The new Audi Q5 is officially launched Down Under, boasting a wealth of new technology, performance and equipment.

The new Q5 takes the tremendous reputation of Audi's original mid-sized SUV, and delivers a veritable superstar to build on the legacy. 

12 July, 2017

In the movie world, sequels rarely to live up to the original. Even the current trend of ‘rebooting’ an original screen concept all too often fails to capture the magic of the first, and the audience is left glumly munching on their popcorn and making disappointing comparisons.

In the automotive world too, mirroring the success of one model when it comes time to produce a successor is no small undertaking, and the greater the success of the original, the greater the pressure to ‘produce the goods’ the next time around.

The original Audi Q5 has been a resounding success around the globe since it first appeared in 2009. It’s combination of size, styling, performance and practicality struck a chord in markets around the world, with Australia showing particular affection for the mid-sized premium SUV, with over 24,500 vehicles sold Down Under to date.

On a world scale, that number balloons out to more than 1.6 million, so the pressure for Audi’s engineers and designers to come up with a worthy successor, was significant to say the least.

But that’s exactly what’s been achieved in every conceivable area with the new Q5. Bigger, better, stronger faster is a simple enough way of summing things up, but you can add to that, lighter, more efficient, better equipped and evolutionary in terms of technology and equipment.

The 'teaser' of the new Q5 made a big impression, and the feature lives up to expectation. The new vehicle is recognisably Q5, but the shape has evolved to become more muscular, without becoming muscle-bound. The ‘tornado line’ which runs the length of the vehicle is more pronounced and the creases in the bodywork, sharper and more eye-catching. The wheel-base has been lengthened 12mm and the overall length stretched by 34mm – hardly massive dimensional shifts visually, but the changes make a noticeable difference to interior comfort – front and rear – and the styling gives the Q5 an even lower drag co-efficient than before at 0.30 Cd.

The wheel arches flare ever so slightly more than the first model, giving the new Q5 a stronger stance and enhancing the very quattro essence of the vehicle, but with 550 litres of storage (or 610 litres with the rear seats folded), the practicality of the new Q5 remains exceptional. 

Although larger, the new Q5 has dropped as much as 90kg in weight, adding not only to its performance, but to its efficiency. Available as either a 2.0 TDI quattro producing 140kW  and 400Nm or a petrol version 2.0 TFSI with 185kW and 370Nm, it dispatches the sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 7.9 seconds and 6.3 seconds respectively. That’s  half a second faster than the previous TDI model and makes the petrol model 0.6 seconds faster than its predecessor.

Yet the performance does not come at the expense of efficiency, with the TDI powerplant delivering 5.3L/100km and the TFSI 7.3L/100km.

The superb seven-speed S tronic transmission mates beautifully to each of the power plants. The gear changes are seamless and lightening quick, and then there’s the addition of quattro ultra, a predictive all-wheel drive evolution of the celebrated Audi quattro system that offers all of the benefits of permanent all-wheel drive, with the fuel efficiency of front-wheel drive.

The overwhelming impression is one of solidity and absolute competence, no matter the speed, the road surface or the conditions. The ride is smooth and the feel surefooted, even as main arterial roads give way to B roads, broken bitumen and dirt. The new Q5 is comfortable and supremely confident whether you feel inspired to massage the throttle on a twisting country road, or settle back for a long, comfortable touring experience, there is no better place to be than ensconced in the Q5’s superb interior.

The attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the cockpit. From the materials to the finish, the Q5 perfectly showcases Audi’s mastery of interior design and execution, additions such as the Virtual Cockpit only adding to what is already an impressive and perfectly laid out interior. Broad horizontal lines emphasise the width of the dash and interior in general, while the positioning of key controls and of course the multi-function wheel mean that the driver’s hands need never stray far from the tiller, and their attention remains on the important business of driving.

Driver assist systems abound though, silently vigilant for the time that they are called upon to do their job. Audi side assist, Attention assist, Hold assist, Cross traffic rear assist, Multicollision brake and Audi pre-sense city with AEB and pedestrian detection to name just a few. Then of course there’s Exit warning, lest you or one of your passengers open the door into a bike or moving car, and Turn assist to stop turning into the path of an on-coming vehicle.

Additional packages are available, with a Comfort package, Technik package and S line style package all allowing owners to tailor the Q5 to their particular lifestyle and needs. Adaptive air suspension is also available as an option for the first time in the Q5 range, and the list of standard equipment is impressive, adding as much as $7000 additional equipment over the first generation Audi Q5 (based on the 2.0 TDI/TFSI S tronic quattro sport model equipment).

The result then, is a vehicle that does everything superbly well – offering car-like driving dynamics, with SUV interior accommodation, luggage room and versatility. The legacy of the original Q5 is upheld, but the new model is not so much a sequel as a classic in its own right.

Fans of the original Audi Q5 will be thrilled with this incarnation, which is also bound to win a whole new legion of fans.