First unveiled at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show, the Audi Q5 SUV hit the roads in the U.S.A in 2009. The luxury compact crossover has been one of the most famous and best-selling models in the Audi lineup for good reasons; it offers a perfect blend of performance, comfort, tech, and fuel economy.

Thanks to the continuous evolution of this compact SUV, its sales and success improved every single year. According to critics, since the 2009 Q5 was the first model year and one of the top options accessible at that time, it got first place on our list of the best Audi Q5 model years. 

Best Audi Q5 Model Years of All Time

2009 Audi Q5

2009 Audi q5
2009 Audi Q5

Created as a little sibling of the Q7 – the automaker`s first utility vehicle unveiled in 2006 – the Q5 attracted American buyers seeking a crossover with the fuel efficiency of a sedan and power output of an SUV.

The 2009 Q5 impressed the owners and critics with its rigid, athletic handling, smooth & comfortable ride, and posh five-seat cabin. While the fuel efficiency was average in its segment, the crash trial rankings were impressive.

Audi offered just one engine option for the Q5; a 270-horsepower V6 mating to a standard Quattro all-wheel drive, offering adequate power and superb traction & stability. The higher grades came with Audi Drive Select, permitting drivers to alter drivetrain and suspension settings according to their preferred drive mode.

Thanks to the continuous evolution of this compact SUV, its sales and success improved every single year.

The EPA-estimated fuel efficiency rating of 18/23 mpg city/highway wasn`t bad in the segment; nor was its 57.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

2011 Audi Q5

2011 Audi Q5
2011 Audi Q5

The automotive journalists called this model year one of the most accomplished luxury SUVs on the market, thanks to its new fuel-efficient 2.0-litre base engine, balanced, sporty handling, and cosy ride.

The new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 211-horsepower and offers one of the best-in-class fuel economy figures at 20/27 mpg city/highway. While the turbo four is adequate for everyday commutes, those looking for extra power could still get the old 3.2-litre V6 generating 270 horsepower with an estimated 18/23 mpg city/highway rating.

On the inside, the 2011 Q5 receives a well-built and well-equipped cabin with comfortable seats, sliding rear seats, and up to 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space; with back seats folded.

The typical facilities include leather upholstery, tri-zone climate control, Audi`s Multi-Media Interface infotainment system, and satellite radio. For Bluetooth, a panoramic sunroof, a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker stereo, and a backup camera, you need to get the Q5 with one of the optional packages.

2013 Audi Q5

2013 Audi Q5
2013 Audi Q5

The 2013 Q5 was the best-selling model of its time, courtesy of mild exterior and interior changes, a new supercharged V6 engine, and the first hybrid powertrain for the posh SUV. The exterior changes included a more angled front grille and new headlights, while the interior got more color and upholstery options.

Accessible in five trim levels in the U.S., the entry-level 2.0T Premium came with the previous 2.0-litre turbocharged mill pumping out 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque pairing with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway was slightly better than the previous models.

While the base turbo is good enough for daily driving, those seeking more spirited acceleration could go for the new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 churning out 272 horsepower. If you prefer fuel economy over power, the ideal choice is Audi`s First hybrid powertrain consisting of the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, a lithium-ion battery, and an electric motor, generating 245-hp combined. With an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway and all-wheel-drive, this is the Q5 for environment-conscious luxury SUV buyers.

The base 2013 Q5 features tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The more expensive trims get xenon headlights, a power tailgate, a sunroof, heated front seats, navigation, an upgraded audio system, HD Radio, and Bluetooth.

2014 Audi Q5

2014 Audi Q5
2014 Audi Q5

Audi beefed up the appeal of Q5 in 2014 with the addition of new diesel and SQ5 models, more power for the base engine (9 hp extra than the previous), and standard Bluetooth integration. It still had the luxury interior, enjoyable driving dynamics, and standard all-wheel drive.

While the new turbodiesel 3.0-litre V6 generates 240 horsepower, the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine for the SQ5 yields a mighty 354 horsepower with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.

Regarding the fuel economy, the 24/31 mpg city/highway is the best you could achieve on the 3.0TDI engine; which is on par with the Hybrid variant.

The standard amenities encompass leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod integration, tri-zone automatic climate control, and Audi`s MMI infotainment interface. On the other hand, a Bang & Olufsen stereo and a panoramic moonroof are optional.

Although the adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and a blind spot monitoring system are optional for the 2014 Q5, it secured the top spot in all the four collision tests organised by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2018 Audi Q5

2018 Audi Q5

While you don`t find many noteworthy additions to the Q5 from 2015 to 2017, the 2018 model year blows your mind. The German automaker fully redesigned this luxury SUV, offering a wide range of tech and driver assistance features, spacious seating in both rows, a first-class cabin, a user-friendly infotainment system, poised handling, and a comfortable ride.

Accessible in five variants – Premium, Premium Plus, Prestige, SQ5 Premium Plus, and SQ5 Prestige – the first three here come equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine generating 252 horsepower. The SQ5 variants get a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 354 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive and seven-speed automatic transmission are standard; while the eight-speed automatic is optional.

The fuel economy rating of 23/27 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder mill and 19/24 mpg city/highway for the V6 are above-average in the segment.

The entry-level Premium boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview camera, a 7-inch display, a 10-speaker sound system, HD Radio, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, 2 USB ports, push-button ignition, a power liftgate, 3-zone automatic climate control, Audi Pre Sense Basic, and Audi Pre Sense City.

With every step up the trim ladder, the amenities get better and better. The Premium Plus adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, a hands-free power liftgate, satellite radio, Vehicle Exit Assist, and Audi Connect Care.

On the other hand, the Prestige comes with a navigation system and handwriting recognition, a 19-speaker sound system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, an 8.3-inch infotainment display, a head-up display, a top-view camera system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and Audi Connect Prime with Google Earth and internet radio facility.

Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2018 SQ5 with top safety scores. The IIHS honored the SUV with a Top Safety Pick, while NHTSA gave it five stars.

2020 Audi Q5

2020 Audi Q5
2020 Audi Q5

While the biggest highlight of the 2019 Q5 was standard heated front seats, a 7-inch digital driver display in the gauge cluster, and a new SQ5 Premium variant, the 2020 Q5 received a plug-in hybrid model for the first time. The rest of the package remains the same, featuring engaging handling, a smooth ride, a luxurious and roomy interior, and intuitive infotainment tech.

For 2020, the buyers had a choice of three models – Q5, SQ5, and Q5 Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) – each accessible in three trim levels – Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The powertrain options included:

  • Base engine: Turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, generating 248-horsepower
  • Available powertrains:
    • Twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, creating 349-horsepower
    • Turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder mill assisted by an electric motor, producing a combined output of 362 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: Quattroall-wheel drive
  • Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for the base engine and hybrid; eight-speed automatic for V6

With an all-electric range of just 20 miles, the PHEV was most fuel-efficient at 65 MPG-equivalent combined city/highway while using electric power and 27 mpg combined city/highway with petrol.

We believe the base Q5 is an excellent choice for most buyers since it comes equipped with almost all the desirable standard features; we are talking about a 7-inch display, a 10-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice command, and HD Radio.

Furthermore, the entry-level model gets leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, and a rear-view camera. The base Q5 PHEV also boasts Audi`s Virtual Cockpit, navigation, satellite radio, and an 8.3-inch infotainment display.

The 2020 Q5 received the same safety ratings from the IIHS and the NHTSA as secured by the 2018 Q5 along with Audi Pre Sense Basic and Audi Pre Sense City. There is a very long list of available driver assistance features (standard on top trims), giving you peace of mind. These include:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Lane keep assist
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Head-up display
  • A surround-view parking camera system
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Vehicle exit warning

2021 Audi Q5

2021 Audi Q5
2021 Audi Q5

To make the Q5 more competitive in the luxury compact SUV segment, Audi introduced a number of changes for the 2021 model year; the automaker enhanced its exterior styling, increased the power output of the base engine by 13hp, and added facilities like a 10.1-inch touch screen to the already-impressive features list. Moreover, Audi introduced the Sportback body style for the Q5 and SQ5.

With the new additions, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 10.1-inch touch screen, 2 USB ports, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, HD Radio, a 10-speaker stereo, and wireless device charging becoming a part of the standard infotainment package.

On the other hand, Audi`s Virtual Cockpit; a 12.3-inch digital driver display, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, satellite radio, and navigation are elective, along with the proximity keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof.

Other standard amenities contain tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather seats, and a power liftgate.

While the rest of the powertrains remain the same, the base 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine now churns out 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque with an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The 2021 Audi Q5 earned a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – the highest safety rating from the organisation. The standard advanced safety attributes comprise Audi Pre Sense City, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera, and Audi Side Assist. Optional features are the head-up display, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control, and surround-view parking camera system.

What’s the Best Audi Q5 Model?

Buying a luxury car is a big decision, so think carefully about your budget, needs and wants. Compare specifications including engine power, luggage space and safety features. If you’re unsure about which Q5 model is for you, consider renting one for the day to see if you like it.

Information and advice in this article is general in nature and current at the time of publication, and no warranty is offered as to its accuracy or completeness.

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