Classy, comfy and coming very soon
The Q5 is Audi’s best-selling vehicle, from right across its range. Kudos then that the company has significantly revamped the SUV, mixed with understanding, then, that it has been careful to ensure the new lines look similar to the old one.
It’s eight years since the launch of this mid-sized SUV so you’d expect there to be some changes. And you’d expect it to be lighter and hence more frugal. And it is. It may have been a big seller, but competitors have been moving forward too, with vehicles like the Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Mercedes GLC. The Q5 needed to up its game.
Further down the line from launch we’ll see a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the more full-on SQ5 and a plug-in hybrid, but at launch we’ll have the choice of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel, the latter making 187bhp against the former’s 249bhp.
Audi Q5 3.0 TDI 286
Price: £44,500 (est)
Engine: 3.0-litre diesel
Top speed: tbc
Fuel economy: tbc
CO2 emission: tbc
On the roads of Mexico, where the vehicles will be built, the petrol engine sounded great and went very well. It needed some revs to push on, but is mostly quiet and refined. We also had a chance to try the forthcoming V6 diesel and, while that didn’t sound as good when pushed, its reserves of torque made it a relaxing vehicle to cruise in or use for overtaking.
Our test car had some options fitted, as they often are. In this case the steel springs in the suspension were replaced by air suspension and adaptive dampers, a set-up which delivered a very comfortable and controlled ride. It’s not as sporty as some – we’re thinking Porsche Macan here – but it’s a steady ride that will be easy to live with.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto box, feeding through to an all-wheel drive system that keeps it in front-wheel drive unless the system detects slippage, at which point it instantly brings in the rears. It’s very smooth in operation and undetectable when it’s working.
While all this is very splendid, there’s nothing to touch the cabin. It’s glorious, beautifully executed with top-class materials and design. There is more space than before for the five passengers, although the middle rear seat isn’t really for long journeys. There’s decent luggage space, if not class-leading, and you can open it with your hands full via a remote sensor and, if fitted, the air suspension can be made to squat so it’s easier to load up.
As ever, we’re a huge fan of the Virtual Cockpit, joined here by the main Multi Media Interface infotainment system. Those at the front have plenty to play with, aided by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
As yet we don’t know some of the key figures, like pricing, emissions and so on. If they’re bang on, this could be a five-star vehicle as it has an outstanding cabin and tech, and they’ve improved what was already a top-selling SUV. When this goes on sale in the UK early next year, expect to see a lot on the roads.