Interior impressions
Test Drive: 2009 Audi Q5 Premium car test drives luxury cars audi
2009 Audi Q5. Click image to enlarge

Audi interiors have become the benchmark for aspiring luxury-class auto firms and the Q5’s first-class cabin is typical of the brand. So, those familiar with Audi will quickly feel at home behind the wheel.

The instrument-panel gauges are easy-to-read white digits on a black background with red indicator needles – simple, yet very effective. The centre stack of the dash is angled slightly toward the driver and many of the controls are rotary knobs. A car-setup system allows the driver to choose exactly the way most of the electronic systems operate. For instance, even the loudness and the tone of rear parking-sensor warning signal can be adjusted.
Rear passengers are also treated well in the Q5. The seats are a generous size, have tall backs and there’s ample leg room, even for taller-than-average adults.

Easy-to-use pull levers in the cargo area and by each rear-door opening release the split fold-down rear seatbacks to expand the cargo area.

Test Drive: 2009 Audi Q5 Premium car test drives luxury cars audi
2009 Audi Q5. Click image to enlarge

Safety is an Audi priority, and the Q5 recently earned a Top Safety Pick award for 2009 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The list of active and passive safety features is impressive and includes front seat-mounted side airbags, drop-down curtain airbags and optional rear side airbags.
On the active front, the Q5 has an advanced stability-control system that even adjusts its performance when the roof rack is in use. This is done in order to compensate for the expected change in the vehicle’s centre of gravity.

My test Q5 came with an optional Side Assist system, which warns the driver when a vehicle is approaching in an adjacent lane.

Driving impressions

In addition to its high-tech, keyless push-button start, my Q5 came with an electronic park brake, a hill descent system and the Audi Drive Select system, which is unique to Audi and gives the Q5 three distinct driving personalities. The ADS control, positioned by the shift lever, allows the driver to choose three preset modes: Comfort, Auto or Dynamic. It alters the action of the steering, suspension, engine and transmission with each selection.
Comfort offers best fuel economy and softest ride. Dynamic, as you might expect, is a polar opposite and Auto reacts to general control inputs from the driver.

Test Drive: 2009 Audi Q5 Premium car test drives luxury cars audi
2009 Audi Q5. Click image to enlarge

The Q5’s 3.2-litre, V6 engine can produce a hefty 270 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m. and torque (max 243 ft.-lb.) peaks at 6,500 r.p.m. According to Audi, it can accelerate from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in about seven seconds. Yet, its 11.5/9.0 L/100 km city/highway fuel-consumption figures are surprisingly frugal for a vehicle its size.

The silky-smooth, six-speed automatic normally operates in the most fuel-efficient manner, seeking the highest gear possible. It can also be operated in a Sport mode and flipping the lever to the right selects a manual mode.

Verdict

The new Q5 offers more utility to buyers who still want to enjoy a “premium sport” driving experience.

Pricing: 2009 Audi Q5 Premium
  • Base price: $48,600
  • Options: $4,700 (Audi Drive Select, $2,500; Tech Package, $2,200)
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $800
  • Price as tested: $54,200
    Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

    Specifications
  • Specifications: 2009 Audi Q5

    Competitors
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Acura RDX
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2009 BMW X3
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Infiniti EX35
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Land Rover LR2
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2009 Lexus RX

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
  • Pages: 1 2 All

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