• 2012 Audi Q5—Luxury meets affordable

    October 11th, 2011 | Section: Autos

    The new 2012 Audi Q5 leaves nothing to be desired, at a price that is both affordable and competitive. Audi has really taken its time to give its customers options to customize the Q5 to one’s own liking. This SUV is both stylish and family friendly, while sporting a lot of class and muscle.

    According to US News poll rankings, the 2012 Q5 is the No. 1 luxury SUV in the market. The car is modeled after the Audi A4 but in an SUV format. This gives the look and performance of an SUV, but handles like an A4. There are four options packages on the Q5. All wheel drive is standard on every package.

    The base package, known as Premium trim, has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which combines the Audi valvelift system, variable valve timing, Audi FSI® direct injection and turbocharging for more power and greater efficiency. Standard features include leather seats, wood inlays, three-zone automatic, 12-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment, and power-adjustable, heated exterior mirrors with integrated LED turn signals.

    The next package up is the Premium Plus. This package adds more upscale features, such as heated front seats, Panorama sunroof, Driver memory, Blue-tooth and much more.

    The next two upper packages are very similar to one another. There is the 3.2 Premium Plus, and the 3.2 Prestige. They both have a 3.2-liter V6 engine, which with its four valves-per-cylinder, offers silky-smooth and responsive performance, thanks to the combination of FSI® and Audi valvelift system. The use of aluminum for the block and cylinder head makes the 3.2-liter V6 lightweight, resulting in improved handling. The only real difference between the two packages is the Prestige comes standard with a rearview camera, thermo cup holder, blind spot monitoring system and 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.

    Even after these packages, there’s still the hybrid Audi Q5. This is Audi’s first production vehicle to incorporate both gas and electric drive, the former a 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder, the latter a 44-hp electric motor sandwiched between the engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Combined output is 241 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, directed to all four wheels. A 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is positioned under the load floor, and it takes a minimal toll on the rear cargo area.

    If maximizing fuel economy and minimizing a carbon footprint are your goals—the Q5 hybrid’s driver interfaces make them easier to attain. Audi’s usual Multi Media Interface (MMI) appears here with special functions to monitor the flow of energy among the engine, motor, and battery, as well as to display rates of energy consumption and recuperation as easy-to-read bar graphs. The tachometer has been replaced by a power meter that displays real-time levels of electric boost, gas power, and battery charge. The needle is quite precise and lets you know exactly how close you are to coming off full-electric drive, making it easy to maintain silent operation.

    The Audi Q5 is redefining the term luxury and at its unbeatable price, it leaves competition in the dust. MSRP is $35,000 – $43,000 depending on your package (the estimated MSRP for the hybrid is $48,000) and no matter which package you choose, you’ll be satisfied.

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