With car-like underpinnings adapted from the Audi A4 sport sedan, the Q5 drives and handles much like that car, despite its relatively tall cabin. The Q5 is quite compact on the outside -- it's about as easy to park as a compact sedan -- yet there's a lot of passenger space within. Nice, supportive front seats afford a great view out, with a center console that has an adjustable armrest up top, while there's a surprising amount of legroom in back. The back seats in the Q5 slide fore and aft to balance the amount of cargo space and legroom, while the seatbacks recline; the seats also fold forward to allow a large cargo space or, when up, there's still a pass-through for long objects. The Q5's long wheelbase, in addition to helping maximize passenger space, also helps improve ride quality.
The Audi Q5 offers a long list of safety features that includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and hill descent control, with a special off-road mode for the electronics that allows a little more slip. The stability control system in the Q5 will recognize when the roof rack is loaded and adjust accordingly. Front side thorax bags, along with head-curtain side bags for both rows are all standard. Rear side-thorax bags are available.
Leather upholstery is standard on the Q5, along with a power tailgate, xenon headlights, power front seats, telescopic steering, keyless entry with an alarm, 3-zone climate control, a trip computer and a hard cargo cover along with cargo nets. The sound system standard even on the base model is a 10-speaker, 180-watt system including Sirius Satellite Radio, an auxiliary input and an SD card slot, while Bluetooth, an iPod interface and navigation with Audi connect are optional.
Premium Plus models add heated front seats with driver memory, heated folding mirrors and LED running lamps. The Premium Plus offers, as options, a hard-drive-based navigation system that accepts voice prompts and includes a rearview camera and HD radio and an amazing 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system. The Technology Package for this trim includes navigation and Audi side assist, while a Luxury Package is also available, with extended leather trim.
The top Prestige trim is only offered with either of the V6 models or the 2.0L hybrid. It brings a host of high-end luxury and tech features including heated washer nozzles, Audi Side Assist and a heated/cooled cup holder. The S Line Package adds 20-inch wheels, summer performance tires and a special steering wheel and shift paddles. The Audi Drive Select system, which adds custom modes -- Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual -- to control the suspension, steering, engine/transmission response, is only offered on this top-of-the-line model.
The SQ5 is Audi's high-performance version of the Q5. It features a more powerful version of the V6 available in the Q5, but making a very healthy 354 horsepower. Audi has tuned the suspension on the SQ5 to be lower, stiffer and better handling, while unique interior features such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel remind drivers that they're driving something very special.