Safe, shapely and sumptuous, the all-new Audi Q5 luxury compact crossover has that rare trifecta of good looks, good performance and a reasonable price tag.

Some cars in this popular segment have the looks and performance, but somebody’s told them so and the price reflects it. Some cars have a reasonable price tag, but maybe not the two other things.

The Q5, though, has the sporty characteristics of a sleek sedan, it can zip you to 60 miles per hour from a standstill in under six seconds, and the base Premium trim has a MSRP of $41,500. That makes it worth serious consideration in a highly-competitive segment (Premium Plus starts at $45,500 and the top end Prestige trim starts at $50,800).

With standard all-wheel drive, the Q5 is also a safe car and has been since it debuted in this country back in 2009. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2018 Q5 its top mark of “good” in every tested category except headlights (marginal), which makes it an IIHS “Top Safety Pick.”

The Q5 is powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that cranks out 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. Those are significant increases (38 horses and 15 lb.-ft.) when compared to the outgoing model. I’m constantly amazed at how automakers can tune these engines to perform optimally.

The transmission is a super-fast 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Audi drive select has five selectable modes – comfort, auto, dynamic, off-road and individual. The AWD automatically disconnects to the rear wheels when it’s not needed, which helps with fuel economy.

The Q5 is EPA-rated at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

The Q5 handles superbly and feels planted on the road. As you pick up straight-line speed, the car seems to hunker down even more. Hard cornering results in little to no body roll, and the well-bolstered seats keep your backside comfortably in place.

The five-passenger cabin of the Q5 is awash in fine materials, with standard leather trim. Quiet as a church mouse, this is a world-class cabin. The wrap-around dashboard is driver oriented, but the passengers also get some love with comfortable seats, standard three-zone automatic climate control and cool ambient lighting. Optionally, an LED lighting package offers 30 color settings. An available Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound makes the interior sound like a concert hall.

The Q5 has an available virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch display and an available full-color heads-up display. The Q5 supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a display screen at the top of the center stack. The screen is great spot that doesn’t force the driver’s eyes to wander foo far from the road.

While the base price of my test Q5 was $41,500, options can add up quickly. A special Utopia Blue Metallic paint was $575, a driver assistance (safety) package was $1,800 and natural wood inlays added $850. In south Louisiana, you could do without the $500 cold weather package and its heated rear seats and heated steering wheel.

The driver assistance package is a bargain, though, providing lots of safety technology that includes a vehicle exit assist that can warn of approaching vehicles as the doors are opened.

Other safety technologies allow the car to sense an impending collision and help prepare for impact, to apply the brakes when a potential collision is detected, or to warn of vehicles in the driver’s blind spot. The car also has adaptive cruise control with stop & go assist to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front, it can recognize speed limit signs and display the speed limit next to the vehicle speed in the heads-up system, and it can help keep itself in its own lane with gentle vibrations of the steering wheel when the vehicle gets near the painted lane edges.

2018 Audi Q5 Premium


2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder


252/273 lb.-ft.


7-speed dual clutch automatic


$41,500 ($55,500 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

23 mpg city/27 mpg highway/25 mpg combined