When manufacturers started selling SUVs in droves, it signalled a new thinking in urban mobility that has turned out resilient to the detriment of other categories.
Audi was one of the early adopters of the genre, and the Q5 was its second offering to the new world order after the larger Q7 arrived on the scene in 2005.
It’s still the core model of the brand’s SUV ranges, and outsells the smaller Q3 and Q2 models. Now the company has introduced a facelifted model. It’s a midlife upgrade, but it’s a significant overhaul of the Q5 launched here in 2017.
Audi has treated it to its new design language that debuted with the new A1 and A3. There are two new colours, ultra blue and district green, a smattering of new tech and Sport, S line, Vorsprung and Edition One grade walks.
Redesigned LED daytime running lights now flank standard fitment matrix LED headlamps, while the rear light clusters can be optioned with the latest generation of playful OLED lights first seen on the Q8 coupe. The Singleframe grille is now shallower and wider than before.
The new Q5 is 19mm longer due to larger bumpers. The 2,820mm wheelbase remains unchanged and the interior benefits from a sliding rear bench and a boot ranging from 550l to 1,550l. A power tailgate is available as an option.
A two-section dashboard with a larger 25.4cm touchscreen MMI display greets passengers. Opt for MMI navigation Plus and the full spectrum Audi Virtual Cockpit, which includes a 31.3cm display field, is availed.
Smartphone mirroring, Audi connect with internet and traffic infrastructure capability and Amazon Alexa voice-control system are part of new digital enhancements. There is also head-up display and an Audi Phone Box with wireless handset charging.
An army of sensors offers safety and convenience on the move and counts a reversing camera, cruise control, pre-sense city collision avoidance and mitigation system, and hill descent control.
As usual TDI and TFSI engines will power the range, while some markets will get a Q5 plug-in hybrid model. The range launches with 40 TDI quattro models featuring a mild-hybrid system and a 2.0l four-cylinder diesel engine with increased efficiency and power of 150kW and 400Nm mated to a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. The 0-100km/h sprint should be achieved in 7.6 seconds with a top speed of 220km/h.
More TFSI engine derivatives will follow, perhaps including the new reported RS Q5 that is said is likely to use the 2.9l six-cylinder found in the RS 4 Avant.
Sport models feature standard suspension, while the S line and Edition One get a firmer and sportier setting. The five-stage adaptive air suspension is also available.
Audi SA plans to launch the refreshed Q5 locally next year. Models we can expect include the 40 TDI, but with a 140kW output instead of the 150kW stated for the new model, and the petrol 45 TFSI model with 185kW will also be offered.