A CUV sleeper?

2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Review

By Charles Renny
2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Review

Summary Rating: 84%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Audi’s entry into the midsize luxury (or near luxury depending on your point of view) category of CUVs is the Q5. When ordered in the top S line trim, The Audi Q5 keeps life interesting for competitors such as the Infiniti EX, the Mercedes-Benz GLK and the Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Audi Q5

At first glance
When you come up to a new vehicle, there are two sets of first impressions. It goes without saying that the exterior has to be something that pleases your eye or you won’t be interested in going for a drive. Audi is near the top in design for the 2012 Audi Q5 with smooth flowing lines and a roof line that appears to drop away at the tail, giving the impression of cutting through the air smoothly. There is little bling on the outside, and what is there accents the overall design quite nicely.

Interior
The doors of the 2012 Audi Q5 open wide making entry and exit easy. Rear doors are carved around the seat so you can slide in quite easily. The only issue I had with the back of the 2012 Audi Q5 was if I set the seatback for me to be comfortable as a driver, I had to be a bit more careful getting into the back (as an XL, I tend to take up a bit more space than the average person). Once in, everything was fine with plenty of space to settle in.

There may be three seat belts across the back of the 2012 Audi Q5, but it's the two outboard seats are the most comfortable. The middle seat works best as an armrest with cupholders when the back is folded down -- then you have a very civilized way to travel.

Up front in the 2012 Audi Q5, the bucket seats are well shaped and take some getting used to. They provide much more support than the average seat without actually restricting movement. My side-seat-cruise-control declared the passenger seat to be excellent when she found out how comfortable the seat was, as well as the fact that it was fully adjustable like the driver’s seat. Life is much easier when the team is happy!

2012 Audi Q5 interior
The doors of the 2012 Audi Q5 open wide making entry and exit easy. (Photo: Charles Renny)

Control placement
Systems engineering in the Audi follows a Teutonic bent, meaning the control logic is different in comparison to many other companies. Instead of straightforward dials and buttons in set locations, Audi uses a system of dials and buttons that change based on what you wish to control. This helps the interior look tremendously, and even when you turn the switches off, the settings stay. I absolutely love the idea of not having to reset piddle-y things each time I get in a car. This is a two-thumbs-up idea!

Engine and Transmission
Audi provides a choice of engines for the 2012 Audi Q5. The standard engine is a 2.0L, direct-injected, 16-valve turbo 4-cylinder that puts out 211 horsepower. If some is good and more is better, there is an optional 3.2L direct-injected V6 that puts out 270 horsepower.

The neat thing about the turbo 2.0L 4-cylinder engine is that it gets an 8-speed automatic which really takes advantage of the turbo four’s broad torque band. A much more conventional 6-speed automatic is used with the V6.

Both engines offered in the 2012 Audi Q5 utilize Audi’s world renowned all-wheel-drive system know as quattro. It was one of the first AWD systems patented and used in automobiles. Today, it is still used by many companies as a benchmark for how good a system can be.

2012 Audi Q5 engine
The standard engine is a 2.0L, direct-injected, 16-valve turbo 4-cylinder that puts out 211 horsepower. (Photo: Charles Renny)

Driving
Driving a turbo takes getting used to, and driving one with an 8-speed is no exception. The turbo in the 2012 Audi Q5 seems a bit slow off the start, and that impression lasts long enough for you to get through the crosswalk and then the power is on! You get pushed back in your seat and wonder what just booted you in the backside. Once used to the throttle tip-in, you can exert a very fine control over the boost and driving in the 2012 Audi Q5 is always easy.

All wheel drive
Quattro is insidious because you never know for sure when it's helping you out and when you are actually getting everything right by yourself. Even in seemingly dry conditions the system helps with cornering, stability and acceleration in the 2012 Audi Q5. Then when the weather is bad, you look at all the other drivers and wonder what their problem is.

The 2012 Audi Q5 is the CUV equivalent of a “sleeper” which is a car that performs at a level well above what is expected. That makes it fun, as well as practical!

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