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2013 Audi Q5 : Current Models

Audi may have been a little late to the small-luxo-SUV segment, what with the Acura RDX, BMW X3, and Lexus RX arriving before the Q5 landed for 2009. But as a five-ute comparison test from that year showed, the wait was worth it—the Audi won. For 2013, the Q5 gets a mid-cycle refresh that comprises a host of cosmetic and mechanical updates. Although the new bumpers and lights are welcome, it’s the powertrain changes that should most interest luxury-crossover buyers.

Motivationally Speaking
Where once there were just two engine options, the U.S.-spec Q5 will soon offer four. A turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder continues as the base engine; unlike the European models, which get an updated and slightly more powerful and efficient version of the 2.0T, U.S. versions carry on for now with the 211-hp version that has served in the Q5, as well as other models, such as the A4 and A5. We expect the updated engine to clear customs in a year or two.

Replacing the 3.2-liter V-6 in the Q5 is Audi’s prolific 3.0T; the “T” stands for supercharger, obviously. This 3.0-liter V-6 debuted in the S4 for 2010 and has since spread across the Audi lineup. In Q5 trim it makes 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. We drove a Q5 3.0T with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, although the U.S.-market 3.0T instead will deliver power to all four wheels (Quattro four-wheel drive is standard across the range) via a conventional eight-speed automatic.

Engine option number three is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel, the first diesel to be offered in the U.S. Q5. It won’t go on sale here until the fall of next year as a 2014 model, but if you can stand to wait, we recommend doing so for two reasons: First, it is one of the smoothest diesels we’ve ever driven. Even with 245 hp and 428 lb-ft on tap, it’s quiet, and it will not be that much slower than the 3.0T. Second, as it stands, the hot-rod SQ5, which uses a version of this engine, will not be brought to the U.S. The first diesel to power an Audi S vehicle, it uses two sequential turbochargers to boost the intake pressure and produce an astonishing 313 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. We say it’s plenty worthy of the S nameplate. If Audi sees a high demand for diesel Q5s in the U.S., there is a chance, albeit a small one, the SQ5 will come. Odds are that if we get an S version of the Q5 it will instead have a tuned-up version of the 3.0T gas V-6. Too bad. What can we say? We dream in Technicolor diesel.

The final new powertrain is a hybrid. It uses the 211-hp turbo four augmented by a 54-hp electric motor connected by a clutch to the engine; combined system output is 245 hp and is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides power for up to 1.9 miles of electric-only driving at 37 mph, or a shorter distance at speeds up to 62 mph. We couldn’t verify the motor’s operational range on our short drive, but we did find the blending of electric and gas-electric operation to be as seamless as anything we’ve sampled. The engine doesn’t restart with a violent shake like we’ve experienced with the BMW 328i’s stop-start system, and after pulling away on electric power, the reintroduction of internal combustion is inconspicuous. The brakes bite nicely—which is not the norm for a hybrid bent on recouping brake energy—but the epilogue of a slight brake application is a small shudder felt through the pedal and a bit through the steering wheel. It’s our only real gripe with the hybrid.

All the Q5s come with electrically assisted power steering that actually has a sufficient amount of feedback for an SUV and knows straight-ahead like a salmon knows upriver. The chassis blends a comfortable ride with a sporty demeanor in the way we expect a sports sedan to. The hybrid is infinitely more engaging than the RX450h, and the diesel model should offer class-leading (internal combustion only) fuel economy. The official numbers haven’t been announced for the 2013 Q5 range, although the 2.0T will likely burn gas at the same rate as the current model, which has city and highway EPA ratings of 20 and 27 mpg. The 3.0T will score slightly lower, and the hybrid will do a bit better. The diesel model should nearly match the 2.0T’s economy, potentially surpassing its highway rating.

May We Recommend

Buyers looking to get maximum sport out of their Q5 should select the S-line package with the 3.0T, which includes variable-ratio steering and adaptive dampers at all four corners. In their stiffest setting, the dampers do a good job of quelling body roll, which makes sweepers ever so slightly more enjoyable.

Pricing hasn’t been revealed for the 2013 model, but we expect the 2.0T’s sticker to be slightly higher than the outgoing 2012 model’s, or about $37,500. The 3.0T should start right around the $45,000 mark, with the hybrid coming in below the 3.0T. When it comes online next year, we expect the 3.0 TDI to be priced a bit higher than the 3.0T.

Those new lights—they have a halolike LED daytime-running element—and the bumpers, although minor changes, blend well into the carry-over body panels. Along with the powertrain updates, the new look makes a likable luxury crossover even more so.

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Sources : 2013 Audi Q5 Photo | 2013 Audi Q5 Article | 2013 Audi Q5 Engine Photo | 2013 Audi Q5 Rear Photo


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