New engine options highlight 2013 Audi Q5

Motor Trend magazine takes a look at Audi’s flagship SUV for 2013

What better way to say “Look at me!” in the fiercely contested compact luxury crossover segment than by showing off a fancy new set of powertrains? That’s exactly what the folks at Ingolstadt are doing with the updated 2013 Audi Q5, which is coming to market with a new diesel engine, two updated gasoline engine options, and the brand’s first-ever hybrid model.

The Q5 Hybrid’s closest rival would be the Lexus RX 450h, though the RX is a half-size bigger than the Audi. The Lexus uses a 3.5-liter V-6 as its main source of propulsion, but the Audi’s hybrid equation starts instead with a four — the brand’s ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter, to be precise. In the Q5 Hybrid, it’s rated at 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Supplementing it is an electric motor good for 54 hp and 155 lb-ft that’s powered by a 1.3 kW-hr lithium-ion battery.

New engines highlight 2013 Audi Q5

Audi’s quattro all wheel drive┬ásystem is standard, which means its eight-speed automatic always ┬ásends power to all four wheels. The Q5 hybrid’s claimed 0-62 mph time is 7.1 seconds, and its top speed is said to be 140 mph. Combined fuel economy is estimated at 34 mpg. Audi claims the hybrid can travel just under two miles at up to 37 mph in all-electric (EV) mode. Rounding off the three modes are D (normal hybrid operation) and S (sport).

Though Audi is finally dipping its toe in hybrid waters, diesels have always been one of the brand’s core strengths, and starting next year, an oil-burning Q5 will finally arrive stateside. Europeans will get their choice among three diesels, but only the 3.0-liter V-6 TDI will make it to the American market. That engine is rated at 245 hp and 428 lb-ft and should achieve an estimated 37 mpg combined with a 0-62 mph time of around 6.5 seconds.

Updates to the 2013 Q5’s gasoline engines start with a massage for its 2.0-liter turbo-four, which now puts out 225 hp and 258 lb-ft compared with the current engine’s 211 hp and 258 lb-ft. As expected, the 3.2-liter V-6 is going away. Coming to take its place is Audi’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 272 hp and 295 lb-ft. According to Audi, when fitted with this engine, the Q5 hits 62 mph in around 5.9 seconds and nets 27 mpg combined. Thanks to the boost in torque and its improved efficiency over the outgoing 3.2, the supercharged six is now a more compelling upgrade.

New engines highlight 2013 Audi Q5

We’ve always considered the Q5’s chassis to be nicely balanced and lively, and Audi has left the suspension untouched with this refresh, but it did add a new electric power steering system in an effort to further improve road feel.

Cosmetic changes were also kept to a minimum. The front fascia now sports a slightly revised grille, and the headlights feature newly designed LED daytime running lamps. Four new paint colors and new wheel designs complete the exterior changes. Inside, Audi has refreshed the steering wheel, HVAC knobs, infotainment system, and the Audi drive select system. The S line sport package remains available and includes a sport suspension, exclusive 19-inch wheels, sport seats, and a number of interior changes.

Customers will also be able to choose from a long list of high-tech options including a Bang & Olufsen sound system, MMI navigation plus, and a new smartphone app that supports streaming Internet radio stations.

Gasoline and hybrid versions of the 2013 Q5 are set to arrive in Audi dealers this fall, with the diesel scheduled to go on sale sometime next year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but expect it to start somewhere in the $37,000 range, right around where the present base model starts.

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