Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Audi Q5, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Audi Q5 Review.
In the world of luxury crossovers, the competition never sleeps. That’s why Audi’s been working overtime to keep the 2015 Audi Q5 at the top of its game. Recent additions to the Q5’s portfolio include the TDI turbodiesel V6 (428 lb-ft of torque and 31 miles per gallon on the highway) and the high-performance SQ5 (354-horsepower supercharged V6). If that seems like overkill, you can get a lesser version of the supercharged V6 with 275 hp. There’s also a gas/electric hybrid Q5 that offers a potent mix of power and fuel efficiency.
As always, the 2015 Q5 is based on the A4 sedan, and that works wonders for its driving character. The Q5 naturally rides higher and holds more cargo than the A4 does, but it hugs the pavement like a hatchback. People often buy these vehicles so they can sit up high and feel safe, even if it means sacrificing some handling capability. In the Q5, the sacrifice is so small that most drivers won’t even notice.
There are small drawbacks, of course, including so-so performance from the base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Nonetheless, we’re definitely in Audi’s corner on this one. It’s a good thing the competition isn’t sleeping, because Audi seems determined to make the Q5 better with each passing year. See the 2015 Audi Q5 models for sale near you
What’s New for 2015?
The 2015 Q5 gets standard xenon headlights with LED running lights and taillights. A power tailgate is also standard. Additionally, it has the high-end MMI Plus interface on every 2015 Q5.
What We Like
Fun to drive; high-quality interior; available with diesel or hybrid power; good fuel economy; satisfying supercharged V6
What We Don’t
Small cargo hold; forgettable 4-cylinder performance
All Q5 models employ an 8-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive.
The Q5 2.0T is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.
The Q5 Hybrid pairs the 2.0T engine with a 40 kW electric motor. Output is rated at 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque and fuel economy is 24 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.
The Q5 TDI has a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that generates 240 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy checks in at 24 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.
The Q5 3.0T pumps out 272 hp and 295 lb-ft from its supercharged 3.0-liter V6. Fuel economy is 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
The SQ5 — the first-ever S variant of any Audi Q model — cranks out 354 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque thanks to a souped-up version of the 3.0T model’s V6. Fuel economy drops to 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Audi Q5 is offered in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Note that the 2.0T is available only in Premium or Premium Plus trim. The Hybrid is available only as a Prestige, and the other three specifications (TDI, 3.0T and SQ5) come in either Premium Plus or Prestige trim.
The 2.0T Premium ($38,195) comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, a power tailgate, a sunroof, leather upholstery, power front seats with adjustable lumbar, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, wood-grain interior trim, trizone automatic climate control (including a separate temperature control for the back seat), Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, Audi’s MMI infotainment system with a dash-mounted control knob, and a 10-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input, SD card reader and satellite radio.
The 2.0T Premium Plus ($42,725) adds a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry with push-button ignition, driver memory functions and heated seats. Notably, the 3.0T Premium Plus ($45,825) and TDI Premium Plus ($47,925) have some standard features that the 2.0T doesn’t, including 19-in alloy wheels and S-line styling enhancements.
The Hybrid Prestige ($52,825), 3.0T Prestige ($53,325) and TDI Prestige ($55,425) step up to adaptive xenon headlamps, manual rear sunshades, a blind spot monitoring system, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system and an MMI navigation system that includes an upgraded display screen, a console-mounted control knob with a joystick-like top and an extra SD slot.
Meanwhile, the SQ5 Premium Plus ($52,795) and SQ5 Prestige ($60,295) have 20-in wheels, unique exterior styling, quad exhaust tips, upgraded brakes, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sport seats, exclusive sport gauges, aluminum pedals and a super-cool S shift knob.
Many of the higher trims’ features are available on lower trims as options, including the upgraded MMI system. The Prestige trim is eligible for some exclusive upgrades, including an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, adaptive cruise control and the Drive Select system, which provides electronic adjustments for steering, transmission and throttle calibrations.
Also available is Audi connect (standard on Prestige models), which integrates Google Maps into MMI Plus. Additional Audi connect features include Google search with voice-command functionality and mobile Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices.
Maximum cargo space is on the small side at 57.3 cu ft. While the 29.1 cu ft of space behind the rear seatbacks sounds ample, we’ve found it challenging to fit a couple golf bags into this relatively narrow cargo area. At least the Q5 Hybrid’s battery pack’s position doesn’t compromise what cargo space there is.
The 2015 Audi Q5 features standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and six airbags (front, front-side, full-length side-curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional. A blind spot monitoring system is available, but the Q5 is generally rather short on high-tech safety features in comparison to some newer competitors.
In government crash tests, the Q5 was awarded four out of five stars, including four stars in frontal impacts and five stars in side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q5 its highest rating of Good in every crash-test category.
Behind the Wheel
In our interior evaluation, we found the Q5’s front seats to be comfortable enough, but they lack the range of adjustments that some competitors provide (BMW, for example), and their lateral support is minimal — except for the excellent sport seats in the SQ5. Thanks to the standard seat-height adjustment and tilt-telescopic wheel, though, everyone should be able to find a comfortable driving position. The quality of the materials is excellent for this price range, but as with the A4, the Q5’s ergonomics are hit-or-miss. Try to adjust the climate control’s fan speed, and you’ll see what we mean — it’s a two-step process.
The Q5 makes the most of its compact rear compartment by providing slide and recline functions for the back seat, not to mention the rare luxury of separate rear temperature controls. While the bottom cushion is still somewhat lower than our taller editors would prefer, we’d call the Q5’s rear-passenger space satisfactory for this class.
Under the hood, the base 2.0T engine seems somewhat underpowered for luxury-crossover duty, though many owners seem to think it’s just fine in the real world. Still, we much prefer the snappy acceleration of the 3.0T or the vast torque of the TDI. Better yet, grab an SQ5 and enjoy sports-car-like performance, including the benchmark 0-to-60 sprint in around 5 seconds. As for the Hybrid, we can’t see anyone choosing it over the TDI, which delivers slightly better performance and fuel economy at a lower price.
At reasonable cornering speeds, the Q5 feels like the sport sedan of compact luxury crossovers. It’s an A4 on stilts, yes, but it’s an A4 nonetheless. If you push harder, you’ll be battling understeer, but that’s forgivable. No one buys a Q5 to chase motorcycles in the hills. The true calling of the Q5 is to traverse both highways and patchy urban pavement with composure, and for the most part, that’s exactly what it does. The ride gets rather firm with the 20-in wheels, though.
Other Cars to Consider
BMW X3 — The athletic X3 sports a pair of wonderful turbocharged gas engines plus an optional turbodiesel, and its interior is right there with the Audi in terms of quality.
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class — The GLK’s butch styling makes a strong statement, and the V6-powered GLK350 offers far more power than the Q5 2.0T does at a comparable price. You can opt for a 4-cylinder turbodiesel, too.
Used BMW X5 — Want something a little bigger? A CPO X5 could be just the thing. The X5 handles wonderfully well, and depreciation brings it down to the Q5’s price level or below.
Used Porsche Cayenne — If you’re drawn to the Q5’s sportiness, the Cayenne is even sportier, and it’s a CPO bargain. You might even be able to snag a V8-powered model for the price of a fancy Q5.
If you’re looking for the best all-around Q5, our pick is the TDI model, thanks to its stellar combination of torque and mpg ratings. But if you don’t mind making a sacrifice in terms of fuel economy, take the fully caffeinated SQ5 for a spin. Be forewarned: You might not want to come back. Find a Audi Q5 for sale