2012 Audi Q5 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Audi Q5 SUV

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Audi Q5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.2 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 270 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Audi Q5

  • You can really have it all with the 2012 Audi Q5. From exciting performance to excellent comfort and convenience, this crossover has broad appeal.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Top-notch interior craftsmanship; class-leading fuel economy; top crash scores; roomy backseat; sporty handling.

  • Cons

    Below-average cargo capacity; unintuitive control layout without navigation; artificial steering feel.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Audi Q5 returns essentially unchanged from last year.

Full 2012 Audi Q5 Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Audi Q5 returns essentially unchanged from last year.


In most cases, compromise means settling on a middle-of-the-road choice that neither side considers attractive. In the automotive world, this usually means performance is traded away to gain economy and practicality, and vice versa. But there are exceptions to the rule, and one of them is the 2012 Audi Q5.

Based on Audi's A4 sedan, the Q5 inherits much of its smaller stablemate's entertaining driving dynamics. With confident handling and a choice of two responsive engines, the Q5 represents one of the most engaging SUVs on the market. But performance does not come at the expense of fuel economy, as the turbocharged four-cylinder engine returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in combined driving, while the V6 offers up a still commendable 20 mpg. Given that the four-cylinder is just as quick as the V6, we see little need to pay extra money for extra cylinders, though.

On top of performance and economy, the 2012 Audi Q5's larger proportions also deliver a decent amount of comfort and utility. With plenty of passenger space and an accommodating cargo hold, this compact crossover broadens its family-friendly appeal. On top of it all, the Q5 comes with one of the nicest interiors in its class, with all of the available features typical of the luxury segment.

Naturally, there are other choices for a small luxury crossover SUV. Among the competition, the Volvo XC60 provides a roomier interior and a few more family-friendly features. If performance is high on your wish list, the BMW X3 tops the Q5 with its available 300-horsepower engine. And if style is your thing, Land Rover's new Range Rover Evoque is the most dynamic looking of the bunch. But for an all-around small luxury crossover that does everything well, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than the 2012 Q5.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover available in four trim levels: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.2 Premium Plus and 3.2 Prestige. The numbers refer to engine displacement.

Standard equipment on the 2.0T Premium includes 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, roof rails, eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, a sliding and reclining 40/20/40 rear seat, a dash-mounted Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. Options on the Premium include a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. These items are included on the 2.0T Premium Plus, which also gets xenon headlights, LED running lights, a power tailgate, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors and an auto-dimming interior mirror. Nineteen-inch wheels are optional.

The 3.2 Premium Plus adds a V6 engine, 19-inch wheels, headlight washers, keyless ignition/entry and S line exterior trim. The top-shelf 3.2 Prestige adds adaptive headlights, a blind-spot warning system, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, a heated/cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Audi MMI Navigation Plus package (navigation system, digital music storage, voice controls, rearview camera, HD radio, CD/DVD player and center-console-mounted MMI system).

The 3.2 Prestige can also be equipped with Audi Drive Select (four settings alter throttle response, transmission shift points and steering assist), adaptive cruise control and the Luxury package (ventilated front seats and upgraded leather). Both 3.2 models can be equipped with 20-inch wheels and the S line package, which adds different 20-inch wheels, performance tires, a sport steering wheel, shift paddles and brushed aluminum trim.

All but the 2.0T Premium can be equipped with the MMI Navigation Plus package and the Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T comes standard with all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine good for 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. In recent Edmunds testing, a Q5 2.0T accelerated to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, a performance on par with the Audi's peers.

The Audi Q5 3.2 gets a 3.2-liter V6 that produces 270 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. Surprisingly, the Q5 3.2 took just a little longer to reach 60 mph than the 2.0T, registering a 7.0-second run. Estimated fuel economy stands at 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined, which is tops among similarly powered all-wheel-drive crossovers. Towing capacity with the 3.2 is above average, with a 4,400-pound rating when properly equipped.


Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Audi Q5 includes stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional on all models, while a blind-spot warning system is standard on the 3.2 Prestige.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Q5 was awarded the highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. In Edmunds braking testing, the Q5 3.2 came to a stop in 112 feet, while the 2.0T turned in a 119-foot distance. Both are strong, competitive results.

Interior Design and Special Features

As we've come to expect from all Audi models, the Q5 benefits from classy interior design and top-notch construction.

The center stack controls are canted toward the driver, although the layout depends on whether or not you opt for the navigation system. Without navigation, the knob and buttons for the MMI system reside somewhat inconveniently on the center stack. With navigation, the controls are placed between the armrest and shift lever, where they fall more readily to hand. Navigation-equipped models also get the latest, third-generation MMI system with revised menus and an additional joystick button for enhanced control.

Despite its compact size, the Q5 manages to feel roomy whether you're seated in the front or rear. The rear seats slide fore and aft, which is a rarity in this segment of luxury crossovers, and the seats also recline for greater comfort. Folding the rear seats down creates 57 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, which is a little below average for this segment.

Driving Impressions

Whether you opt for the 2.0T or 3.2 engines, the 2012 Audi Q5 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the six-speed automatic is also refined and responsive. Given that the 2.0T is more fuel efficient and was actually quicker in our testing, it's hard to make a case for the V6. Outside the Q5 line, the 2.0T engine also matches European rivals like the GLK350 and XC60 T6 in terms of acceleration, though the BMW X3 xDrive35i and Infiniti EX35 have more punch.

The Q5's ride quality is firmer than the norm for this class of vehicle, but we've never found it to be harsh. In terms of handling, the 2012 Q5 is one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. One downside, though, is that the electric power steering has both a consistently artificial feel and an odd tendency to weight up suddenly at low speeds. We would skip the optional Audi Drive Select system, as it's pricey and complicated; the car's standard setup is just fine.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2.0 l is plenty fast

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium quattro 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

Very satisfied with our 2012 Q5. I would recommend the smaller engine to anyone. Very quick and plenty fast. Great gas mileage. The 8-speed must help that. My only grip about the engine is sound at idle when you are outside. It is only a sputter that comes out of the exhaust.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Nice car - horrible service

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Premium Plus quattro 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A)

Audi service is horrible. I bought new a Q7 TDI and a Q5 for my wife. First the Audi dealer overfills the oil in the Q7 causing all kinds of problems and would not fix them because the car was just out of warranty. Then my coolant in the Q5 starts leaking all over the garage and they say it won’t be fixed under warranty because the leak could be caused from an “outside influence”. I called Audi America who says “sorry” nothing we can do…. I am going to relay my terrible experience on every blog I can find. Such a shame as I really loved the Q7 and thought I could get more than 70k miles out of it. FYI- Criswell in Annapolis was the dealer.

34 of 69 people found this review helpful

Lovely vehicle but far too

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Premium Plus quattro 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A)

We've owned a Premium Plus (3.2) Q5 for around four months and have driven it extensively in city and on highway. It's a fine vehicle, very comfortable, and has plenty of power. However, there are many small issues with the car that really boggle the mind at the $50k-ish price. 1. The multimedia system is, frankly, awful. It's design that feels a decade old, the control dial scrolls things the opposite way from other consumer devices (eg iPod), and the menu system is convoluted. 2. The GPS is completely useless. The maps provided with the car are at least 4-5 years old and the routing is poor. 3. The gas cap cover has broken already, 4 months in. Flimsy construction.

3 of 26 people found this review helpful

Audi the best

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Premium Plus quattro 4dr SUV AWD (3.2L 6cyl 6A)

Audi Q5 2012 my first and last suv. great to drive quiet, fun great handling, suspension, steering and trans, can be adjusted to your taste, all in all its the best

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

Rear hazards of the car

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium quattro 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

Overall, great car. However, I would alert families to that the 2 tailpipes are nice looking but extend too far out from the car. I have a crescent shaped burn on my shin when I let the dog out of the back. Three small boys eating a snack off the back nearly missed being burned by these pipes. Since these events, I've noticed that most car makers do a better job of hiding the tail pipe under the bumper. Also, rear door does not stop quickly enough and for small objects in it's line of descent to a closed position. My son who is only 9 had it push down on him. If you can't get bags, body parts or dog paws out of the way in time, it could dangerous.

57 of 64 people found this review helpful

2012 q5 @ 20k miles

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Vehicle: 2012 Audi Q5 2.0T Premium quattro 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)

We just passed 20k miles on a 2012 2.0T Premium Plus; and just passed the 1 year anniversary of buying this vehicle. Overall this has been a great crossover SUV. Made it through the Chicago Winter and I found myself driving it more than my 2010 4Runner with 4WD. The AWD is great in the snow and on icy roads. The front seats offer a lot of room, and at 6'3" AND 250 lbs.....I fit in this car just fine. Plenty of head room. More head room than most full size SUVs. The back section doesn't offer as much storage space as a full size SUV, but the back seats to fold (almost) flat to make a pretty good sized cargo space. If you need to haul a lot on a long trip, the integrated roof rails

Talk About The 2012 Q5

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Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
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Identifix Reliability Ratings

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