AUDI’S strong-selling Q5 will at last be reborn sometime next year with a complete top-to-bottom redesign, as the company responds to the Lexus NX, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Mercedes-Benz GLC triple threat.
The second-generation Q5 clearly adopts the new Q7's chunkier styling without departing too much from the successful formula that has kept it near the top of the premium medium SUV charts for more than seven years. The German five-door crossover continues with the signature six-light glasshouse, snub nose and tapering profile, but appears to adopt shorter overhangs, the latest ‘low and wide’ single frame grille, LED lighting elements, and a faster roofline than before.
Audi is famous for sweating the details on the smaller stuff. As a result, expect to find the trick lift-up door handles, classy ‘smart’ ambient cabin illumination, ‘Virtual Cockpit’ electronic instrument cluster first seen in the latest TT, sequential indicators, and rear-zone climate control, as either standard or optional features, as per the new A4 sedan and wagon which breaks cover at the Frankfurt show in September.
Speaking of which, the second-gen Q5 switches to the latter’s Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLB Evo) that also underpins the closely-related Q7. This means weight losses of around 100kg depending on variant, upgraded four-cylinder and V6 turbo engines in direct-injection petrol and TDI diesel guises touting appreciably improved efficiency. There’s even a proposed TDI-electric e-tron plug-in, promising extraordinarily low fuel consumption figures for a high-riding SUV, courtesy of the MLB Evo’s ‘plug-and-play’ electric/hybrid technology adaptability.
Whether the newcomer remains a quattro permanent all-wheel-drive-only proposition remains to be seen. All transmission choices are likely to be eight-speed automatic, though reports suggest that a nine or even 10 speed unit is mooted.
If this all sounds familiar, it’s because most of these changes mirror the advances of the latest A4 redesign, highlighting the parallel engineering philosophy that underscores the MLB Evo range of larger Audi vehicles.
An all-new BMW X3 and Infiniti QX70 are on their way in the not too distant future, so the Mk2 Q5 will have its work cut out to keep fending off the competition in what has long been one of the most lucrative and hotly-contested segments.
Consequently, do not expect the 2017 Q5 to stray too far from the circa-$63,000 asking price of today’s 2.0 TFSI quattro base variant, extending up to nearly $92,000 for the scorching SQ5 TDI performance torchbearer.
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