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Paris show: Audi sharpens Q5

5 alive: The new-gen Q5 brings a more defined look than the outgoing model and will continue the fight with BMW, Mercedes and Land Rover, among others in the premium mid-size SUV segment.

Second-generation Audi Q5 maintains familiar look but brings big tech changes

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Audi logo30 Sep 2016

AUDI’S highly anticipated second-generation Q5 has finally been revealed at the Paris motor show, ushering in an evolutionary design and new levels of connectivity, safety and fuel efficiency compared with the ageing model it replaces.

The German car-maker’s Australian outpost has confirmed a local launch in the second half of 2017, but specification, powertrain choices and pricing will be held back until closer to the launch.

Audi says the Q5 will be built at its newly constructed factory in Mexico and it will be underpinned by the Volkswagen Group MLBevo platform that forms the basis for the A4, Q7 and next-gen A8, as well as the Bentley Bentayga.

The new-gen mid-size SUV carries the same basic shape as the outgoing seven-and-a-half year-old model and is instantly recognisable as an Audi Q5.

It does, however, have a much sharper and more defined design than the model it replaces, replicating the styling strategy Audi employed for the second-gen Q7 last year.

Up front, Audi’s familiar Singleframe grille dominates with a solid frame and is surrounded by either LED or high-resolution Matrix LED headlights with the dynamic turn lights, depending on the variant.

Audi says the new Q5 stands “at the top of its class” for aerodynamics, with the four-cylinder version achieving a coefficient of 0.30, thanks to the “aerodynamically optimised” roof.

Vibration and wind noise levels are low, according to Audi, which claims the Q5 has the best interior acoustics of any vehicle in its class.

A distinctive, curved shoulder line runs the length of the Q5 and the big wheel-arches are said to reference Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system, while the tail-lights – also available with the dynamic turn signals – are housed in the tailgate, which is a calling card of Q models.

At 4660mm long, 1890mm wide, 1660mm high and with a 2820mm wheelbase, the Q5 is 31mm longer, 8mm narrower and 5mm higher, with a 13mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

Depending on the variant, the Q5 weighs up to 90kg lighter than the first-gen model, thanks in part to a body that is made up of maximum tensile strength steel and aluminium.

The Q5 remains a five-seater and the rear seat is split in to three segments, while longitudinal and seat back angle adjustment is optional for second row passengers.

Audi says the Q5 has more interior space than the previous model, and its key competitors, and that cargo capacity ranges from 550 to 610 litres depending on the variant – 10L more than the old Q5 – which rises to 1550L with the second row folded.

Loading cargo is made easier thanks to an optional sensor controlled power tailgate, while the Q5 can be lowered with the optional air suspension.

Fourteen exterior colours will be offered and it will be available in five newly configured equipment lines, including sport and design, S line sport package, design selection and an S line exterior package.

Some optional features include two versions of a high-efficiency air-conditioner, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, steering wheel heating, a pneumatic massage function and ambient lighting in 30 different colours.

Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – already fitted to the A4, TT and Q7 – with its 12.3-inch screen is available as an option, as is a head-up display, while the 8.3-inch display at the top of the centre stack is linked to the MMI infotainment system that includes a touchpad that recognises handwritten entries and zooming gestures.

A new ‘personal route assist’ sat-nav function learns common routes and destinations and compares the information to the position of the parked car, and the time of day, and suggests the best route at that particular time.

Connectivity gets a big boost and the optional MMI navigation plus allows up to eight mobile devices to be online at once via a WiFi hotspot, and there is inductive phone charging available, as well as access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Audi says the driver assistance systems in the new Q5 represent “a next step towards piloted driving” and are offered in three packages – Tour, City and Parking.

Adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist makes minor steering inputs in slow-moving traffic, while a predictive efficiency assistant helps the driver save fuel using information about the vehicle’s environment.

Other safety functions include lane assist, distance warning alerts, rear cross traffic assist, collision avoidance, park assist, traffic sign recognition and Audi’s pre sense systems are all available, depending on the model grade.

In Europe, the Q5 will be offered with a choice of four TDI turbo-diesel engines and one TFSI turbo-petrol unit, with power increased by up to 20kW across the range, while fuel consumption has been “significantly reduced”, according to Audi.

The 2.0 TDI will be offered in three states of tune – 110kW, 120kW and 140kW – matched with an updated quattro all-wheel drive system and a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The “intensively revised” 3.0 TDI V6 unit punches out 210kW and 620Nm and is paired with an eight-speed S tronic, while the tweaked 2.0 TFSI produces 185kW and consumes 6.8 litres per 100km on the combined Euro cycle, emitting 154g/km of CO2.

Audi is yet to detail further engine variants, but expect a new version of the hugely popular SQ5 diesel performance variant, as well as an electrified e-tron model down the track.

Torque vectoring is fitted to front- and all-wheel-drive variants and the 3.0 TDI can be optioned with a sport differential at the rear axle for quattro versions.

The range features a newly developed five-link suspension setup, a new electromechanical power steering system, optional ‘dynamic steering’ and damper control.

Audi AG chairman of the board of management Rupert Stadler said it was a challenge to produce a replacement for the hugely successful Q5, but added that the new model would take it to the next level.

“The first Audi Q5 was for many years the world’s best-selling SUV in its class. It was no easy task to design its successor, but that is precisely why it is so very exciting,” he said.

“With the new Q5 we are setting the bar a notch higher. Among the great innovations are the quattro drive system with ultra technology, highly efficient engines, the air suspension with damper control and a comprehensive line-up of infotainment and assistance systems.”

The new Q5 will continue to face off against rivals such as the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Lexus NX, Jaguar’s new F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Porshce Macan and Volvo XC60 in the premium mid-size SUCV segment.

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