is closely related to the A4, which tells you something about its performance credibility. It’s so close that they have a common wheelbase, chassis, all-wheel drive system and 265-hp V6 engine. The first reviewers to drive the Q5 say it has the heart of an A4 with higher ground clearance and a raised roof. We expect to see our first Q5 in March.
The newcomer also brings a new “low and long” look to its class with a clean, yet muscular shape and sleek, curvaceous lines. The roofline is low coming only 65.1 inches from the ground while the wheelbase is 110.6 inches long. These figures represent one of the longest and lowest vehicles in the class. Its rear suspension gives plenty of room for cargo – 55 cubic feet. The standard wheels are 18 inches with sizes up to 20 inches optional.
The A4 architecture provides for Audi’s impressive longitudinal engines, as well as the latest quattro AWD system. While the engine bay will accommodate most every mill in the Audi arsenal, the U.S. version will come with Audi’s 3.2-liter direct-injection V6 matched with a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. With 265 hp and 243 lb/ft of torque, the FSI V6 does the zero-to-60 mph run in just 6.8 seconds. The high torque is available at 1,500 rpm and remains constant up to 4,200 rpm.
Reviewers like the handling prowess of the base Q5 and love the dynamics when it’s equipped with Audi Drive Select (ADS), a system of driver-adjustable shocks and transmission settings. The electric steering is quick at low speeds and slower as speed rises. Ride quality even without the adjustable suspension is a superb combination of comfort and body control. Road tests indicate the Q5 is nimble and car-like in its handling and feels much more sedan-like than other compact luxury SUVs.
Inside the Q5, the cabin mimics the look and feel of an Audi A4, a very nice role model indeed! The dash and instrument cluster look the same, but the technology held within has been upgraded. Between the front seats, you’ll find Audi’s third-generation MMI multi-function controller with its more intuitive interface and simplified function. Navigation-equipped models no longer use DVD-based maps and directions. In the place of the DVD-based system is a 40-gigabyte hard drive that has enough space to store navigation information and more than 1,000 MP3 music files.
Passenger space is comparable to that of the A4. The driving position is excellent, and the front seats ultra-comfortable. The two-row layout offers backseaters a split/folding bench that moves forward or backward nearly four inches to increase legroom, and it reclines for comfort.
Audi is an innovator, and you never know where you’ll experience the genius of Audi engineers. Believe it or not, this time it is on the Q5’s roof. There are sensors in the roofrack so the vehicle knows when there’s a load. The sensors alert the stability control system so the system knows to compensate for a higher center of gravity.
Expectations for the 2009 Audi Q5 rose higher with news that the Q5 won Europe's "Golden Steering Wheel" award for the special SUV class. Those who voted gave high marks for the interior, the exterior and ride control.
Now that we’ve whetted your appetite for the 2009 Audi Q5, we promise to keep you posted on its arrival. We’re excited about this new compact luxury SUV and we think you’ll feel it, too. Stay tuned!