Second-generation Q5 sets the class benchmark - just
- Build quality
- Balanced handling
- Impressive efficiency
- Air suspension option
- Evolutionary looks
- Expensive options
- S Tronic’s low-speed reactions
Despite its same-again looks suggesting otherwise, the second-generation Audi Q5 SUV is based on different underpinnings, with A5 Coupe-aping voluptuousness along the flanks, and a chunkier Q7-esque grille lending an aggressive air to the front end. Depending on the model, it’s also shed up to 90kg of heft.
As before, the Q5 has a fearsome ensemble of competitors: the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC are vying against the Audi, while the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque mount a two-pronged British assault.
Second-generation Q5: the same, but different
Assembled at purpose-built facility in Mexico, there’s a greater degree of aluminium and high-tensile steel used in the Q5’s construction; this time around it’s both stronger and lighter, that latter aspect benefitting overall efficiency.
It also cleaves the air more effectively than any of its SUV rivals, with a drag-coefficient of 0.30, which is relatively low for this size and shape of car.
Technology and the whole SUV sector have moved along leaps and bounds since the first Q5 appeared, with the second-generation model employing many of the benefits of the latest features.
An improved MMI (Multi Media Interface) with much more responsive voice control is the centrepiece of the impeccably well-constructed new cabin. It now feels like it fuses the styles of the A4 and Q7 – no great surprise and no bad thing either.
Outside you’ll spot niceties such as the (optional) LED matrix headlights that automatically adapt their beam patterns to road types and weather conditions. But the tour de force you feel rather than see is the adaptive air suspension. That also costs extra, but should be top of your priority list if you can stretch to it.
By allowing the car to be raised by up to 45mm in Offroad mode, the Q5 becomes much more capable off the beaten track, able to traverse terrain that would halt models with the standard suspension arrangement.
It’s never going to be a rugged go-anywhere SUV – that the Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive system is not permanent on 2.0-litre models and has no method of locking drive to all four wheels sees to that – but it’s more capable than you’d expect.
Petrol and diesel powerplants
Audi will flesh out the Q5’s engine range during 2017, but from its launch there was a limited range of one petrol and one diesel to choose from, joined in the spring by a petrol-swilling SQ5 performance model.
That headline-grabbing model requires just 5.4 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint, thanks to its 354hp turbocharged 3.0-litre engine.
The more mainstream powerplants are fitted exclusively with the seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox and (part-time) Quattro Ultra all-wheel drive, while the SQ5 has an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic.
Familiar Audi range structure for the Q5
Don’t award yourself any prizes if you guessed the Q5’s trim level hierarchy to follow the tried-and-tested SE, Sport and S Line format – Audi’s been perfecting this one for years.
The higher performance SQ5 is effectively a trim level in itself.
Most are expected to plump for the S Line version, but there’s no need to feel short-changed by saving some brass and going for the SE, even though only five percent of buyers are expected to do so. You’ll still get 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with LED day-running lights, leather upholstery, three-zone climate control and keyless ignition.
Audi Q5 SUV model history
- January 2017 – Second-generation Q5 available to order with first deliveries from April. Only 2.0-litre TFSI petrol and TDI diesel available initially, each with a choice of SE, Sport and S Line specifications. Standard gearbox is the seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch automatic.
- February 2017 – There’s a 354hp 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic for the second iteration of the Audi SQ5, available to order now for June delivery. Grey exterior detailing and different bumper and grille treatment differentiate it from the less powerful models.