The Audi Q5 is the company’s best-selling model after narrowly dethroning the aging A4 in 2013 sales through May. It’s easy to see why this little truck is so popular. Good dynamics, speedy engines, a good cabin and conservative styling. The Q5 also packs some of the best-looking LED technology Audi makes… but that is not likely to move the needle on its own.
The Q5 packs a few changes for 2014 but largely carries over the successful package with new trim options on the exterior, more horsepower from the base engine and some additional safety technology available as options.
Set to underpin the next Porsche Macan , almost everything about this $40,000 small SUV is very impressive.
The Audi is massively more fun to drive than its nearest competitors while also packing handsome styling that evolves the Q7 look effectively. The Q5’s compact dimensions and decent fuel economy also contribute to its rise in the charts.
Both the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 and the BMW X3 trail the Q5 in 2013 sales by more than 3000 units each and the Q5 is on track to move more than 30,000 units in the U.S. in 2013. So the car is a hit. There’s more to the story, however.
Even as the Q5 line is set to broaden with a U.S. performance model called the SQ5 , the base package will still consume most sales. There’s little actual need for a larger engine when the supercharged V-6 can reach 60 in just 5.8 seconds.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Audi Q5 with highlights on the new S-Line trim package that runs 20-inch titanium rotor wheels from the RS5 supercoupe.
The Q5’s styling has evolved in line with the A5 line to now include the giant Audi grille with chopped top edges. Where the A5 now has pointy triangle headlamps the Q5 continues with the blockier-shaped items with a new LED lighting the edge of the entire shape. It is distinctive enough to become one of the Q5’s most recognizable features on the road.
Rear LEDs are standard for all Q5 models while the front LED design requires the Xenon Plus option or the Premium Plus or Prestige trim levels, on which the feature is standard.
The grille follows Audi’s new vertical-bar theme that will be applied to all next-gen Q series models like the Q6 and Q8 and already appears on the allroad and Q7 . Keeping the bars tightly spaced helps avoid looking like Hannibal lector’s face mask and also adds some uniqueness to the design versus other Audi’s at the moment.
In profile, the Q5 is plainly a stubby little SUV but does have many redeeming features. The fender creases are a particular favorite because they are very sharp horizontal surfacing lines that give the car an expensive appearance. They are also better executed than the flowing fender-lines that rise and fall over the A5 ’s wheel wells. This crisp aesthetic is more fitting for Audi because it more closely matches the sharp surfacing out front and in back.
The Q5 really comes into its own from the rear three-quarter view. The glass shape is so sloped that it looks like there’s virtually no trunk when in fact it is huge. From this angle the front overhang also virtually disappears. Audi was smart to redesign its chassis to move the engine rearward. In this aspect there Q5 is no longer behind BMW and Mercedes in the styling proportions game.
The rest of the Q5 from the rear is a close facsimile of the Q7 ’s angled lamp graphics. The new design for the LED taillights puts a solid light bar below the brake lights and gives the car a special signature at night. Just below is a sharply scalloped bumper line that flows into the lamp graphics. The final element is a carved-out diffuser-shaped arc that houses the dual exhaust pipes. The Q5 doesn’t embellish this area with aluminum skid plates like the allroad until getting to the higher-end SQ5 and forthcoming RSQ5 models.
The S-line package is new-for-2014 and includes the aforementioned huge wheels with summer tires, gloss black exterior trims and a matte black roof rack. Surprisingly, it does not dress up the shape very effectively but is a nice package bundle if you also like harder suspension settings.
2014 Audi Q5 Exterior Dimensions:
|Overall length||182.6 in.|
|Overall width||74.7 in.|
|Overall height||65.2 in.|
|Track (front/rear)||63.7/63.5 in.|
|Track||60.5 inches (front) / 60.4 inches (rear)|
2014 Audi Q5 Exterior Features:
- Audi Singleframe grille
- Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running light technology
- Automatic headlights
- LED taillight technology
- Power-adjustable, power-folding, auto-dimming, heated exterior side mirrors with memory
- Front and rear fog lights
- Flat-bottom dual exhaust outlets with polished tips
- Aluminum trim around exterior windows
- Aluminum roof rails
- Power tailgate
- LED turn indicator light technology in the side mirrors
- Heated windshield washer nozzles
There’s much to love about the interior of the Q5. It shares nearly all critical dimensions with the allroad wagon but does offer a few extra cubic feet with all the seats down.
The Q5’s interior shares key A4 shapes to its swooping cowl that wraps the nav screen and instrument cluster. The materials quality is beyond reproach and all the panels seem firmly mounted. As Japanese crossovers increasingly de-content their interiors, the Audi quality makes a lasting impression that trim pieces will not start falling off after a few years. The same cannot be said for many other small SUV’s in the segment, particularly the lousy X3 interior.
All Q5 models pack a giant glass moonroof and standard leather seats but otherwise the main interior trims come in three levels of plushness. The best bet is the Premium Plus model that splits the difference in price between the Premium and Prestige models.
There’s a surplus of great equipment and few missing elements to gripe about. As with other Audi models, some critical features require the optional MMI navigation system upgrade. The Q5 comes standard with a slightly smaller radio and settings display but needs the MMI nav in order to include AudiConnect and Bluetooth audio streaming.
AudiConnect is a cool in-car wifi solution that allows internet access via MMI for real Google Earth and Google Maps integration. The result makes even the best Garmin sat nav graphics look hopelessly yester-tech.
All models get Bluetooth phone calling functionality and a standard sports steering wheel that is a cost option on the A5 . The interior palette is pretty broad and looks much plusher without the all-black option. Selecting more earth-tone colors also increases the impact of the gorgeous open-pore, layered wood panels trimmed in aluminum.
In back, the Q5 is more spacious than its allroad and A4 cousins. There’s more headroom, more legroom and more shoulder room. The one place it looks unfinished is to the sides of either seat where some hard panels seem like they should offer some cushioning.
2014 Audi Q5 Interior Dimensions:
|Headroom With Sunroof (Front/Rear)||39.4/39.0 in.|
|Headroom With Sun Shade (Front/Rear)||38.1/37.7 in.|
|Legroom (Front/Rear)||41.0/37.4 in.|
|Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)||57.7/56.4|
|EPA Cargo Volume||29.1 cubic-feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume (Rear Seats Folded)||57.3 cubic-feet|
2014 Audi Q5 Interior Features:
- Three-zone automatic climate control
- Four-spoke multifunction steering wheel
- Tilt and telescopic manually adjustable steering column
- Power windows with one-touch up/down operation and pinch protection
- Decorative interior inlays
- Black cloth headliner
- Panoramic sunroof
- Dual front sun visors with lighted vanity mirrors
- Rear cargo cover, tilts when tailgate is opened Seating
- Leather seating surfaces
- Eight-way power front seats and four-way power lumbar adjustment for driver
- Sliding 40/20/40 split folding rear seat with pass-through and adjustable recline
- Heated front seats
- Driver seat memory Infotainment | Technology
- Audi concert radio with ten speakers and single CD player with MP3 playback capability
- Driver information system
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 90-day trial subscription 5
- Cruise control with coast, resume and accelerate features
- Audi music interface with USB iPod integration
- BLUETOOTH wireless technology preparation for mobile phone
- Garage door opener (HomeLink)
- Rain/light sensor for automatic windshield wipers and headlights
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
Here’s the most important thing about the Q5’s drivetrain. It comes in all-wheel drive and with an eight-speed automatic transmission only, and is seriously quick in spite of the smaller engine. The engine options are both good choices that achieve best-in-class performance stats.
The Q5 comes standard with Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that now packs 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque for a 6.5-second 0-to-60 mph sprint. The upgraded engine is a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque for a 5.8-second sprint.
Both models top out at 130 mph and feel strong in daily driving, thanks to the responsive and smooth automatic. The latest generation of luxury eight-speeds is truly adaptive and even uses some artificial intelligence to predict what’s next. Paired with yaw and motion sensors in the Audi’s brain, the automatic holds gears in corners, offers tiptronic gear-level selections and rev-matches on big braking, if it senses a corner approaching. The whole unit is spooky smart.
The flexible ZF automatic also maximizes the overall potential of the engines through a wider-than-normal range of either buttery-smooth sloshes all the way to whip-crack gear changes.
The Q5 gets really good gas mileage due to its powerful but downsized engines and a relatively crisp drag coefficient for an SUV. Curiously, the cD score is actually three clicks better than the allroad wagon.
The 2.0-liter delivers 28 mpg on the highway and the 3.0-liter comes in at 26 mpg highway. Both models can also tow 4,000 pounds.
|Trim Level||2.0 TFSI||3.0T|
|Engine Size and Type||2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 with TFSI Direct Injection and Chain-driven DOHC||3.0-liter Supercharged 24-valve V-6 with TFSI Direct Injection and DOHC|
|Peak power||220 horsepower||272 horsepower|
|Peak torque||258 pound-feet||295 pound-feet|
|Transmission||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|0-to-60 mph||6.5 seconds||5.8 seconds|
|Top Speed||130 mph||130 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||20/28/23||18/26/21|
The Q5 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick with Good scores in all the normal tests. The Q5 is also a five-star car from the NHTSA. The Q5 comes with head curtain airbags for both rows as standard whereas Audi typically puts this on the options list for sedan-based models.
Standard Safety Features
- Driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags, thorax side airbags and Sideguard head curtain airbags
- Front passenger occupant detection—for airbags
- Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbags deploy
- Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD) and brake assist
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with traction control (ASR) and off-road mode
- Anti-theft alarm system with panic function
- Tire-pressure monitoring system
- Safety belt reminder for driver and front passenger
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) in rear seats
- Hill descent control
The Q5 starts at $35,900 for the 2.0-liter Premium and ranges to $51,400 for the Prestige model that packs the V-6 as standard. Between the two is the Premium Plus package that can be equipped with the V-6 for an additional $3700.
2014 Audi Q5 Pricing:
|Q5 Premium Plus 2.0||$40,200|
|Q5 Premium Plus 3.0||$43,900|
The idea of a compact GL is very appealing. Unfortunately, the GLK is not. It gets worse mileage than the Q5 by a large margin, is smaller in the rear seats and is less capable both on and off road. The boxy appearance looks unique and also has a very tall windshield design that offers a great view forward. A smaller-engined GLK250 and a BlueTec diesel model for the U.S. have both been delayed indefinitely.
The GLK is a big compromise to the Q5.
The X3 is the ugly Jan Brady of the BMW SUV family. From its gaudy angel eyes to its joyless styling, who is the X3 for? It is for people who cannot afford an X5 and can’t tell the difference between the two anyway. The smaller X1 SUV offers nearly all the X3’s advantages in a far lower and sportier package. On top of the X3’s exterior and interior woes, the car is extremely overpriced and starts just below $40,000 for the xDrive 28i base model. Marcia Marcia Marcia!
If Audi were to cancel its entire lineup and save only a few cars, the Q5 would be one of them. It’s a great package that’s entertaining to drive, rapid and has exterior styling subtle enough to look fresh for years to come.
Inside, the design stays fresh with unique woods and colors to set it apart from the A4 design that also donates its classy materials. It’s not the most accommodating crossover for back seat space but is better than its German rivals in the pinched-toes and bashed-knees awards.
It is easy to imagine the Q5 being the ideal next car for almost all Audi owners. It would fit A3 drivers growing up, sedan drivers wanting a better view in traffic, and Q7 refugees who no longer need the space. Is it the ideal next car for mainstream shoppers as well? That’s a yes too.
Similarly, it is hard to imagine anyone whose lifestyle couldn’t work with the Q5. The Q5’s calm cache is also about to skyrocket via the SQ5 performance model and the attention the Porsche Macan will bring to this more-affordable package.
There’s a theory floating around that Audi’s would sell better if they did more trial drive events or sampling as it’s called in marketing. Among people who are granted the privilege of test-driving a BMW , not everybody likes them. It is totally different with Audi’s latest range via broad-based technical, dynamic and luxury appeal.
Give it a try before you spend $45,000 on an Explorer Sport or any other inferior machines in the crossover segment that pass the $35,000 mark.
|Driving||A||Very Good Dynamics With Little Wallow But Quiet And Smooth Ride Quality|
|Performance||A-||Impressive Sprint Performance And Brilliant Automatic|
|Look||A||Subtle Styling With Just The Right Amount Of Flash|
|Value||B+||Not Cheap But Not Overpriced; the Premium Plus V-6 Is Tops|
|Overall||A||Q7 Appeal With More Friendly Size And Price|
- Most well-rounded Audi available offers best of the range
- Good performance even with base engine; supercharged V-6 a stunner
- Lasting style and interior quality
- Some expensive options are tempting but barely change the car’s demeanor
- Rear seat could be bigger and more accommodating
- S-line trim a barely-noticeable dud