Quick: Think of a good way to boost sales of an already popular, albeit quite expensive, crossover.
Got one? Good. Because for 2011, Audi brought two big ideas to the 2011 Audi Q5: The first one was lowering the price. At $42,500, the Q5 wasn't necessarily overpriced, but it also wasn't cheap. The second task was to improve fuel economy. It's not that people buying luxury crossovers are hurting in the wallet, but whenever you can claim green benefits in a luxury car, that's good.
To do this, Audi did the sensible thing. It dumped the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 and eight-speed automatic transmission it had lying around from virtually all of its other vehicles into the Q5. The 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T gets some minor de-contenting with 18-inch wheels standard instead of 19s and no headlight washers, xenon lights or power liftgate (available on the 2.0T Premium) in exchange for its $7,300 price discount.
At $35,200, the 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T steps almost into the bargain luxury category and with EPA estimates of 20 mpg city and 27 highway, it's greener, too.
But with 211 horsepower from the turbo 2.0, is the trade down from 270 worth it? Follow the jump as we put the 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T on the track.
Vehicle: 2011 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro Premium
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $35,200 (base price)
Drive Type: All-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Eight-speed automatic
Engine Type: Direct-injection turbocharged Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,984/121.1
Redline (rpm): 6,750
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 211 @ 4,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 258 @ 1,500
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.8-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion
Suspension Type (front): Independent multilink
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink
Tire Size (front): 235/60R18 103H M+S
Tire Size (rear): 235/60R18 103H M+S
Tire Brand: Dunlop
Tire Model: Grand Trek Touring A/S
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel size: 18-by-8 inches front and rear
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,080
0-30 (sec): 2.5 (2.9 TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.3 (5.0 TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.8 (7.6 TC on)
0-75 (sec): 10.2 (11.2 TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.1 @ 90.0 ( 15.6 @ 88.8 TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.5 (7.2 TC on)
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 119
Slalom (mph): 62.6 "Off" (62.3 TC dynamic)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.83 (both)
Db @ Idle: 43.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.3
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 61.7
Acceleration: Wide range of acceleration depending on technique and transmission selections. Slowest = drive with traction control on. Fastest = manual gate (auto upshift) with traction control off where both the launch (with brake torque) and upshifts (MUCH harsher) occurred closer to redline. Some turbo lag (or AWD sorting) below 2,500 rpm, then a sudden rush of torque thereafter. No matched-rev downshifts.
Braking: Firm pedal, light dive, shallow jump-in. Tires were louder than expected, with noticeable howl. Arrow straight with little fade.
Handling: Skid pad: Ever-so-slight throttle and brake intervention regardless of ESC setting. Steering is not very talkative and rather springy. Plenty of grip despite non-defeat ESC. Easy to keep on line without steering or throttle input. Slalom: Steering is initially heavy on turn-in, good response, then gets numb and remains precise and responsive. Plenty of grip and quite a large g-load prior to non-defeat ESC dabbing brakes to minimize understeer and quell abrupt steering input. Smoothness is key to a clean run. Neutral up to the point where understeer and ESC intrude.