Monday, August 23, 2010
2011 Audi Q5 Review
For 2011 Audi leaps into the hybrid SUV fray with a new version of its popular Q5 luxury crossover. While the 2011 Q5 will still offer an excellent 3.2-liter gas engine as standard equipment, the big news is the availability of a full parallel hybrid drivetrain, an Audi first. While pricing and other details are scant at the moment, Audi has said the 2011 Q5 hybrid will be available in late autumn 2010 and will feature a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine mated to an electric drive system.
First offered stateside in 2009, the Q5 has earned high praise for its classy interior and excellent driving dynamics. Competing in a crowded luxury crossover market filled with other pint-size entries like BMW’s X3, Mercedes’ GLK, and the newly downsized Cadillac SRX, the Q5 has succeeded in establishing itself as a hot-selling market force. The Q5 3.2 Quattro (as the V6 version is known) features standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a six-speed automatic transmission. The Q5 shares its unit-body platform with Audi’s class-leading A4 sedan, riding on the same 110.6-inch wheelbase while jacking up the ride height to fit the SUV profile. As mentioned, Audi’s excellent Quattro AWD system is standard, using the now familiar TORSEN (TORque SENsing) differential to seamlessly transmit power to all four wheels. A variety of electronic stability and traction aids assist the Quattro system in delivering limpet-like traction.
Power is routed through a six-speed automatic gearbox, the only transmission offered. In the luxury crossover segment, many offerings strike a poor balance between handling and ride comfort. Body lean is well managed, and the crisp variable-assist steering allows for excellent maneuverability. Three trim levels will be offered for the 2011 Q5. Premium (base) trims come standard with leather upholstery over power front seats, genuine wood trim, and automatic climate control. Stepping up to the Premium Plus trim level nets buyers Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, along with a large panorama sunroof and heated seats. The range-topping Prestige trim gets Audi’s excellent MMI navigation system interface, along with a parking camera and thermal cupholders that can keep your Starbucks toasty all day.
Space up front is generous, but the somewhat cramped rear seat only grudgingly accommodates adults. In addition to antilock brakes and electronic stability control, Q5 Prestige trims come equipped with a blind-spot warning system. Front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, with rear-seat side torso bags optional for 2011. The addition of an earth-friendly hybrid drive system will set the Q5 further apart from the expanding pool of luxury crossovers. It’s a shame that Audi’s product planners refuse to import a trim sure to win over leadfoots and eco-warriors alike: the turbocharged, diesel-powered, seven-speed Q5 3.0 TDI.
The new Audi Q5 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0 Liter, four cylinder engine. The luxury vehicle also features an 8 speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Quattro all wheel drive is another feature and Audi will feature a hybrid version in 2011, as well.
The vehicle is easily maneuvered with variable assist steering. The anti-lock braking system on all four wheels comes standard. This particular model also features an 8 speed Tiptronic transmission with the four cylinder, but six speed Triptronic automatic transmission with the V6 engine.
Some of the Audi Q5’s most notable safety features are listed below for the consumer’s review:
Side Impact Airbags-Standard
Side Curtain Airbags – Standard for both rows of seats
Electronic Stability System – Standard
Rear Side Impact Airbags – Optional
Blind Spot Warning System
Lane Departure Warning System
Automatic Low and High Beam Control
Swiveling Active Xenon Headlights
If the driver is approaching a vehicle or object, the device will warn the driver by flashing warning lights and emitting a sound. If no response from the driver, the automatic braking system will employ.
The body style bears resemblance to the Audi Q7. The vehicle features 19 inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, S-line exterior trim, heated mirrors, roof rack and adaptive headlights.
The vehicle will accommodate 5 passengers.