Even though this car has a four-cylinder engine, the driving experience is not all that different than our recently departed V-6-powered Four Seasons Q5, in that it handles more like a sedan than like a tall crossover. It's missing the $3000 MMI Navigation package, but that's the price you pay for keeping the cost below $40,000, which is pretty darn good for an upscale crossover. One other thing you sacrifice when you forgo the nav package is the radio on/off switch located on the center console, a feature I really like. On the plus side, the transmission in this Q5 has two extra gears.
In cold weather like we've been experiencing, I was happy to see that this Q5 has heated seats, and I think, after a year with our Q5, that I'm finally attuned to the somewhat counterintuitive seat heater controls. I think the confusion stems from the fact that in most cars - make that, in every other car I've driven-- the seat heater and the climate control buttons are discrete units, but in this (and other Audis), they are controlled by the same dials.
- Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
Excuse me, where's the tradeoff? I'm sure the Q5 2.0T's smaller engine shows in zero-to-sixty or quarter-mile times, but this engine is so well-suited to this application that it is undoubtedly the best engine for virtually every Q5 buyer. At 211 hp, the 2.0T is down 59 hp on the normally aspirated V-6, but the smaller engine actually produces an additional 15 lb-ft of torque, at 258 lb-ft. Audi also throws in the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission with the 2.0T, while V-6 buyers are left with the (still very competent) six-speed automatic. As you'd expect, you'll reap the benefits at the gas pump, as the 2.0T is rated at 20/27 mpg compared to 18/23 mpg. Perhaps the only time I'd really want that 3.2-liter V-6 is if I were using the Q5's impressive towing capacity, which is pegged at 4400 pounds regardless of which engine you choose.
A Q5 2.0T sells at a $3000 discount to a comparable Q5 3.2, but you can stretch the margin even wider if you're willing to forgo some superfluous options. Our 2.0T rang in with a $7000 discount over our V-6-powered Four Seasons Audi Q5. The only option I really missed was Audi's $3000 navigation system, which enlarges the infotainment screen and moves the rotary controller from the center stack to the center console, right where your hand naturally falls.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor