2012 Audi Q5 Expert Review

3.9 Overall Score
Performance 4.1 Comfort 3.7 Styling 4.2 Value 3.3

Editor's Overview

The Audi Q5 is a sleek five-passenger luxury crossover that exudes simple elegance from the inside out. It offers the same type of luxurious amenities as others in its class, but stands out with its nimble driving characteristics.

You'll Like The 2012 Audi Q5 If...

If you seek a compact luxury SUV and striking exterior styling is your primary demand, look no further than the 2012 Audi Q5. The interior layout is simple, yet elegant. Navigating tight spots is an effortless task thanks to the Q5's compact dimensions and relatively tight turning radius.

You May Not Like The 2012 Audi Q5 If...

While the 2012 Audi Q5 offers the best balance in the segment, you can easily find something sportier (BMW X3), softer (Lexus RX) or more affordable (Acura RDX) in the category.

What's New

For 2012, the V6 models add a sleek S line package with titanium-finished 20-inch 5-spoke wheels, matte black roof rails, and window frames. The top-of-the-line Q5 Prestige model offers new rear-window sunshades, perfect for keeping your rear-seat passengers comfortable in the summertime.

Interior Features

The 2012 Audi Q5's visually striking exterior is nearly eclipsed by its brilliant interior architecture. The layout is polished and classy, with precise construction and excellent fit and finish. The 12-way power front seats offer a host of configurations to accommodate an array of body types. The rear seats feature a versatile 40/20/40 split design and provide ample legroom and headroom. Audi is leading the way when it comes to innovative in-vehicle multimedia. The available feature-packed navigation system is controlled by Audi's intuitive MMI terminal and includes 3D building graphics, DVD player and two SD card slots.

Exterior Features

Although the compact luxury SUV segment offers a variety of stylish choices, the 2012 Audi Q5 is the clear winner when it comes to innovative design. In line with Audi's current design language, the Q5 features the distinctive Singleframe grille design, clean lines and of course, Audi's infamous LED daytime running lights. The Audi Q5's perfect height and large alloy wheels create a muscular stance once reserved for sports cars. We also like the Q5's sedan-like LED taillights and unique "clamshell" power liftgate.

Driving Impressions

A satisfying balance of ride comfort and dynamic handling has traditionally required compromises on both sides of the equation, but technology continues to rewrite the rules. While the BMW X3 and Lexus RX 350 hold down the segment's extreme positions on the sport-comfort spectrum, respectively, the 2012 Audi Q5 offers a range of proficiency that approaches both ends. And that range is delivered by more than just the powertrain and suspension, but also by the outward visibility and ergonomics, and the "driving sensation" we consistently highlight when talking about European cars. The Q5 also adds a dose of customization to the driving experience when outfitted with its category-exclusive "Audi drive select" feature - highlighted in the Favorite Features section of this review.

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Audi Q5 2.0 starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $36,000 and can be optioned up close to $50,000. The V6 powered 3.2 starts just under $44,000 and can exceed the $58,000 mark when fully equipped. Comparing MSRPs strictly from a feature-based value perspective, the 2012 Q5, 2012 BMW X3 and 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 all play in or near the same ballpark, while the 2012 Lexus RX 350, 2012 Acura RDX and 2012 Cadillac SRX offer buyers some additional features for their money. From a resale value perspective, the Q5 promises to be one of the category's strongest entries.

Notable Equipment

Every 2012 Audi Q5 features plush leather seating, power front seats with 4-way lumbar support for those extended road trips, 3-zone climate control, multi-function steering wheel to help keep your eyes on the road, and a 10-speaker audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags along with electronic stability control that adjusts for a higher center of gravity when it detects the roof-rack crossbars are in place.

Notable Options

From the base price of $36,475, the 2012 Audi Q5 offers around $17,000 worth of upgrades, highlights of which include xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a handy power liftgate with memory, panorama sunroof, Audi's third-generation MMI interface and navigation system, front and rear proximity sensors, backup camera, blind spot warning, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system and a heated and cooled single cup holder. It seems odd to us that despite the Q5's mid-$30K base price, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, heated seats, auto-dimming mirrors and iPod integration are not offered as standard equipment.

Favorite Features

Audi Drive Select

At the push of a button, Q5 drivers can adjust the engine, transmission and steering characteristics to satisfy their personal preferences. Modes include Comfort, Automatic, Dynamic and Individual, which allows a custom-tailored setting on navigation-equipped models.


Audi Dynamic Steering

In a tight parking lot, you want a lot of steering assist and response. When bombing down the autobahn, you want subtle directional changes and a calm steering response. With Audi dynamic steering, the 2012 Q5 has variable assist and variable ratio, delivering the best of both worlds. The system can even provide minor steering corrections in extreme situations, reducing the need for electronic stability program intervention.

Under the Hood

The base Q5 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine shared with partner Volkswagen. Paired with a new 8-speed manually selectable Tiptronic automatic transmission, the 2.0T offers 6-cylinder performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy. Thanks to its turbocharged application, the 2.0T pumps out an additional fifteen lb-ft of torque compared to the available V6. The Q5 3.2 features a 3.2-liter V6 engine, all-wheel drive and a manually-selectable Tiptronic 6-speed. Despite the 4-cylinder's superior torque figures, the 3.2-liter V6's additional 59 horsepower helps rocket the Q5 to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds (about a half second faster than the 2.0T) and to an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. Like most of Audi's recent iterations of their quattro all-wheel-drive system, the Q5's features a 40/60 rear-biased torque split, which improves performance driving feel versus a 50/50 distribution. In case your interests are more specialized, the 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 boasts a segment-leading 4,400-pound towing capacity combined with a 440-pound tongue weight rating.


2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4

211 horsepower @ 4,300 rpm

258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg


3.2-liter V6

270 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm

243 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg

Editors' Notes

The 2009 Audi Q5 was the German automaker's first compact SUV. Coming so late to the party, the Q5 hit the ground running, offering state-of-the-art multimedia and upscale amenities one would expect from a premium SUV. The 2012 Audi Q5 is an eye-catching 5-passenger SUV that takes its styling cues from its older sibling, the Q7. While it's not the ideal SUV for large families, the Q5's sophisticated design and nimble driving characteristics ensure its place as a top contender in the highly contested luxury SUV segment.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Audi Q5 Owner Reviews

4.63
35 Reviews
69% 26% 6% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%
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Traveling with the moonroof open in my comfortable and stylish Audi Q5!!

I drive a 2012 Audi Q5. I love the size of the vehicle and how comfortable it is to ride in. I have two children and both car seats fit well and there is still room for someone to sit comfortably in the back with them. I feel very confident in the safety of my Audi. The only issues we've had is having to re-ring the pistons, a common issues with this make and model but otherwise the Q5 is in perfect condition and very easy to maintain. My favorite feature is the moon roof, great for road trips!

- Cecil H

Audi q5; fast, reliable, and safe.

I love the performance of my vehicle, it is fast, reliable, not gas guzzling, and safe. The quattro system helps keep the vehicle from sliding around on the roads and helps you to feel extra safe and in control. The inside is spacious and comfortable as well as luxurious. The moon roof really adds a wow factor when you are inside also! Only downside is how few Audi dealers are near where I live, so for any serious maintenance I have to drive an average of 2. 5 hours to the closest dealer.

- Kelsey W

Great safe and reliable car for the mountains!

This car has been very comfortable and very reliable. The inside is roomy and great for car trips. This car is all wheel drive and feels very safe driving in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Only a couple of issues that aren't ideal. One is it's a 2012 and the GPS system isn't easy to use. Also, the back seats don't have heated seats. And the last thing I would love it if I could start the car remotely so it's warm when I get in.

- Ilan P

Where? The dashboard does not correspond with the control buttons.

As a tall woman I would prefer more room in the driver's seat. I would even go add fat add saying the vehicle is simply not roomy enough to accommodate my three grandchildren, the dogs and space for the groceries. Not comfortably. Mileage is closer to good than fair. Drive is smooth and easy. More than likely would not purchase this make and/or model.

- Amy S

Sleek look and smooth to drive this vehicle.

Drives smooth, runs great. Love the interior and it is options. Nice sleek look to it with the sports package it adds a little different style. The sport model gives you the option of automatic or shifting it manually which makes it even more fun to drive. It has plenty of room for 5 passengers with a good size back for storage.

- Lori H

Luxury SUV with media and oil usage issues.

Mmi plug in is in the glove box, no capacity to upgrade media system on q5 of that year. Car goes through oil 1l every 1000 miles after 80k miles. Car runs quiet, smooth, quality interior, reliable. Base model does not come with a lot of features. Profile similar to a car but has higher ground clearance.

- Jennifer B

my 2012 Q5 is amazing. there is nothing i don't love about this car

i love my car so much iv had no problems it runs like a champ grate performance, daily driver and never worried if it wouldn't start grate reliability, love the interior really comfortable and and iv upgraded some features new sound system that has navigation Bluetooth and a few other bells and whistle .

- zac a

Comfortable and reliable vehicle

very reliable and comfortable vehicle. I enjoy driving it long distances and the leather seats are very comfortable and easy to adjust. The controls are easy to navigate. The only issue I have is that you can't play music through the Bluetooth but the phone does connect for phone calls.

- Rebecca F

More pros than cons with the Audi q5.

Vehicle is reliable - love the car's features and it is comfortable. When pulling onto the highway though, sometimes there's a hesitation then the car speeds up. Next time I need front brakes, I will not use graphite - makes the hubcaps filthy. I would recommend this car.

- Jan C

A highlight that was mentioned previously was the performance on the highway.

Great on highway, good gas mileage and great leather seats. Fun to drive and take others for a ride. It is great to take out as it impresses others as a luxury car. I feel important in it as well. I like its performance overall and all the bells and whistles are terrific.

- Lou R

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