Audi is redesigning its most popular SUV for the next model year. The next-generation, sportier, Audi Q5 will be slimmer, longer, lighter and come with an updated drivetrain. It will also take a giant leap in the technology department with vehicle data-sharing. The new five-seater will hit Europe early next year and then head stateside.
Here are eight things to know about the revamped crossover in Audi’s lineup.
It’s longer and lighter.
The new Audi Q5 will be longer because Audi is increasing the wheelbase. So there will be more legroom in the back seat. It’s also nearly 200 pounds lighter because Audi is using mixed materials to build it: steel and aluminum.
It picks up Q3 and Q7 styling cues.
The Q5 falls in between the smaller Q3 and larger Q7 and picks up some styling cues from its siblings. The biggest ones are to the front and rear of the SUV.
Up front, it has a flat nose like the Q7. You’ll also notice slimmer headlights instead of the old crossover’s square ones. They’re attached to Audi’s Singleframe grille, keeping in line with other new Audi models. Headlights are either LED or high-resolution Matrix LED technology with dynamic turn lights. The new Q5 also features the horizontal slats and this pattern is repeated near the foglight units. A bolder chrome piece frames the edge of the grille, and subtle creases provide added definition to the hood.
The back end with new taillights is much squarer than the current generation. There is a sharp crease that runs across the across the bottom of both taillights. The bumper is framed by other creases as well to give it definition.
It will be offered in Sport and Design trims. The Design trim will add gray exterior so it looks more rugged. Add to that, the Q5 can be further equipped with S-line, S-line Sport and Design Selection appearance packages. You have your choice of wheels that range from 17 inches to 21 inches in diameter.
Audi says it’s also at the top of its class in its aerodynamics. The four-cylinder versions attain a coefficient drag of 0.30 with the aerodynamically optimized roof.
It comes with major updates in the cockpit.
Audi is really boasting about the Q5’s updated interior. It has more legroom, as we mentioned earlier. Audi also says it will provide the best acoustics in its class.
It has a standalone display on top of the dashboard. The gear shift has also been redesigned, and the vents and knobs have been repositioned. A heating steering wheel, massage front seats and diamond-quilted leather upholstery are all options. As is ambient cabin lighting with 30 different colors.
Audi is also offering its new virtual cockpit on the Q5. It replaces dashboard gauges with a big digital 12.3-inch screen. There is also a newly developed optional head-up display. It projects info onto the windshield.
Meanwhile, Audi’s MMI interface with voice control comes with MMI Touch, which is a handwriting and gesture recognition pad.
In terms of audio, it offers a high-end Bang & Olufsen Sound System with innovative 3D sound. A new Audi entertainment tablet is available in the back seat.
Technology takes big leap into the data-sharing future.
One of the most interesting new technology features is the new data-sharing. The Audi Q5 will collect road and driving condition data via sensors and cameras. It will then share it with a larger network via internet. It’s a step towards vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Eventually, as Audi introduces more models, they’ll be able to share info like traffic data in real-time with other vehicles. So driver’s can be clued into to what’s ahead on the road. Audi calls it “swarm intelligence.”
It offers up to 30 driver assistance systems.
The new Q5 isn’t short on any technology. It will offer all the safety assistance features we’re getting used to, and then some. Amid the 30 different driver assistance systems comes traffic jam assist. It handles some of the steering work in slow-moving traffic. There is also a predictive efficiency assistant that helps save fuel. A personal route assist function also taps into the nav system, so it can learn your common routes and then suggest the best one for the next trip.
There are more engine choices for Europe.
The Q5 will offer five engines in Europe, four of them diesels, which definitely won’t make it to the U.S. Here, we can at the very least expect to see a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 make it into the lineup. It’s good for 252-horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It will come mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.
It comes with a new suspension and all-wheel drive system.
The drivetrain of the mid-size SUV has been redeveloped from the ground up. Some variants feature new quattro drive with ultra technology. It no longer uses a center differential. The system uses two clutches to distribute torque front-to-rear. So the system can disengage the rear-axle drive whenever it is not needed. This is all designed to boost efficiency without diminishing traction or driving dynamics.
An optional adaptive damping setup can be modified using the Audi Drive Select system, which also changes steering feel, throttle response and transmission mapping. The Q5 also will offer a new adaptive air suspension in certain models for the first time.
Production just kicked off in Mexico.
Audi just started building the new Q5 at its brand new production outfit in San José Chiapa, Mexico. The plant will be able to 150,000 Audi Q5 vehicles a year.
Germany and other European countries will see the new Q5 first in early 2017. The base price will be 45,000 euros, or $50,592. No pricing or launch date for the U.S. model yet.