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Review: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic - Autosavant | Autosavant
Review: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic – Autosavant | Autosavant | 2012 audi q5 review

The Audi Q5 luxury SUV came out in 2008, was refreshed in 2012 and, for 2018, it received a complete revamp with an upgraded engine, even more tech — it already had a ton — and a digital, hidden “aggression meter” that looks at how you’re driving and adjusts the quattro system accordingly. Well, we named it “aggression meter;” Audi just called it a “program.” It sees the future — you read that right — predicting what’s going to happen on the pavement 500 milliseconds in advance. The all-wheel-drive system only takes 200 milliseconds to engage. Abracadabra.

The Q5 SUV is now responsible for a full 25 percent of Audi’s U.S. sales. All come from the company’s new $1.3 billion factory in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico. The midsize luxury crossover segment is hot right now, so Audi capitalized.

All new Q5s come with the VW Group’s redeveloped 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged I4 that now makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’s hooked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and feeds to the company’s slick quattro all-wheel-drive system. This package is good for a 5.9-second sprint to 60 — over a full second faster than its predecessor — and is actually faster than the last Q5 with the 3.0-liter V6.

Like a handful of other cars on the market, the Q5 features a decoupling prop shaft that releases the rear wheels when not needed. That leads to an improvement in both city and highway mpg, with a combined rating of 25.

A premium Bang and Olufsen sound system, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, Audi Connect and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are all available. Adaptive damping is standard, an air suspension is optional.

The Execution

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Slipping into the cabin, the tech looks cutting edge, but the styling and colors, as least on this tester, look dated. There’s beige and black and gray, which is very traditional, but doesn’t look like it fits with the big screens, leather-wrapped wheel and tech-heavy center console. Still, the touchpad is responsive with pinch and swipe motions, the screens are high-def, all of the controls are laid out where you can reach them and there’s a small knob for radio volume. The wide, chunky gear selector is a perfect place to rest your wrist when it’s not controlling the wheel.

Tons of cameras help with pulling out of a tight spot, and sensors let the driver know when anything gets too close.

The 252-hp four could easily be confused for a V6, except maybe for the soft, elongated growl as it rolls up to redline. Surely, though, no one will miss the six because this car is quick off the line and quick to drop gears with that dual-clutch transmission. It also coasts well with the disconnecting prop shaft. After building speed to about 40 mph, I coasted down a hill to about 55 mph before a cop in a Taurus made me try to gently slam the brakes. It didn’t work, and I was ticketed. Thankfully, the no-nonsense citizen on patrol only gave me a five over. She could have done worse.

The 2018 Audi Q5 has three trims, Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.

Takeoffs are smooth but quick, which is easier said than done. I suppose it’s tough to decide what the customer really wants, depending on what percentage of throttle is used. I feel like a 50 percent stab should be good for a fast getaway, without jerking your neck back. This Q5 can do that. The brakes were a little soft on top, but once they got hold of the discs, it was only another inch or so until the car was stopped. Speaking of, the Sport Package adds four-piston hi-po brakes on the Q5. The SQ5 gets six-pots.

In dynamic mode (Audi’s name for the mode that dissects your driving and acts accordingly), the Q5 loves to grip some of the best curving, rising and running roads in the Mitten state. Even clipping along at 60 mph, it feels like it could handle much more. The optional 19-inch wheels and tires stay mostly silent except for the few near-hairpins that bring you back the way you came.

Review: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic - Autosavant | Autosavant
2012 Audi Q5: New Car Review – Autotrader | 2012 audi q5 review

The Q5 has a big backseat — sitting behind a 6-footer caused no problems for me and my 5-foot-10-inch frame. The cargo area looks shallow from the driver’s seat, but cracking the tailgate proves that to be false. The lower loading area is about 3 feet deep, which narrows to about 1 foot at the roof.

What is it? The RX350 SUV is Lexus’ best selling vehicle. The company moved more than 100,000 last year, most with the 3.5-liter V6. There’s also a hybrid version.Key Competitors: Acura MDX, …

The Takeaway

The Audi Q5 came in third last month in sales below the Cadillac XT5 and the dominating Lexus RX, which basically double the German’s sales. Still, Audi moved almost 5,000 of them in September, which is no small feat. Between those three, the Lexus RX is probably the easy pick — its V6 is good for 292 hp, but the RX is also 200 pounds heavier, so the two should feel the same amount of “quick.”

The Lexus feels more luxurious by a step, but the Audi feels way sportier, both in its suspension setup and the way the power comes on. The Cadillac is probably in the middle. The Lexus starts at $44K or so. This Q5 is $42K for the base; the Q5 Prestige trim begins at about $50,000.

But neither of those competitors can see into the future, not even a half-second. And if you’re buying a luxury SUV for $50,000-plus, seeing a half-second into the future shouldn’t be optional, it should be standard.

Review: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic - Autosavant | Autosavant
2012 Audi Q5 Hybrid Quattro: First Drive Review – VIDEO ENHANCED | 2012 audi q5 review

Jake Lingeman – Jake Lingeman is Road Test Editor at Autoweek, reviewing cars, reporting on car news, car tech and the world at large.
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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $41,597

Powertrain: 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged I4, AWD, seven-speed dual-clutch

Output: 252 hp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm; 273 lb-ft @ 1,600-4,300 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,045 lb

Fuel Economy: 23/27/25(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Review: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Quattro Tiptronic - Autosavant | Autosavant
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Pros: Highway gas mileage better than EPA estimates

Cons: An interior so traditional your old Toyota Camry will be jealous

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