I have access to drive a few 2012 models cars, including my own 2012 Mazda CX7 luxury sports, Renault Megane Sport RS 250 and a couple of friends/ family who own some new cars.
One of them is my brother in law, who owns the 2012 Audi Q5, 2.0 TDI.
Optional packs he has added:
1. Navigation Pack
2. S Line Exterior (20" inch alloys and other shiny bits and pieces)
3. Vision Package (xenon headlights)
4. Media Package (Bluetooth, 16 speaker Harman Kardon system)
Before my rant, I'd like to layout the way I have rated this vehicle. We drove both, the Mazda CX7 and the Q5 from Sydney to Melbourne over the long weekend and back again a few days later. We switched cars along the way multiple times and so I've got some solid experience driving the vehicle.
Lets start with the interior:
Audi's interior design team have done an amazing job with this driver centric lay out. Everything is easily reachable and you dont need to ever touch the handbook to figure out how to get something done.
The centre console screen tells you everything you need to know. This particular Q5 had the navigation pack, hence, the centre console has the 'selector' switch that you turn to pick which ever function you want to access.
The navigation/media pack is very nifty and performs most tasks very quickly. I love that you can plug a USB/SD card into the slot with media in it, and you can have complete folder and file level access with full folder and file names visible on the screen.
The screen also plays DVD/MPEG video, and the 6 CD changer plays DVDs as well (albeit, only when the vehicle is stationary, but audio from the DVD will continue when the vehicle is moving)
The controls on the steering wheel are easy to understand and access, and you hardly ever have to take your eyes off the road.
Blind spot monitoring is included in this vehicle and I found it helpful sometimes, but mostly pretty useless. What I did find very useful was 360 degree (front/side/back) parking sensors, these would engage even while you were driving and would sound off if you were too close to an object in all directions (it can be turned off if you find it annoying).
Everything media and interior related can be controlled, right down to the volume of the turn signal and the average temperature inside the car, to how far you want your parking sensors to pick up objects, this level of control is excellent for people who have a need to be different from the rest :)
If Apple made cars, they would be called Audi....period.
Some of Apple's design team reside in the Audi design building and have custom built the bluetooth and integration system between Apple products and the Audi media system. This integration level is almost perfect, to the point that sometimes I wish this car could transform into my Macbook pro and perfectly sync with my iphone, without a glitch....ever!..but dreams are free.
Rear seat passengers find the space slightly cramped, i sat the in back for an hour and started to feel a little uncomfortable, but i'm 6 feet 3. I did find that there was ample head room in the back, so no issues there. Also having climate control for the rear seat is pretty handy on long hot trips.
Now for the outside:
Let's start with the engine:
The 2.0 TDI's four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel pumps out 125kW of power at 4200rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1750 to 2500rpm. Audi claim this engine is good for a combined-cycle (city and highway) consumption of 6.8L/100km.
According to Audi, the 2.0 TDI diesel's fuel efficiency, and the 75-litre fuel tank is better than anything in its class.
In terms of fuel efficiency, this car was good....1220Kms (highway/inner melbourne city) on ONE TANK of diesel (75 litres) with just under a quarter tank to spare.
Good pick up at the lights, but poor mid range performance. In the city you'll find you dont have as much kick as the other SUVs in its class do, but it is economical.
It's loud outside, but next to silent inside when the windows are up.
I find in the city, turn distance is very important and the Q5, being a mid range softroader has a short turn cycle and is easy to manoeuvre around.
I gave it a bit of throttle around corners and straights and it handles very well and sticks to the road. The ride is slightly firmer and it adapts quickly to your driving style.
It gives you the high ride height of an SUV with the handling ability of a 4WD car, minus the power.
I did find a slight oversteer at some points but most people wouldnt notice this.
My brother in law drove over a nail and had a flat tyre half way through, we got the Audi roadside to come help. Replacing the standard tyre could cost as much as $450 for the ONE tyre, not including rotation and labour/fitting, a total of about $700, due to the fact that they are specific Bridgestone tyres for the Q5 S Line exterior package wheel set.
Also found that there is no set price service guarantee, and have been told even something as simple as a Navigation Map Upgrade (happens every 2 years or so) could cost as much as $1500.
But when you buy an Audi, you buy into an exclusive marque and you are showing your status. For just under $100K you are getting a well spec'd european designed softroader that can be respectable, elegant and beautiful on nights when you attend your Black Tie fundraising dinner galas, and yet look ready to gobble up gravel on weekends when you're hitting the mountain ranges.
On a side note:
Guys, the girls love anything Audi, and they love this vehicle, especially in black.
The problem is, I see about 60 of these on the streets of sydney every hour on every street!...(not as exclusive as you want it to be).
Overall a tight package.