It’s not the most arresting design, but the all-new Audi Q5 was one of the most significant unveils at the Paris Motor Show last week.
The Q5 is one of the big hitters in the mid-size SUV segment, so Audi has moved more upmarket with the new model to rival newcomers such as the Mercedes GLC and the next-generation BMWX3, due in 2017.
This second-generation Q5 uses the VW Group’s MLB platform. This is, in effect, the same mechanical make-up of chassis, engines and technology that is used in the already popular MQB set-up, but based around longitudinal engines instead of motors mounted transversely. It’s the same platform that underpins the latest A4, and means the new Q5 is up to 90kg lighter than the model it replaces. This should ensure sharper handling and improved comfort, plus air-suspension will be offered as an option.
The weight loss will help the SUV’s efficiency, while Audi will also introduce a front-wheel-drive-only version to the range for the first time. At launch, the Q5 will be four-wheel drive, but the latest quattro system disconnects the rear wheels during everyday driving to save fuel.
Initially there will be five engines available: a 249bhp 2.0 TFSI petrol, a 2.0 TDI diesel with 148bhp, 161bhp or 187bhp, and a 282bhp 3.0 TDI. Six-speed manual and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch auto gearboxes will be offered with the 2.0-litre engines, while the 3.0 TDI has an eight-speed Tiptronic auto transmission.
Emissions figures are yet to be confirmed, although the combination of weight saving and greater efficiency should see the 2.0 TDI drop below the 125g/km mark. That’s comfortably clear of the cleanest existing Q5, which emits 147g/km.
On top of the regular range, there will be a hot SQ5, using a tuned six-cylinder diesel with more than 340bhp, while an RS Q5 will appear later in 2017 with at least 450bhp from a twin-turbo petrol. Audi will also offer an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid version, mixing turbo petrol power with two electric motors for sub-90g/km CO2 emissions.
Some of the biggest changes are made inside, where the Q5 gets an overhaul that brings improved materials, a wider range of finishes and personalisation choices, and – thanks to a longer wheelbase – greater knee and legroom for those in the back.
The car will also benefit from Audi’s latest technology, with Google Maps-based navigation with smart route planning, the brand’s Virtual Cockpit dashboard and a tablet-based rear entertainment system.
The new Q5 should arrive in UK dealers in late 2016, and prices are expected to start at around £39,000.