Audi’s approach to building premium vehicles is familiar by now: Satisfy segment standards, then add healthy doses of style, cabin quality and powertrain excellence. The 2015 Audi Q5 crossover could serve as Exhibit A.
Take a look at one at a dealer and you’ll no doubt find that it looks great and has an interior that oozes luxury. You’ll probably find a Q5 that suits your powertrain desires, too. Audi offers it with everything from a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to a turbocharged diesel V6, throwing in a supercharged V6 and a 4-cylinder hybrid system for good measure. Although the Q5 is one of the older members of its class, with roots stretching back to 2009, consistent updates over the years have maintained its leading status.
Audi’s engineers have also been trying to make their creations more fun to drive, and the Q5 is exemplary here as well. It really does feel at home dashing between corners on a country road. The downside is that on bumpy roads the Q5 will jostle you around more than competing rivals. If you value this crossover’s above-average handling, you probably won’t mind; otherwise, you might.
Compact luxury crossovers like the Q5 are all the rage these days, so the competition is predictably fierce. If you want extra sportiness and don’t mind giving up some interior space (and potentially paying a whole lot more), be sure to test-drive the 2015 Porsche Macan. Another direct Q5 competitor is the 2015 BMW X3, which, like the Audi, offers varied powertrains plus an even more spacious feel inside. Two other more family-friendly choices would be the 2015 Acura RDX and 2015 Volvo XC60. Overall, though, we’re fond of the SUVS.com "B" rated 2015 Audi Q5. In typical Audi fashion, it has the stylish aesthetics and well-rounded nature to win your favor.
Regardless of which powertrain you choose, the 2015 Audi Q5 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the eight-speed automatic is refined and responsive. Both the 2.0T and 3.0T gas engines match their respective competitors in terms of acceleration and fuel economy, while the diesel and hybrid versions of the Q5 offer even higher fuel efficiency, yet still accelerate with verve.
The Q5’s drive quality is firmer than the norm for this class of vehicle, but we’ve never found it to be harsh. Just make sure you find some rough pavement on your test-drive so you’ll know what it feels like. Handling is excellent, and we consider the 2015 Q5 to be one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. The steering is quick and responsive, though it has a rather artificial feel. Firm drive aside, the Q5 is hard to fault from the driver seat.
The 2015 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover offered in seven trim levels that correspond to the four available engines: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige, 3.0 TDI Premium Plus, 3.0 TDI Prestige and 2.0T Hybrid Prestige. A higher-performance version, the SQ5, is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the 2.0T Premium includes the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels (19s are optional), automatic xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, heated exterior mirrors, aluminum roof rails with crossbars, a power liftgate, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar for the driver and optional heating), a tilt-and-telescoping four-spoke steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) with dash-mounted controls and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB input, an auxiliary sound jack and satellite radio.
The 2.0T Premium Plus adds aluminum exterior trim, a panoramic sunroof (optional on 2.0T Premium), auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, driver memory settings and an auto-dimming interior mirror.
The 3.0T Premium Plus adds the supercharged V6 engine, 19-inch wheels, "S line" exterior styling tweaks, headlight washers and a three-spoke steering wheel.
The 3.0T Prestige tacks on adaptive headlights, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a heated and cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Technology package (including blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a color trip computer, a navigation system with voice controls, "Audi connect" online services with mobile WiFi capability and an upgraded MMI system with console-mounted controls).
The 3.0 TDI Premium Plus features the diesel engine but is otherwise equipped like the 3.0T Premium Plus, lacking only the S line exterior trim and the headlight washers (available via the "S line plus" package, described below). Likewise, the 3.0 TDI Prestige is similarly equipped to the 3.0T Prestige.
Finally, the 2.0T Hybrid Prestige includes unique 19-inch wheels, hybrid badging and hybrid-specific instrumentation, but it otherwise mirrors the features of the other Prestige trims.
The Prestige-spec Technology package described above is offered as an option on all other trims except the base 2.0T premium, which offers a Navigation package that lacks Audi connect and the parking/safety features (but includes the MMI upgrade with controls on the center console). Similarly, the Bang & Olufsen stereo is offered on all but the base trim, as is the Sport Interior package (including a three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, front sport seats, a black cloth headliner and Audi Drive Select, which provides four selectable settings for throttle response, transmission shift points and steering assist). The Luxury package (including ventilated front seats with power lumbar, upgraded leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped dashboard) is offered on all 3.0T/3.0 TDI trims and the 2.0T Hybrid Prestige.
The 3.0T can also be equipped with the High Gloss Black package (including the Sport Interior package plus 20-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior trim, matte-black roof rails and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel). The 3.0 TDI’s version is the "S line plus" package (including the Sport Interior and High Gloss Black packages and adding the 3.0T’s standard headlight washers and S line exterior trim).
The Prestige trims alone are eligible for the "Audi exclusive line" package (including the Sport Interior package plus piano black inlays and upgraded leather upholstery with contrast piping and stitching). Offered only on the 3.0T Prestige and 3.0 TDI Prestige are adaptive suspension dampers and the Driver Assist package (including Audi Drive Select, adaptive cruise control and dynamic steering).
Rear-seat side airbags are a stand-alone option for all trim levels.
As we’ve come to expect from all Audi models, the Q5 benefits from classy interior design and top-notch construction. The center stack controls are canted toward the driver, although the layout depends on whether you opt for the navigation system. Without navigation, the knob and controls for the MMI system reside somewhat inconveniently on the center stack. With navigation, the controls are placed on the center console between the armrest and shift lever, where they’re easier to reach. Navigation-equipped models also get the latest MMI system with more intuitive menus, enhanced Google Maps satellite imagery and an additional joystick button.
Despite its compact size, the Q5 manages to feel roomy whether you’re seated in the front or rear. The rear seats both recline and slide fore and aft — a rarity in this class. The Q5 provides a healthy 29.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, but if you fold them down, the resulting 57.3-cubic-foot cargo hold is a little below average for the segment. The Acura RDX has 61.3 cubes with the rear seats folded and the Volvo XC70 has 67.4 cubes.
All 2015 Audi Q5s come with stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are a stand-alone option, while the Technology package includes parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system.
In SUVS brake testing, a Q5 2.0T with 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 114 feet, an average distance for this class and tire. A 3.0T Prestige with 19s and summer tires stopped in a more extraordinary 109 feet. The heavier Q5 TDI with 19s and all-season tires took 120 feet.
In government crash tests, the Q5 received four out of five stars overall, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q5 its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests, while the Q5’s seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
All 2015 Audi Q5s feature all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.0T Premium and Premium Plus come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 miles per gallon combined (20 city/28 highway). In SUVS testing, a Q5 2.0T accelerated to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds, an average time for the segment.
The Q5 3.0T trims get a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, along with an automatic stop-start system that saves fuel by shutting off the engine when you come to a halt. In SUVS testing, the 3.0T engine brought the Q5 from zero to 60 in a fleet 5.8 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon combined (18/26).
The Q5 3.0 TDI features a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 with 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque; it gets the automatic stop-start system as well. During SUVS testing, a Q5 TDI went from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 6.0 seconds. Fuel economy estimates for the TDI are the best of the Q5 bunch, and stand at 27 miles per gallon combined (24/31).
The Q5 Hybrid pairs the 2.0T engine with a 54 hp electric motor and a battery pack for a total output of 245 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates its 0-60 time at 6.8 seconds, while EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 26 miles per gallon combined (24/30).
Top-notch interior craftsmanship; TDI and hybrid’s extraordinary fuel economy; 3.0T’s strong supercharged V6; superb brake performance; sporty handling.
The 2015 Audi Q5 is stylish, luxurious, fun to drive and offered with no fewer than four different powertrains. It’s a star in its class.