Audi was late to the crossover party, so we didn't get the Q5 until the 2010 model year. Since then, the Q5 has found a nice place for itself in the market. It's a more compelling overall package than the larger Q7 and is far more efficient thanks to its better packaging and considerably lighter weight (it weighs more than half a ton less). The Q5 was launched with a 3.2-liter V-6 as its only powerplant, but Audi added a turbocharged four-cylinder as the base engine last year. We have long suspected that Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter gasoline V-6 and a diesel V-6 would join the lineup, but they have yet to make an appearance. Still, the Q5 impresses with the usual Audi high style inside and out. It also contains lots of high-tech gadgetry, including a lane-departure warning system, stability control that's smart enough to compensate for a loaded roof rack, and a heated and cooled cupholder for those who want to coddle their Starbucks mug. The Q5 has an adaptive suspension that allows sporty handling without the usual kidney-pounding ride. Audi's Drive Select lets the driver tailor the car's responses (damper, throttle, and steering settings) to his preferences. While in theory it's nice to have that customizability, we often find that, in reality, none of the Q5's settings is as pleasing as one good, cohesive setup would have been. Still, the Q5 is a nice crossover wrapped in distinctive skin.
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