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2009 Audi Q5 Preview

2009 Audi Q5 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • All-new small luxury SUV model for 2009

  • Built on the A4/A5 platform

  • Standard 3.2-liter V-6 powerplant

  • Permanent quattro all-wheel drive (AWD)

  • Standard MMI multi-media interface

  • Available Audi parking system

  • On sale early 2009
Introduction
Audi's second SUV, the all-new Q5, will arrive in showrooms early next year. Entering a segment already occupied by the BMW X3, Land Rover LR2, Lexus RX 350, Infiniti EX35, Volvo XC60, and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLK, the Q5 will find itself competing against strong rivals. To differentiate itself from the competition, Audi boasts that their new Q5 is the sportiest SUV in its class. In addition, permanent quattro AWD, a strong 6-cylinder powerplant, and class-leading technology should help consumers discern it from the growing crowd of small luxury SUVs.

Design
The all-new Q5 fits in well with the rest of the Audi model lineup. Smaller than its sibling, the larger 7-passenger Audi Q7, the 5-passenger Audi Q5 is decidedly sportier in overall appearance, execution, and performance, the automaker claims. The large, now familiar, Audi single-frame grill is framed by expressive headlights ("Xenon plus" headlamps are optional) and LED daytime running lights. Large 5-spoke wheels, set inside gently flared fenders, give the Q5 an aggressive stance, enhanced by the tapered LED tail lamps and wrap-around rear reflectors. With modern coup_-like styling, the roofline of the 4-door SUV begins to slope down towards the rear immediately after the B-pillar, but rear-seat passenger headroom is not impeded. The interior of the Q5 is lined with high-quality materials including standard leather seats and real wood trim, accented by thin aluminum surrounds. The center console houses a storage compartment, dual cupholders, and the controls for the MMI (multi-media interface) set just behind the conventional transmission shifter. The traditional instrument panel features a large central display screen, located just above the center vents.

Model Lineup
While trim levels have not been released, the Q5 will come standard with an automatic 3-zone climate control system and the third generation of Audi's MMI system. A HDD-based navigation system-with real-time traffic information and Bluetooth hands-free telephone interface-are both optional. The cupholders in the center console are both thermally heated, and cooled. Audi will offer the 505-watt Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker sound system on the Q5.

Hardware
The new Q5 shares the same platform as Audi's A4 and A5. The modular chassis architecture allows the Audi to have a long wheelbase, to improve ride quality, and a wide stance, to improve handling and stability, the maker says. With the exception of the hood and trunk-both made of lightweight aluminum-most of the chassis and body panels are manufactured from high-strength, or ultra-high-strength steel. According to Audi, these provide a stronger passenger cell with optimized deformation properties and reduced cabin vibration.

The engine under the front hood is longitudinally mounted (front-to-back in the engine compartment), unlike the transverse (side-to-side) powerplant in the new Volkswagen Tiguan-the Q5 and the Tiguan do not share platforms. The powerplant is Audi's familiar 3.2-liter V-6 FSI with direct injection, rated at 265 hp and 243 lb.-ft. of torque. Connected to a standard 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, the Q5 will sprint to 60 mph in an estimated 6.8 seconds. All models of the Audi Q5 will be equipped with quattro permanent AWD as standard equipment. To enhance driving feel, and offer more traditional rear-wheel-drive handling dynamics, the quattro splits torque 40:60 (front to rear) under normal driving conditions. In inclement weather, or under road conditions offering less-than-ideal traction, quattro will automatically transfer more engine power to the wheels that need it. EPA fuel economy numbers have not been released.

Audi's new Q5 SUV utilizes a 5-link front axle, and a trapezoidal-link rear axle. Both are manufactured primarily of aluminum in an effort to reduce weight and improve the ride, Audi says. Four-wheel disc brakes, with anti-lock control, are standard across all models. All Q5s feature 18-inch lightweight forged aluminum alloy wheels, with 20-inch aluminum wheels optional.

Technology
Audi is offering the Q5 with a full spectrum of premium technology. These options include the Audi parking system with advanced rearview camera and Audi side assist, designed to alert the driver of hazards or obstructions while changing lanes. The Q5 will also be available with an advanced keyless entry, a large panoramic glass sunroof, and Audi's dynamic cornering light system known as adaptive light.

Video of the 2009 Audi Q5
Ratings and details for all Audi models
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