What's New for 2013
For 2013 the Audi Q5 gains a couple of new underhood options in the form of a supercharged V6 and the brand's first hybrid. This year also brings a mild style refresh outside, with slightly revised lights front and rear and a more angular grille. Inside, there are simplified controls for the climate controls and MMI interface.
Compromise is usually a sad reality. Oftentimes we have to trade away some of one thing to get more of another. In an SUV those opposing forces are typically performance and practicality. Or more to the point -- spirited acceleration and good fuel economy. But the 2013 Audi Q5 manages to defy that convention, providing both attributes with its trio of muscular yet miserly engine options. Whether you opt for the base turbocharged four-cylinder, the new supercharged V6 or the new hybrid, there's plenty of pickup along with frugal fuel mileage -- up to 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with the hybrid.
The Q5 benefits from its A4 sport sedan-based platform by providing relatively athletic handling and an enjoyable drive. That quality, along with the aforementioned energetic engines, makes the Audi Q5 one of the most engaging SUVs on the market. Another key attribute for the sensibly sized 2013 Audi Q5 is its ample cabin and cargo space that optimize both comfort and utility. Throw in one of the nicest interiors in its class and it's easy to see why the Q5 has such a broad appeal, being a favorite pick for active singletons and small families alike.
Naturally, there are other choices for a small luxury crossover SUV. Among the competition, the 2013 Volvo XC60 provides an even roomier interior and a few more family-friendly features. If performance is paramount, the 2013 BMW X3 largely matches the Q5 in terms of performance and handling. And if style is your thing, Land Rover's 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 2013 Q5.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Audi Q5 is a compact luxury crossover available in five trim levels: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige and Hybrid Prestige.
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 Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD 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 liftgate, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors and an auto-dimming interior mirror. Nineteen-inch wheels are optional.
The 3.0T Premium Plus adds a supercharged V6 engine, 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry and S line exterior trim. The top-shelf 3.0T 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, rear park assist with rearview camera, HD radio and center-console-mounted MMI system).
The 3.0T Prestige can also be equipped with the Driver Assist package, which includes Audi Drive Select (four settings alter throttle response, transmission shift points and steering assist), adaptive cruise control and dynamic steering. Also available is the Comfort package (upgraded leather seating, additional leather cabin trim, ventilated front seats and power passenger lumbar adjustment). Both 3.0T models can be equipped with 20-inch wheels and the S line package, which adds different 20-inch wheels, performance tires, adaptive suspension, Audi Drive Select, a sport steering wheel, shift paddles and brushed aluminum trim. A rear seat entertainment system is also available.
The Hybrid Prestige includes all the features of the 2.0T Premium Plus as well as 19-inch wheels, adaptive lighting, a blind-spot warning system, keyless ignition/entry, the Bang & Olufsen sound system, the heated/cooled cupholder, rear door sunshades and the Audi MMI Navigation Plus package.
Many of the upper trims' features are available on the lower trims as options.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 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/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. In 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 3.0T gets a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 272 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic is standard, as is an automatic stop-start system that saves fuel by shutting off the engine when the car comes to a halt. In Edmunds testing, the 3.0T engine brought the Q5 from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds, a very quick time for this class of vehicle. Fuel economy estimates stand at 18/26/21.
The Q5 Hybrid pairs the 2.0T's engine with an electric motor and battery pack to provide a total output of 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Audi estimates its 0-60 time at 6.8 seconds, while EPA fuel mileage estimates stand at 24/30/26.
Towing capacity with the 3.0T is above average, with a 4,400-pound rating when properly equipped.
Standard safety equipment for the 2013 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 3.0T Prestige and Hybrid.
In Edmunds braking testing, the Q5 2.0T came to a stop in 119 feet, a strong, competitive result. Yet a 3.0T with the Prestige package stopped in 109 feet, which is very impressive for any vehicle with all-season tires.
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.
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 MMI system with revised menus, enhanced Google Maps satellite imagery 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.
Regardless of which powertrain you choose, the 2013 Audi Q5 delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, and the eight-speed automatic is also refined and responsive. Outside the Q5 line, both the 2.0T and 3.0T engines match their respective rivals in terms of acceleration and fuel economy. The 3.0T's automatic stop-start system also helps efficiency, but it doesn't keep the engine off very long at traffic lights. Such random refiring can get annoying.
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 2013 Q5 is one of the sportiest crossovers on the market. The steering is quick and responsive, but it has a rather artificial feel. We would skip the optional Audi Drive Select system, as it's pricey and doesn't really offer much benefit. The car's standard setup is just fine.