Following the first-generation Audi Q5 is no small feat. While the current car is starting to show its age, it has remained one of the best-selling vehicles in its class and was even at the top of that mountain for some time. Audi was aware of this when designing a successor to the highly successful first-gen Q5. “The first Audi Q5 was for many years the world’s best-selling SUV in its class. It was no easy task to design its successor, but that is precisely why it is so very exciting,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management at AUDI AG.
According to Stadler, the new car delivers on succeeding its impressive predecessor. “With the new Q5 we are setting the bar a notch higher. Among the great innovations are the Quattro drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, the air suspension with damper control and a comprehensive line-up of infotainment and assistance systems.”
Welcome the new 2017 Audi Q5.
The most distinctly new feature on the new Q5 is its curvy shoulder line. Whereas the previous car was a bit slab-sided and boring, this new one features a dramatic new shoulder line that curves upward toward the rear wheel arches. This small touch adds some much-needed visual drama to the side of the car and makes a big difference. However, aside from that, there aren’t really any huge differences from before. This is certainly a more evolutionary design rather than a revolutionary one.
Although, the body has changed enough to increase aerodynamics, as it now leads the class with a .30 coefficient of drag. This makes wind noise virtually nonexistent. Considering how church-like the cabins of the new Audi Q7 and A4 are, we believe it. And despite being bigger than before in every dimension, it’s lighter by 198 lbs. That’s a big difference and will dramatically help in the handling and ride department.
The interior has grown in size as well, allowing for more passenger space than before. If you’ve seen either the new Q7 or A4’s interior, you’ll know exactly what this one looks like. It’s essentially a combination of both of those cars. However, that’s not a bad thing by any means, as it’s an incredibly handsome interior. Although, it seems to have taken the worst trait of the A4 and left the best one. It has the A4’s tacked-on nav screen but lacks its horizontal air vents that stretch across the dashboard. Aside from that, it’s a good looking cabin, as with all new Audis.
Audi’s new MMI infotainment system and Virtual Cockpit are also now available. Like the Q7, the new Audi Q5 is also available with MMI Plus, which comes with an 8.3 inch screen and a touchpad built into the rotary button. Apparently, the new MMI system uses a flat display hierarchy, much like a modern smartphone, to make things easier to use and understand. There’s also an available LTE connection, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot, that can connect up to eight devices. There will also be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, as well as wireless inductive charging for compatible mobile phones and a Bang & Olufsen 3D surround sound system.
Inside, new features have been added, such as ambient lighting that has 30 different colors to choose from. The rear seat now has optional longitudinal and seatback angle adjustments with a three-way folding split. With the rear seatbacks up, the cargo space ranges from 550 to 610 liters, depending one the seat adjustment. With them folded down, that space increases to 1,550 liters. Cargo loading is also aided by a power folding tailgate with sensor control and optional adjustable air suspension.
In Europe, the Audi Q5 will launch with five different engines, four diesels and one petrol. It’s your typical suite of Audi 2.0 liter four-cylinder TDI engines, as well as one 3.0 liter V6 TDI, and the one 2.0 liter TFSI. In America, the latter 2.0 TFSI is likely all we’ll get. It’s the same 252 hp 2.0 TFSI as in the new Audi A4 is a great engine so, no harm there.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on lower engine-spec European models, with the seven-speed S-Tronic transmission option for all engines except for the 3.0 TDI, which only gets an eight-speed automatic. All automatic transmissions get a fuel-saving freewheel function which is controlled by the driver via the gear lever or shift paddles. Audi’s Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive system is standard on most 2.0 TDI models and on the 2.0 TFSI. This system disengages the rear axle when it isn’t needed for fuel economy purposes. However, it’s unavailable on the 3.0 TDI engine, though an optional sports rear differential is and would be what we want.
The chassis of the new Audi Q5 has been designed to increase both comfort and dynamic handling. The suspension has been given five-link setups both front and rear and the steering has also been revised. Dynamic steering is optional, which varies the steering ratio based on both speed and steering angle.
Audi is offering damper control, which adjusts the spread between comfort and handling with the Audi Drive Select modes. However, there will also be an adaptive air suspension, that can also adjust ride height, that will be optional. Two new modes have been added to Audi’s Drive Select system, Lift/Offorad and Allroad. This help the Q5’s offroad capabilities, but it likely won’t challenge a Land Rover Discovery.
Overall, we think Audi has done a pretty good job at replacing the first-gen Audi Q5. While this new car isn’t drastically different looking, it sports far better capabilities as well as improved engines, suspension and technology. It may not be the most exciting luxury SUV on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most well rounded. We can’t wait to check it out on the road.