The 2011 Audi Q5 is now offered with two different engines. A 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is new for this year. It joins the existing 270-hp, 3.2-liter V6 in the lineup. With the new 4-cylinder engine comes an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 remains paired with a 6-speed automatic. Both engines have Tiptronic manual control, as well as the quattro all-wheel drive system, which sends about 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels under most driving conditions; on slippery surfaces or for better stability, the system will reapportion torque as needed.
With car-like underpinnings borrowed in part from the Audi A4 sport sedan, the Q5 drives and handles much like a sport sedan, despite its tall cabin. And the new 2.0-liter 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. 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, tri-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 cupholder. 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.
For 2011, the Audi Q5 gets two new models featuring a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; this new engine has a higher peak torque rating than the existing V6, while simultaneously being much more fuel-efficient. This engine comes connected to a new 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.