Audi has given its mid-sized Q5 SUV a midlife update to keep it in touch with rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The changes are mostly focused on improving the Q5’s technology suite, cleaning up the available powertrains and updating the design. The changes also precede an incoming Q5 Sportback that will rival the BMW X4 and Porsche Macan later this year.
Along with much of the new-generation Audi range, all updated Q5s will receive a mild-hybrid system to clean up the petrol and diesel powertrains. Four-cylinder petrol and diesel models will incorporate a 12V system paired to a dual-clutch transmission and a part-time quattro ‘Ultra’ all-wheel-drive system as standard. Both of these models see power upgrades over their respective predecessors too, with the TDI and TFSI now increased to 201bhp and 260bhp respectively (up by 17bhp and 18bhp).
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Six-cylinder models will follow shortly after the fours, and in the process upgrade the mild-hybrid hardware to a 48V system, swap the dual-clutch transmission of the fours for an eight-speed torque converter and run a full-time quattro all-wheel-drive system. The incoming SQ5 should feature the same V6 TDI powertrain as the current model, but specifics on the flagship have yet to be released. A selection of passive or adaptive dampers are available depending on the model, with a full air suspension system an option on top-level Vorsprung trim levels, but all cars ride on essentially the same five-link suspension layout on both axles as before.
While the tech features should improve the Q5’s on-road efficiency, it’s the tech updates and styling changes that are more noticeable, with fresh design elements that align the Q5 more closely to the rest of Audi’s SUV range. While lighting at the front has been updated, Audi has taken the notion of lighting signatures to the next level with the new OLED rear lights (only the second model after the updated TT RS to feature the new tech). The new lights are available on Vorsprung models, and give customers at the time of ordering the ability to choose one of three lighting signatures within the one lighting unit. In addition to this, the lighting pattern will change once again when Dynamic mode is selected, and the lights themselves can also react to an inbuilt proximity sensor too when the car is stationary, activating all the lighting elements when a car approaches from behind, such as when at a set of red lights or a roundabout.
The exterior design is otherwise pretty recognisable, with a new front bumper and grille design that loses the heavy use of silver trim around its extremities, and instead switching to the flatter grille shape seen on Audi’s other SUV models. The A4 and A5’s lower ‘frames’ have also made an appearance on S-line models, which are also able to be specified in either a bright or black finish. Fresh wheel designs of between 18 and 20 inches are available, while the rear bumper has also been given an update with new graphics.
While the exterior looks forward, the basic interior design is more like a generation old, with the same horizontal aesthetic as in the A4 and A5, with a separate high-mounted screen and physical air conditioning controls. In keeping with other Audi models, the infotainment system has lost the rotary dial controller, instead moving to a touchscreen interface which, although clear and easy to use, won’t please those who prefer a physical input device.
As mentioned above, the Q5 will launch in the UK initially with four-cylinder engine options only, with V6 models, including an updated SQ5, arriving later in the year. Prices in the UK start at £42,950 for an entry-level TDI sport, which places it just above main rivals from Mercedes, BMW and Volvo.