Though Audi has its sights set on overtaking BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the German automaker remains a perennial number three. It's gaining more ground, though, with models like the Q5 -- a relatively recent addition to the ever-growing compact luxury crossover segment.
Since its debut in 2009, the Q5 hasn't seen too many changes, but the 2014 model does introduce some changes under the hood. Audi tweaked the 2-liter four-cylinder engine to deliver an extra nine horsepower, putting it at a total of 220 ponies. The biggest addition for the year is an all-new 3-liter turbo-diesel V6 that delivers high fuel economy and respectable performance numbers.
Audi's strategy for supremacy includes more features at lower prices, and the Q5 is no exception. It comes with standard leather seating, automatic climate control and the concert-quality sound of 10 speakers. Additionally, the Q5 is one of the largest vehicles in the compact crossover class -- it can haul up to 29.1 cubic feet of cargo with the seats in place or 57.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Typical Audi styling is elegant, though somewhat sedate. The optional S Line trim adds some much-welcome sportiness.
Under the Hood
The drivetrain is where the Q5 -- like most Audis -- earns serious credibility. The base 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the 2.0T model starts things off with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, it nets the Q5 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.
The 3.0 TDI model's 3-liter turbo-diesel V6 churns out 240 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. This engine also makes use of the Tiptronic autobox, and turns in a thrifty 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined.
The final engine is the supercharged 3-liter V6 in the 3.0T model, which checks in with 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. So equipped, the Q5 checks in with 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
The Q5's ride is firm, but forgiving, which gives the SUV a great combination of sporty handling and a comfortable ride. Straight-line speed is relatively impressive across the board, as the 2.0T model sprints to 60 mph in 7 seconds, the 3.0T gets there in just 6 seconds and the 3.0 TDI clocks in at 6.5 seconds. Audi limits top speed to 130 mph in all three.
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