2017 Audi Q5 Driving Impressions

Performance stretches from perky in the four-cylinder Q5 to superlative with the sizzling SQ5. The base model gets a lot of useful energy out of its 220-horsepower engine, despite having to push more than two tons of crossover. Turbo lag isn’t evident, either. Picking the 3.0-liter V6 adds some 250 pounds, limiting the performance boost from the additional 52 horsepower.

Audi’s 8-speed automatic transmission responds well to calls for shifting, and features closely-spaced gear ratios. Standard quattro all-wheel drive helps the Q5 breeze through snow and scamper up slick driveways, helped by 8-inch ground clearance.

Carlike handling and a taut suspension yield a firm, well-controlled ride. In standard form, the suspension provides natural responses to pavement imperfections. Helped by its lighter weight, the four-cylinder Q5 excels in passing and cornering capabilities. Electric power steering limits road feel, but the Q5 stays readily on course and is pleasantly predictable.

Road noise may be noticeable in four-cylinder models, but tight body structure results in a refined road experience.

Ranking as a true performance model, the potent SQ5 is emphatically swift. Even with the adaptive suspension, however, expect some body roll during hard cornering. That’s a price to be paid for a top-heavy crossover SUV.

Fuel-efficiency is nothing to boast about. Four-cylinder models are EPA-rated at 20/27 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. The Q5’s 3.0-liter V6 is EPA-rated at 18/26 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined, while the SQ5 is estimated at 17/24 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined.

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