First Drive: 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T

Matt Tierney

Enthusiasts will quickly point out that the Audi A4 Avant also offers an eight-speed automatic, Quattro all-wheel drive, and the superb 2.0T engine along with better driving dynamics and a mere 1.1 cubic-ft loss in cargo capacity with the rear seats upright. Sadly the wagon costs a little more than the crossover, so most Americans will completely ignore the 276-pound weight savings, two-mpg improvement (EPA combined rating), and 0.2 second 0-60 mpg advantage the wagon offers. We love the A4 Avant, but the Q5 manages to sell a lot better -- nearly six Q5s leave the lot for every A4 Avant that finds a home.

During our year with the Q5 3.2, we also wondered if Audi should consider stuffing its diesel 2.0 TDI engine in the Q5 for America. Having driven the 2.0T, though, we think Audi's chosen the right four-cylinder engine for the Q5. The 2.0T is fuel efficient enough that we never felt guilty about driving a small SUV and the TDI's relative lack of horsepower and rev range would likely take away from the Q5's fun-to-drive factor. We're no longer wishing for an Audi Q5 TDI. That's how good the 2.0T is in the real world.

One wish the 2.0T didn't fulfill is our desire for more natural steering feel, a common problem in this segment. Several editors still lament the light steering at low speeds and its abrupt change in effort at speeds above parking-lot velocity, but once the road starts to turn we all agreed the suspension does a great job keeping the two-ton Q5's body motions in check. The small SUV/crossover segment isn't exactly a driver's paradise, but the Q5 is as good as it gets. If you're in the market for a luxury ute, the Q5 provides a much more involving driving experience than a Lexus RX without pushing the needle too far from a comfortable ride on long trips. Now that the Q5 2.0T saves about $3000 from the 3.2's sticker and adds two mpg combined, it's better than ever.

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RicardTDI
I own an '06 Jetta TDI and '09 Audi A4 2.0TAudi should offer (like fat chance)Q5 2.0TDIA4 2.0TDI with front wheel drive (with a larger fuel tank)A4 3.0TDI with quattroBoy am I dreaming.
audiophi1e
"The small SUV/crossover segment isn't exactly a driver's paradise, but the Q5 is as good as it gets."IMO, for the small SUV/ute department, after testing the Q5 and the Acura RDX, and many other SUVs, (Caddy SRX, FX35, Murano, etc) the RDX is the better driver. It was almost car-like. Throttle response, handling, etc were class-leading. I didn't end up buying it because it lacked some features (power liftgate) and the rear seats require extra work to pull down, but it definitely can drive.All that being said, the Q5 is a great SUV, and the 2.0 is a natural addition. And is such a small sacrifice in performance, it's no wonder its cannibalizing sales of the 3.2. Now if they offered the 3.0S at the pricepoint of the 3.2 and scrapped the 3.2 altogether... (the 3.2 is an old motor that they need to retire)
Diesel13
good article.I always favored a diesel 2.0 option but it wouldnt be for everyone. A 2.0 TDI would obviously be slower, but the fuel economy would be spectacular, >32 mpg.

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