The new Audi Q5 SUV comes with striking new looks, but the characteristics that made the original such a hit with family buyers are still there. The new tech and interior bring it up to speed with rivals such as the classy Mercedes GLC, sporty Jaguar F-Pace and the BMW X3 which is the oldest car in this company but remains one of the best.
Inside, the Q5 gets the same well-made cabin that was first seen in the A4 saloon. Of course, the more options you spec, the nicer it becomes, but the space for four adults and a large, usable boot are there even if you resist the temptation to throw wads of cash into options.
Much like the interior, there are few surprises out on the road. You come to expect Audis to be confident, capable, easy and, well, a bit boring to drive, and the Q5 is no different. It isn’t destined for a racetrack (not a revelation) so a lively chassis and tantalising steering response are deemed as secondary requirements.
The Q5 is one of the best cars in the SUV class – the only bad thing is that it's a bit expensive
What’s had more focus is the choice of engines – you can pick between three engines from launch but they have been selected very carefully – the 2.0-litre diesel will take the lion’s share of sales thanks to its balance of frugality and reasonable pace, while the 3.0-litre diesel serves as an unassuming rocketship until the SQ5 performance variant arrives. A 2.0-litre petrol rounds off the range providing a hushed alternative to the diesel and one that will make sense if you have a low annual mileage.
Trim levels are yet to be finalised but expect the Q5 to follow Audi’s familiar range structure comprising basic SE, mid-range Sport and top-of-the-line S line. Expect all models to come with sat-nav and climate control, Sport to feature a better infotainment system and leather upholstery, and S line will add to that with an eye-catching bodykit, large wheels and sporty interior trims.
The original Q5 was on sale for seven years and racked up more than 1.6 million global sales, so a replacement was a matter of when and not if. And, given that the old car was such a success, the new model was always going to offer evolution rather than revolution.
As such it brings a fresh exterior design, a class-leading interior, plus updated engines that are faster and more frugal than before. It puts the spotlight firmly on the BMW X3 which is starting to look a little old hat in this class.