Audi Q5 — Quality and competence

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(October 2, 2022) Looking for an all-around competent four-passenger luxury SUV crossover? We've got a suggestion — the 2022 Audi Q5. The compact Audi has been criticized for not being a standout in any one category among a passel of competitors. But the Q5 has excellent qualities in virtually every measurement you would use before plunking down north of 50k. And for that reason it's a standout.

It's roomy for a smallish crossover, it possesses a healthy turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that yields decent gas mileage, it showcases a quality cabin constructed of first-class materials, it comes with standard all-wheel drive, and it's wrapped in an appealing exterior design. Not the most powerful compact luxury crossover, not the most fuel efficient, not the most spacious, and not the best at road-carving — just rewardingly acceptable in in all those categories.

Perhaps that's the reason the Q5 has been the best-selling Audi in the U.S. for several years. In 2021, more than 60,000 copies were sold, double the sales of all other nameplates in the Audi inventory.

The Q5 slots between the smallish Q3 and the mid-sized Q7 in Audi's sport utility lineup. Competitors include, but are not limited, to the BMW X3, Porsche Macan, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lexus NX 350, Genesis GV70, and Mercedes-Benz GLC.  

It comes in two body styles — standard SUV hatchback as reviewed here and the more sedan-like Sportback. There are three variants of the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine — a base engine that makes 201-horsepower; a 261-horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque version such as our test vehicle that is by far the most popular; and a 362-horsepower plug-in hybrid. All three versions are mated to  7-speed automatic transmission and all three come standard with quattro (all-wheel drive).

Although it's possible to save a couple thousand dollars, we do not recommend the new base engine because we think it is a bit underpowered for a luxury vehicle.

The lineup is designated as the 40 TFSI (base), 45 TFSI and the 55 TFSI e Plug-in. Three trim lines are available in all designations — Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. And to add some frosting to this tasty cake, the S Line body kit that was previously optional is now standard across the lineup. The kit offers attractive striping and special badging.

Pricing starts at $44,495 for the 40 TFSI Premium and $46,995 for the 45 TFSI Premium. Pricing tops out for the Prestige TSI 45 at $57,695. The plug-in hybrid will set you back about 66 grand. Our Prestige package TFSI 45 with 20-inch wheels and several other options carried a bottom line of $58,405 including a 1,095 destination charge.

The Prestige package at $10,700 brings such desirable equipment as a Bang and Olufsen audio system with 3D sound, a top view camera system, navigation, adaptive cruise control, panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and Audi virtual cockpit.

There was no driving drama during our week with the 261-horsepower Q5 although in quick passing situations or merging onto interstate traffic, the engine-transmission combo needed a bit of coaxing from the right foot. When nudged into wakefulness it answered with a big "yes I can," completing the task at hand.

So it was no surprise when we saw the statistics as provided by Car and Driver magazine — 0-to-60 in 5.5 seconds, a quarter mile in 14.2 seconds at 97 mph, and passing times of 3.1 seconds from 30 to 50 and 4.3 seconds from 50 to 70.

Push the Q5 on a winding country road and you will be rewarded with excellent grip and cornering ability that we found rewarding. The all-wheel drive system defaults to front-wheel drive under normal circumstances, but we found the drivetrain eager to send power to the rear wheels during spirited driving. Maybe not on a par with some BMW or Porsche models, but it possessed all the handling capability we need for weekend enjoyment.

Inside we found the Q5 very comfortable with excellent seats that seemed a bit too firm at first, but provided welcome support when the drive turned long. We discovered on a 95 degree afternoon that the cooling feature on the front seats worked quickly and well. The ride was smooth and road imperfections were almost undetectable even with the larger 20-inch tires.

For 2022, there's no console-mounted control knob for the standard 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted at the top of the dashboard. So you will have to touch and swipe, which might require more of a reach than you would like with the seat pushed back. But we found doing chores such as tuning the radio no problem, and we prefer this method over a driver-distracting touchpad as found in some luxury vehicle.

The Audi comes with all the requisite safety equipment, and we really enjoyed the top view camera system that came with the Prestige package. It's extremely helpful in parking lot situations, and it's becoming more commonplace on new vehicles.

The Q5 carries a basic 4-year/50,000-mile warranty and with 4-year roadside assistance.   

2022 Audi Q5


Base price: $44,495; as driven, $58,405
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 261
Torque: 273 pound-feet
Drive: all wheel
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 111 inches
Length: 184.3 inches
Curb weight: 4,079 pounds
Turning circle: 38.7 feet
Towing capacity: 4,400 pounds
Luggage capacity: 25.6 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 53.5 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 23 city, 28 highway, 25 combined
Also consider: BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Porsche Macan

The Good
• Three powertrains to choose from
• Quiet and comfortable cabin
• Great fit and finish
• Decent power from 261-HP engine

The Bad
• Touchscreen interface may be hard for some to use

The Ugly
• Not as cargo-friendly as come competitors