Saturday Road Test

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2013 Audi Q5

Refined Fun!

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD – It all went by so quickly – the more than 440 miles that I put on the Q5. Fun vehicles will do that!

It was sized just right for zipping around Maryland’s old town narrow streets and country roads, and then smoothly merging into fast moving interstate traffic, even with the smallest power plant offered in the Q5 lineup. Thanks to a fine audio system and good New Orleans jazz, even being stuck behind a series of school buses one afternoon was no big deal.

The Q5 is the little brother in the Audi lineup of crossovers or sport utilities as it has variously been called. It measured 182.6 inches long, 74.7 inches wide and 65.2 inches tall. That puts in the same category as the Volvo S60 and BMW X3, its chief rivals.

An energetic 211 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four with 258 lb-ft of torque was tied to a smooth performer – an eight speed Tiptronic transmission. A 3.0-liter 272 horsepower six is the next step up, or consumers can opt for Audi’s first production hybrid that churns out a max of 245 horsepower. A diesel will join the lineup this fall, an engine that has been widely praised in European testing.

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Yet even the base engine is good enough to launch the Q5 to 60 in seven seconds with a top end of 130 mph. Being a turbo, it demands premium unleaded with an EPA rating of 20-28 mpg. I got an overall 20 mpg.

With 8-way adjustable power seats and 4-way power lumbar it was a snap for the driver to get comfortable. At times, the tilt/telescoping wheel could be balky to adjust and made the case for a powered unit.

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A smaller than expected steering wheel added a sporty touch to the interior. Instruments were easy to read in all lighting conditions and audio and ventilation controls were both right at hand.

The second row 40/20/40 seats came with fore and aft adjustments and reclined to keep adult passengers happy. Audi claims overall seating for five and no third row seating is offered.

Fold down those second row seats and there is 57.3 cubic feet of cargo room – generous but a tad below its rivals.

Out on the road, occupants will notice a lack of road and wind noise, as well as the rock solid build of the Q5.

Drivers will enjoy the Q5’s sporty handling with little body lean in fast corners teamed with quick response steering. This is where its A4 platform roots show up.

In short, Audi engineers have achieved a perfect combination of comfortable ride and near sport sedan handling. Visibility was good to all corners helped by large, and heated, outside mirrors.

With the $475 Ice Silver metallic paint, a large $1,500 sunroof, $1,750 Convenience and Lighting packages, and heated front seats the test Q5 carried an MSRP of $40,970 including delivery.

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Clearly the options on our test Q had not been cleared by Q of James Bond fame.

There was no navi system. That would come as part of a $3,550 MMI Navigation Plus Package that also includes voice control, color screen, HD radio, a parking system and rear view camera.

Paddle shifts come as part of a Sport Interior Package for $500 and a power rear lift gate is only an option on the upscale models. Those of short stature would find it quite a stretch to lower it manually.

The Q comes with a four year, 50,000 mile new vehicle limited warranty, and one year, 5,000 mile free scheduled maintenance.

If the passenger count and cargo capacity of Audi’s car lineup falls short of your needs, you would do well to take a Q5 out for a run. There are many good reasons why it is one of Audi’s best sellers.



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