2009 Audi Q5 Overview

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2009 Audi Q5 Overview

Audi seems to think SUVs are the hot ticket, for in addition to the Q7, the first quarter of 2009 will find the Q5 in their U.S. dealerships. This midsize SUV aims directly at the BMW X3, the Infiniti EX35, the Mercedes-Benz GLK, the Lexus RX 350, and others of its ilk.

With its 110.6-inch wheelbase, the Q5 is longer (by half an inch) than the BMW X3; it's also lower, with a stylish coupe-like roofline that contributes to an impressively low drag coefficient of 0.33. Inside there are only two rows of seating for five, but that extra length provides more seating room and cargo capacity: 19 cubic feet with the seats up and 55 with rear seats folded flat.

Motivation is provided by a 3.2-liter direct-injected V6 that spins its 265 hp through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission for a 0-60 jump in 6.8 seconds. The power flows to the latest version of Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive. Its 40/60 rear-biased torque split distributes drive power asymmetrically and dynamically among all four wheels. 18-inch wheels are standard, with 20-inchers optional.

Although the Q5 is primarily a road vehicle, Audi says that with almost 7.9 inches of ground clearance, it can handle water up to 19.7 inches deep and climb 31-degree slopes, with a break-over angle of 17.5 degrees.

Audi builds the Q5 with extensive use of high- and ultra-high-strength steel. In addition, the hood, tailgate, and much of the suspension are fabricated from aluminum to lower weight and improve handling. The Q5 shares the same architecture as Audi's A4 sedans and wagons and A5 coupes. The Q5's low rear cargo floor results from the use of a compact trapezoidal-link rear suspension.

The interior reflects Audi's reputation for exemplary ergonomics and craftsmanship. The cockpit incorporates aluminum, exclusive woods, chrome, leather, and Alcantara in tasteful integration. According to Audi, the Q5 is the first Audi to offer its third-generation MMI operating system. This optional hard-disk-based navigation system uses a high-resolution monitor with new three-dimensional maps; the system can also save MP3 music files.

With the Q5, Audi's electronic innovation reaches the roof rack. It has built-in sensors that communicate with the electronic stability control system to automatically adjust its parameters according to the change in the Q5's center of gravity as you pile more stuff on the roof.

Naturally, with Audi there is an extensive list of options to further personalize the Q5. And if it's still too much of an SUV, just wait, the Q3 is on the horizon, and there's rumor of a Q1. Some reviewers wonder if Audi buys gas at the same places we do.

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