Used Car Review

2011 Audi Q5: Used Car Review

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author photo by Ron Sessions May 2016

The 2011 Audi Q5 is aimed at the sweet spot between the sporty A3 hatchback, stylish A4 Avant wagon and larger 7-passenger Q7 SUV. Think of the Q5 as a taller version of the A4, sharing the same 110.5-inch wheelbase, 270-horsepower 3.2-liter V6 engine or newly available 211-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, and quattro all-wheel drive (AWD). It carries five passengers and 29.1 cu ft. of cargo, offering up to 57.3 cu ft. with the split folding bench rear seat, which also reclines and slides fore and aft when folded down.

This premium compact crossover SUV offers a tastefully designed cabin with comfortable seats, tactile controls and exceptional fit, finish and materials quality. Its ride and handling are among the best in the segment, and standard all-wheel drive provides secure traction in all road and weather conditions. The optional Audi drive select system allows the driver to tailor throttle response, transmission shifts, steering response and shock-absorber damping to Dynamic, Comfort or Winter modes or adjust each individually.

The Audi Q5 is a good used-car choice for buyers looking for some style and driving enjoyment in a 5-passenger, all-weather active-lifestyle machine.

What We Like

Audi fit and finish; luxurious cabin; 4-cylinder turbo's responsiveness; quattro AWD; sliding rear seat; sporty ride and handling; good Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash scores; solid feel; comfortable front seats

What We Don't

Below-par cargo space; somewhat touchy Audi MMI infotainment interface; likes premium fuel

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2011 Q5 offers a choice of a 3.2-liter V6 or a new-for-2011 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo.

The newly available 2.0-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder turbo utilizes double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and direct injection. It produces 211 hp and a generous 258 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm for good all-around response. It's hooked to a new tiptronic 8-speed automatic transmission and also features quattro all-wheel drive. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings are 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Premium unleaded is recommended.

The V6 is a direct-injected 3.2-liter 24-valve DOHC design, producing 270 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. Premium unleaded fuel is also recommended. A tiptronic 6-speed automatic transmission and legendary quattro all-wheel drive are standard. The Q5 is EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. The maximum tow rating is a generous 4,400 pounds.

Standard Features & Options

The 2011 Audi Q5 is available in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims.

The Premium's standard equipment includes 18-in alloy wheels, leather seat trim, power front seats, driver's-seat adjustable lumbar, walnut wood interior trim, fog lamps, 3-zone automatic climate control, auto headlamps, cruise control, a leather-wrapped shift lever, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a sliding split fold-flat rear bench seat, rain-sensing wipers, a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with steering-wheel audio controls and Audi MMI, a trip computer, an aluminum roof rack, stability and traction control, an anti-lock braking system, dual front- and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags and power locks, windows and heated side mirrors.

The Premium Plus trim upgrades to 19-in alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone and audio interface, the HomeLink system, xenon self-leveling headlamps, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, driver's-seat memory, a power lift gate, a compass, auto-dimming mirrors and headlamp washers.

Moving up to the Prestige nets the 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, parking assist, a rear camera, a navigation system, rear-door sunshades, Audi's thermo cupholder, S-line exterior trim and Audi connect emergency notification.

Key options include the Audi drive select system, up-level leather interior trim, ventilated front seats, sport seats, rear-side airbags, adaptive damping and 20-in alloy wheels.


The 5-passenger Audi Q5 has become the best-selling Audi model, car or SUV. Therefore, the availability and selection of used examples should be good. Because the cost of maintenance and repair for European vehicles tends to run higher than most, expect to pay a significant premium for lower-mileage used Q5s.

For a good idea of the 2011 Q5's price range, investigate the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at Also, search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had issued the following safety recall for the 2011 Q5:

In a forward-collision warning triggering the airbags, the driver's front airbag inflator can rupture and send metal fragments into the vehicle occupants, resulting in injury or death.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA did not rate the 2011 Q5 for forward or side collisions but gave it four stars for rollover performance.

IIHS rated the 2011 Q5 as a Top Safety Pick, with Good ratings for moderate-overlap front and side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats.

Audi of America sold the 2011 Q5 with 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties and a 12-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty.

In order for a 2011 Q5 to qualify for Audi's certified pre-owned program, it must be less than 5 years old and have no more than 60,000 miles on the odometer. Every certified pre-owned Audi Q5 undergoes a 300-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 2-year/50,000-mile limited warranty (it does not cover audio or navigation systems), which takes effect when the original new-car warranty expires. Also included is a Carfax vehicle-history report and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2011 BMW X3 -- An all-new X3 debuts for 2011 with mini-X5 styling and more interior room. It's still the 3 Series of small SUVs, with good handling but a bumpy ride over less-than-smooth roads. The buttery-smooth 255-hp 3.0-liter 6-cylinder is joined by a new optional 306-hp 6-cylinder turbo. Both feature a new 8-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive.

2011 Lexus RX 350 -- The strong-selling Lexus RX was the first of the car-based luxury crossover SUVs. With a 275-hp 3.5-liter V6, the RX 350 has peppy performance, but a smooth ride comes at the expense of handling precision. It's available with front- or all-wheel drive. The RX is also available as a hybrid, dubbed the RX 450h, and is EPA-rated at 28 mpg city/27 mpg hwy. Both offer generous cabin and cargo space. Fit, finish and materials continue to be top-notch.

Autotrader's Advice

If you enjoy driving but still need the passenger- and cargo-carrying abilities of an SUV, the Audi Q5 deserves a test drive. From the base Premium to the top-of-the-line Prestige model, every Q5 comes well equipped with high style, comfort and convenience features, and exciting technology.

Condition and mileage are important considerations when buying any car, but they tend to be more so with European brands that can be more costly to maintain and repair. Look for a certified pre-owned example when possible or lower-mileage examples that have seen obvious care. If possible, have a trusted mechanic go over the Q5 from nose to tail, and always have a car history report to root out cars with serious accident repairs or salvage titles. Make sure that the Audi Q5 you are considering for purchase has had any applicable safety recalls performed by the factory-authorized dealer.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Audi Q5: Used Car Review - Autotrader