The 2016 Paris motor show is underway, and Europe’s biggest automotive gathering of the year has served up another round of fantastical concept vehicles.
The second-generation Audi Q5 has made its global debut at the Paris Motor Show, with the consistently popular medium SUV getting a ground-up redesign on the inside, outside and underneath.
Built on Audi’s modular MLB platform, the new Q5 is, depending on model grade, up to 90kg lighter than the first-generation car.
But despite going on a diet, the 2017 Audi Q5 is bigger than before. Measuring 4.66 metres long, 1.89 metres wide and sitting astride a 2.82 metre wheelbase, the Q5 is 30mm longer overall and has 20mm more space between the axles for a larger cabin.
The bodywork brings the Q5 family into line with other new-gen Audi SUV models like the Q7 and Q2, with a bolder grille surround, distinctive LED light elements and crisper creases on its sheetmetal. The visual links with the handsome Q7 are especially strong – a good thing.
The modernisation continues inside, with Audi’s 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit’ instrument panel display being made an option in the Q5, while the MMI Touch infotainment interface gains a touchpad, 8.3-inch display and customisable memory buttons like the Audi Q7.
A prominent trim strip bisects the dashboard, enhancing the cabin’s width. Audi claims the second-gen Q5’s cabin is bigger than before but doesn’t mention specific numbers, except for the boot capacity: that number swells by 10 litres to 610 litres with the rear seats in place.
The Q5’s move to a new platform also brings new technology to its undercarriage, namely a height-adjustable air suspension system, a first for the Q5, and the segment.
Five engines will be available at the Q5’s European-market launch, though the engine lineup for Australia is expected to encompass a 140kW 2.0-litre diesel four, a 210kW/620Nm 3.0-litre diesel V6 and a 185kW petrol four.
The 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 has been quietly dropped, but a performance-oriented SQ5 model will follow to keep keener drivers happy - though timing has yet to be announced for that one.
Drivetrains also come in for a revamp, with an all-new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for four-cylinder models and the torque-laden 3.0 litre V6 TDI model getting a stronger eight-speed conventional auto. Europeans will also have the option of a six-speed manual, but that’s not going to come our way.
Front-drive variants will also be available for the first time in the Q5’s history, but only on four-cylinder models.
Both FWD and quattro AWD models will benefit from torque vectoring, which improves traction under power by varying the left-to-right torque split to help reduce understeer. On the 3.0 TDI, buyers can also option an active rear sport differential for an extra dynamic edge.
All Q5s get five-link suspension at both front and rear, with electronically-adjustable dampers and adaptive air suspension available as an option. Two electric power steering setups are available – one conventional, and one with a variable-ratio rack for sportier handling.
The 2017 Q5 will be built at Audi’s new plant in Mexico, with European sales commencing at the start of next year. Australian deliveries are slated for the latter half of 2017.
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