Based on Audi's A4/A5 modular MLP platform, the Q5 aims to link SUV and sports sedan capabilities, having a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission option and adaptive dynamics. It has a wheelbase, at 2807 mm (110.5 in), almost exactly that of the A4 but longer than the 2751 mm (108.3 in) of the A5 coupe.
The Q5 also offers a similar engine choice of gasoline direction injection and TDI diesels with common rail and piezo technology. The engines include the company's new 2.0-L TFSI gasoline unit—with Audi valvelift technology (using electromagnetic actuators for optimum valvelift)—producing 155 kW (208 hp). Engines are installed longitudinally. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard.
The most powerful TDI model is the updated 3.0 L with 177 kW (237 hp) and 500 N·m (369 lb·ft) from 1500 to 3000 rpm. When mated with an S tronic double clutch transmission, the engine gives the Ingolstadt-built Q5 a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph) and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 6.5 s. CO2 emissions are 199 g/km, and combined-cycle fuel consumption is 7.5 L/100 km. Use of the seven-speed S tronic marks a production debut for the new longitudinally positioned engine-compatible version of the gearbox.
Unladen weight of the TDI is 1865 kg (4112 lb), though smaller engined, lower spec Q5s weigh from 1730 kg (3814 lb). The Q5's Cd is 0.33. Audi uses an aluminum hood and tailgate for the Q5, plus extensive use of the material for the suspension, which includes a five-link setup at the front and trapezoidal link at the back. The quattro system provides 40/60 front-to-rear power distribution in normal driving conditions but can provide 65% to the front and 85% to the rear to meet specific conditions.
Audi’s "drive select" is an option for fine-tuning the car’s dynamic characteristics, including suspension settings, steering behavior, throttle response, and transmission shift points (if S tronic is specified). The system can be switched to meet driver preferences and changing road conditions.
The Q5 has a specially developed off-road version of Audi’s regular ESP system. It has been configured to maximize traction off-road during which its integral ABS automatically "recognizes" the constituency of the driving surface and selects the ideal strategy for sand, gravel, or loose rocks. Hill descent control is fitted and regulates speed to 14.5 km/h (9 mph). The system incorporates a roof-rack sensor that communicates with the ESP any change in the center of gravity.
For off-roading, the Q5 has a slope angle at the front of more than 25° and a 14.6° ramp angle. Wading depth is 500 mm (19.7 in), ground clearance is 200 mm (7.9 in), maximum gradient is 31°, and trailed load is 2400 kg (5290 lb).
The Q5’s differential is placed ahead of the clutch to facilitate front axle repositioning to provide for the long wheelbase and added cabin space. The Q5 is a five-seater with luggage space of 540 L (19.1 ft³) with the rear seats in place, 1560 L (55.1 ft³) with them folded. Luggage versatility can be increased with the inclusion in the specification of "rear bench seat plus," which allows the seats to be slid forward 100 mm (3.9 in). A rail mounting kit is fitted for securing luggage.
Audi’s background in all-terrain vehicles stretches back 50 years to the start of production of the MUNGA (Mehrzweck Universal Gelandewagen mit Allrad Antrieb) from DKW, one of the companies that made up the modern Audi company. It was built until 1968 and used by the German army.