One of the biggest stars of the Paris motor show was the new Audi Q5, which was unveiled in second generation guise. Although similar in shape and layout to the outgoing car – which was first launched in 2008 and facelifted in 2012 – underneath the skin it sits on an all-new platform. Size wise, it’s broadly similar to the outgoing car, yet is up to 90kg lighter, and packs more space for both luggage (up 10 litres to 550 litres) and passengers, with additional head and rear knee room. Peek under the bonnet and there’s a choice of two diesel engines – a 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI unit that is available from launch, and a 282bhp 3.0-litre TDI unit that arrives after. The latter unit has been extensively revised and packs 457lb ft of torque. Although no fuel economy or CO2 emissions figures have been quoted, Audi says that they have been ‘significantly reduced’. Offered with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission, the latter incorporates a fuel-saving freewheel function.
The lower-powered unit is mated to quattro four-wheel-drive with ultra technology, which disengages the rear axle drive whenever it isn’t required. This improves fuel economy in scenarios where extra traction isn’t required. An optional sport differential on the rear axle is optional at extra cost on the V6 engine, which distributes torque between the back wheels as required, enhancing on-road dynamics. Other options include dynamic steering that alters the gearing ratio according to the steering angle and speed of the vehicle. A newly developed five-link suspension system comes as standard, with adaptive dampers offered as an option. A beautifully crafted interior is the order of the day, with the company’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit available as an optional extra, in place of conventional dials. Much of the switchgear will be familiar to A4 drivers, combined with an 8.3-inch infotainment screen and the latest incarnation of Audi’s MMI (multi-media interface).
On the top version, MMI navigation plus, a touchpad is integrated into the rotary dial with handwriting recognition and zoom gestures, while on automatic transmission models, there’s also haptic feedback. Voice control is another feature which is designed to better recognise everyday words and phrases. Audi Phone Box allows charging of smartphones inductively, and there’s Apple CarPIay and Android Auto fitted as standard. An uprated audio system has been designed in partnership with Bang & Olufsen with three-dimensional sound. The rear seat is split in a 40:20:40 fashion, with adjustable backrest and sliding functionality available as an option. Boot capacity can be adjusted between 550 and 610 litres, depending on position, and with the chairs folded down this opens up to 1,550 litres, a reduction of 10 litres compared to its predecessor. An electric tailgate is standard equipment, with hands-free opening an option. Other equipment fitted to the Q5 as standard includes Xenon headlights, with Matrix LED lamps offered at extra cost.
Adaptive cruise control with jam assist and pedestrian recognition, cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and park assist are all featured on the new car, as well as hill descent control for added off-road prowess. When the new Q5 is available to order later this year, production moves from its current home in Ingolstadt, Germany to Audi’s brand new factory in Mexico. The first customer cars will arrive at Audi centres next spring in a choice of Sport or S line trim levels. It’s too early for prices to be revealed, but we would expect a modest increase in cost compared to the outgoing model, meaning an entry-level Sport 2.0 TDI model, with manual transmission, will be priced from around £34,000.