“1.6 million Q5s sold makes it the most wanted premium crossover on planet earth!”
“It’s the first Audi to be built south of the border, and it becomes one of just a minority of luxury brand vehicles to have ever been manufactured in Mexico.”
We had the chance to lay our hands on the all-new 2018 Audi Q5 before its official release in our region by the third quarter of 2017. Our first drive took place in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The SUV with the four rings combines the sportiness of an Audi sedan with a multifaceted character and a highly flexible interior. Whether in its connectivity, efficiency or driver assistance systems – the new Audi Q5 once again sets standards in its segment. The new SUV from Audi takes a sporty and taut stance on the street. A sculpturally flared Singleframe grille with a solid frame dominates its aerodynamically flat front end. It is available with headlights that are either in LED or high-resolution Matrix LED technology with dynamic turn lights.
A distinctively curved and strongly undercut shoulder line gives structure to the side view. The strongly emphasized wheel arches are a reference to the Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, and the low greenhouse tapers back down early. Just as at the front, horizontal lines at the rear convey an image of width and presence. The taillights are also available with optional dynamic turn signals. The tailgate wraps around the C-pillars – a typical feature of the Q models from Audi. A diffuser insert integrates the exhaust tailpipes.
Audi is offering the new Q5 in 14 different exterior colors. Five newly configured equipment lines are available – sport and design, the S line sport package, design selection and the S line exterior package. They influence the overall appearance. In the design line, contrasting gray add-on parts emphasize the rugged character of the new SUV, while the sport equipment line of the Audi Q5 has parts fully painted in the exterior color.
Weight saved: Up to 90 kg lighter than the previous model
4.66 meters long, 1.89 meters wide and 1.66 meters tall with a 2.82 meter wheelbase – compared to the previous model, the new Q5 has grown in nearly all of its dimensions. Consequently, the unladen weight was reduced – depending on the engine – by up to 90 kg. Steels with maximum tensile strength and aluminum form an intelligent material mix in the body.
The new Q5 also stands at the top of its class in its aerodynamics. The four-cylinder versions attain a drag coefficient of 0.30 with the aerodynamically optimized roof. Wind noises are exceptionally low, and vibration comfort is high – the new SUV from Audi indulges the driver and passengers with the best interior acoustics in its class.
The interior offers a lot of space for five persons, and it surpasses the previous model and its competitors in key dimensions. Its horizontally oriented lines underscore the impression of width and comfort, and a three-dimensional trim strip runs across the entire width of the instrument panel. The new equipment lines concept offers customers a broad selection of colors and materials.
The new, high efficiency air conditioner is available in two versions. A three-spoke multifunction steering wheel is standard; additional functions such as steering wheel heating are optional. Seat features range all the way to a pneumatic massage function. When it is dark, the optional ambient lighting creates an attractive atmosphere in 30 different colors. The workmanship quality in the new Q5 is uncompromising.
The rear seat back of the new Audi Q5 is split into three segments. Longitudinal and seat back angle adjustment are optional. Depending on the rear seat position, the basic volume of the luggage compartment ranges from 550 to 610 liters (10 liters more than in the previous model). When the rear bench is folded down, this volume grows to 1,550 liters. Cargo loading is simplified by intelligent solutions like a standard, variably folding mat, optional sensor control of the power tailgate and manual lowering of the body via the optional air suspension.
Operation of the new Audi SUV is intuitive and is marked by three great new features. The optional Audi virtual cockpit presents brilliant graphics on its high-resolution 12.3-inch screen. The driver can choose from two views – a classic view with large round instruments and a mode in which the navigation map or lists dominate. The also optional head-up display projects key information onto the windshield.
The MMI terminal in the center console acts as the main control element. In the top infotainment system, there’s the MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and an 8.3-inch display; a touchpad is integrated into the rotary pushbutton. It recognizes handwritten entries as well as gestures familiar from consumer electronics such as zooming gestures. The Audi Q5 also has a large MMI all-in-touch including haptic/tactile feedback.
The MMI operating logic is based on the flat hierarchies used in today’s smartphones, and it offers such features as intelligent free-text search. The new natural-language voice control function also recognizes inputs from everyday speech. Serving as an additional third operating level in the new Audi Q5 is the multifunction steering wheel plus. Audi can deliver a newly developed head-up display as an option. It projects relevant information onto the windshield – including from driver assistance systems – as symbols and numbers that can be perceived quickly.
The new Audi Q5, like the Q7 and the A4, has a self-learning “personal route assist” function. After activating this function, the navigation system learns the routes and destinations that the customer regularly selects, and it associates this information to the parked position and time of day.
For as long as it is active, the system therefore learns from the customer’s behavior and uses this information to suggest optimized route planning for the next trip – even while navigation is inactive. For instance, the system can suggest that the customer activate navigation to find out about potential alternative routes. The driver decides whether or not to activate the function. He also has the option of deleting saved destinations. If the function is deactivated, the system does not store the destinations and does not consider deleted destinations or the routes driven.
The Audi phone box connects smartphones to the vehicle’s antenna for optimal reception quality; it also charges smartphones inductively according to the Qi standard. The Bang & Olufsen sound system with innovative 3D sound introduces the spatial dimension of height. The Audi tablet, which is also new, serves as a flexible Rear Seat Entertainment device. The Audi smartphone interface also brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the new Q5.
Driver assistance and safety systems
In its driver assistance systems, the new Audi Q5 also tops its segment with a broad range of high-tech options. In their intelligent interplay, the systems represent a next step towards piloted driving. They are bundled into three packages – Tour, City and Parking.
Adaptive cruise control (ACC), including traffic jam assist, can handle some of the steering work in slow-moving traffic. Audi Active Lane Assist makes it easier to stay in lane. Distance warning alerts the driver when the distance to a vehicle drops below a safe distance.
Cross traffic assist rear, the exit warning system, collision avoidance assist and turn assist are other new features that perform excellently in pursuit of safety. Park assist and hill descent assist round out the features.
The new Audi Q5 is launching in the Middle East with one powerful and efficient engine. The engine combines ample power with efficiency. The further developed 2.0 TFSI has an output of 252 horsepower, yet it only consumes 6.8 liters of gasoline per 100 km, which equates to 154 grams CO2 per km.
The drivetrain of the mid-size SUV has been redeveloped from the ground up. The automatic transmission integrates a fuel saving freewheel function. The driver controls it by a selection lever or by shift paddles on the steering wheel; in both cases, the control signals are transmitted electronically.
The new Quattro drivetrain with ultra-technology is standard equipment for the 2.0 TFSI with 252 horsepower. The Quattro with ultra-technology always disengages the rear-axle drive whenever it is not needed, and if necessary it can proactively re-engage it. The new concept boosts efficiency without reducing traction or driving dynamics.
In the Quattro drive version, wheel-selective torque control gives handling a refined touch. The intelligent software solution always delivers a dynamic, precise and controllable driving experience.
The new Audi Q5 enables handling that combines very different strengths – it is sporty while being extremely comfortable. Creating the basis for this are the newly developed five-link suspensions and also the new electromechanical power steering system. Dynamic steering is available as an option; it varies its gear ratio according to the driving speed and steering angle.
Customers can choose from two extension stages of springs and damping. The chassis with damper control offers a very wide spread between comfort and dynamics, which the driver can select via Audi drive select. In addition to adjusting damper control, the new adaptive air suspension can be used to vary the ride height of the car body over five stages.
In the standard system, Audi drive select, which accesses various technical modules, the driver can select one of as many as seven driving modes. The two new modes, Lift/Offroad and Allroad, emphasize the off-road character of the Audi Q5 optimally.
The design and sport equipment lines come with 18-inch wheels, and the S line sport package and Audi design selection come with 19-inch wheels. Wheels up to 21 inches in diameter are available as options.
During the on-road track that Audi assigned us, we drove through the mountains and the Q5’s mixture was admirable. The feedback was encouraging and the response to input was smooth, as it impressed the twists. Switching to the off-road portion of the drive, the suspension did a great job of straining out washboard surfaced while the all-wheel-drive system kept the wheels turning in some pretty deep sand. Nobody is going to go Rubicon Trail as we did with the Jeep Wrangler, but the new Q5 surprised me with its off-road competence!
1.6 million Q5s have been sold since the model's 2008 debut, making it the friendliest and best-selling premium SUV on the planet. The new Audi Q5 is classy inside, comfortable to drive and offers good performance. It's shaping up to be one of 2017's most impressive new cars. The new Audi Q5 is manufactured at a newly constructed plant in Mexico. It will arrive at dealerships in the Middle East in the third quarter of 2017. Until next year, we say that there’s sufficient tech to keep drivers and passengers pleased, as well as safe, before it starts to look long in the projection.
Pros: Stylish exterior, comfortable, quiet cabin, efficiency through engineering
Cons: Lighter, but possibly still too heavy for this engine
Rivals: Porsche Macan, Jaguar F-Pace, Infiniti QX50, Maserati Levante, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, Cadillac XT5, Lincoln MKC
one word: Quattro
2.0L TFSI, 4-cylinder inline, 252 hp @ 5,000 – 6,000 rpm, 273 Nm @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
Quattro AWD, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
0-100 km/h: 6.3 sec, top speed: 237 km/h, fuel consumption: 6.8-7.1 L/100 km
Weight: 1,720 kg