The 2021 Audi Q5 is on its way with some significant cosmetic changes, but perhaps more importantly, there will be an improved plug-in hybrid variant for the Q5 but unfortunately not until after market launch. The new Q5 will go on sale in the UK by the end of this summer.
The facelifted Q5 family will also get the latest Audi infotainment and safety technology, further modernising the platform that first arrived in the UK in 2016. And Audi is rightly proud of its new OLED taillight technology that allows the buyer to choose one of a few rear illuminated signatures – a unique opportunity to individualise.
Most obviously, the Q5 family gets a significant raft of visual alterations. Up front, the large grille has been refined somewhat, with a thinner outside frame that no longer butts up against the headlights. Standard LED high and low beams and a more intricate daytime running lamp design tie the SUV in with the bombastic RS6 Avant sport estate, at least on the District Green Q5 S-Line Audi showed off. The new Q5’s front appearance also seems to fall in line with new styling features seen on the 2019 Q3, as well as the recently updated 2020 Q7.
That optional S-Line exterior package also includes an aggressive hexagonal grille texture that we think looks great on the small luxury SUV, along with bold air intakes in the bumper corners and a front “skid plate” rendered in gloss black. An “advanced line” exterior package is standard, boasting vertical chrome grille bars and silver accents in the front and rear bumpers that recall the Allroad family. Advanced line SUVs will be available with new 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheel designs, while the S-Line gets standard 19- or optional 20-inch wheels.
The rear of the Q5 sees fewer changes relative to the outgoing 2020 Q5. Most obviously, the taillights are new, boasting OLED technology that, for now, is kept exclusive to the SQ5 in the US. These OLEDs feature one of four rear lighting designs that the owner can choose when ordering their new SUV, although we wonder if the design can be changed after purchase.
Audi’s innovative Matrix LED technology is also available on the Q5, coming standard on the mid-spec S line and Edition 1 models. The top of the range Vorsprung trim will also receive dynamic front turn signals and “leaving home” headlight/taillight animations – a slightly tacky feature that we can’t help but like.
The Electric Company
Available at a later date the Audi Q5 plug-in hybrid will return with a choice of two outputs. In the meantime, the Q5 will have its market launch with an up-rated 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with peak power increased from 187 bhp to 201 bhp, and peak torque of 400 Nm. Models with the 40 TDI designation will be available with quattro all-wheel-drive in addition to a mild hybrid system that uses a belt-driven starter/generator energy recuperation system.
In conjunction with a compact lithium-ion battery the mild hybrid system enables the Audi Q5 to coast with the engine off at speeds of up to 99 mph, and initiates its start-stop function earlier, from speeds of 13 mph, to give an additional boost to fuel economy. TFSI engines will ultimately be available for the updated Q5 as well.
For some reason, many luxury automakers are content to make some active safety features optional, but the Audi Q5 won’t be counted among them. Lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and blind spot monitoring are now standard on the base Sport trim, while Vorsprung trim get adaptive cruise control, active lane keeping, and a top-view camera system. These features join the already-standard Audi Pre Sense City suite, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Every 2021 Q5 will also come standard with the company’s latest infotainment package called MIB 3 (shared with most other new Audi products), displayed on a new 10.1-inch touchscreen. MIB 3 boasts 10 times as much processing power as its predecessor, and it now offers cloud-based vehicle customisation – if you get into another Audi with MIB 3, you can download your vehicle preferences by logging into the infotainment system. Audi has done away with its rotary controller for the Multimedia Interface, instead relying on the larger touchscreen for inputs.
The all-digital Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster now becomes standard throughout the range, and Audi Smartphone Interface, which enables the central screen to be given over to the user’s smartphone display, provides direct access to many of the handset‘s key apps.
The 2021 Audi Q5 will start at £42,950 OTR in its most basic form, which is quite a hike compared to its predecessor at £39,425 in spite of more technology and standard equipment. The Q5 40 TDI models will hit the UK market at the end of this summer, meaning we’ll have to wait until at least October for the TFSI and hybrid models. With a few thoughtful updates and aggressive pricing, the popular Audi SUV should do well for the company’s bottom line too.
Gallery: 2021 Audi Q5
THE MIDSIZE SUV SEEN IN A NEW LIGHT – THE NEW GENERATION AUDI Q5
Highlights of restyled and more comprehensively equipped Audi SUV include new touch-screen functionality and OLED lighting technology
- Updated Audi Q5 range available in the UK later this summer priced from £42,950 OTR
- Sport, S line, Vorsprung and new Edition 1 specification options
- Sharper new look – next generation digital OLED lighting for Vorsprung versions
- Upgraded cabin incorporating latest touch-screen MMI Touch functionality
- MMI Navigation Plus, Audi connect and Audi Virtual Cockpit now standard range-wide
- Lighter, cleaner and more powerful 2.0 TDI for first phase – more options, including two plug-in hybrid TFSI e variants, to follow
Ingolstadt, June 29, 2020 – The Audi Q5 is adapting to the fast-changing digital landscape by venturing into new technological territory – the successful midsize SUV has been extensively updated inside and out, with highlights including the latest Audi touch-screen MMI Touch control in the cabin and new next generation digital OLED exterior lighting for top-tier versions as a first in the automotive sector. In keeping with the Vorsprung durch Technik philosophy the functional improvements that bring the Q5 back to its peak technologically go hand in hand with refinements to its form designed to further emphasise its genetic ties to the now five-strong Audi Q model family. Due to make landfall in the UK in the autumn, the upgraded Q5 will initially be available here with the familiar Sport, S line and Vorsprung specification options, and also in exclusive Edition 1 form for the first time.
“The Q5 struck a chord with UK buyers even before SUVs became such a dominant force here, and I think its inherent suitability for our way of life is key to its consistent popularity,” says Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle.
“It offers durability and ample capacity for a demanding family without being overbearing on UK roads, and its refinement, efficiency, technology and quality finish give it impressive business transport credentials, particularly in TDI and TFSI e plug-in hybrid forms. The many improvements our customers will find in this latest incarnation will help it fulfil both these roles even more capably.”
The exterior design: Audi Q design language now even more distinctive
Specific hallmarks distinguish the latest members of the growing Audi Q family from the core range, and the updated Q5 now moves more closely into step with them visually. Although the width and height of the midsize SUV remain as before at 1.89 metres and 1.66 metres respectively, it is now 19 millimetres longer at 4.8 metres, primarily due to its new, larger bumpers. To emphasise its Q credentials from the front its octagonal Singleframe is shallower and appears wider than before, and the air intakes that flank it have grown in height and are now structured by trapezoidal insets. In S line, Edition 1 and top-tier Vorsprung models the grille within the Singleframe also has a honeycomb design.
The upper sections of the LED headlamps which now replace the Xenon units as part of the entry level Sport specification feature a new signature for their daytime running lights, while in S line and Edition 1 models distinctively designed Matrix LED headlamps that were previously reserved for Vorsprung versions are now standard. In profile the latest Q5 has a more streamlined look thanks largely to its redesigned sill insert, and that sleeker air is carried through to the rear with the help of a new chrome trim element running between the light clusters and a new diffuser insert finished in either Selenite silver, matt brushed aluminium or Titanium black depending on model.
UK range debut for Edition 1 model
In keeping with the structure elsewhere in the Audi range S line specification brings privacy glass and an exclusive design for the front and rear bumpers and side skirts, and these elements also form the basis for the look of the Edition 1 version, which is new to the latest range in the UK. By upsizing to an exclusive matt black, diamond cut 20-inch Audi Sport alloy wheel and adding a black styling pack that gives a lustrous Titanium black or High gloss black finish to everything from the window and grille surrounds to the door mirror housings and the Audi rings, the Edition 1 delivers much of the visual appeal of the Vorsprung model at a price point that is closer to the mid-range S line. It is available in a choice of glacier white or mythos black paint finishes, or in the new shades district green and ultra blue.
Naturally, visual impact remains strongest in the Vorsprung version, thanks to its larger 21-inch diamond cut Audi Sport alloy wheels in gloss anthracite black, its running boards and its new tail lights, which employ next generation OLED technology as a world first in the automotive sector. Exclusive to this version in the UK, the lights are equipped with extremely efficient organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that generate a homogenous light surface. Each is split into three tiles of six segments each, which enables Audi designers and developers to create different light designs and signatures from a single item of hardware.
“In addition to perfect contrast, the benefits of digital OLED are a high level of homogeneity and minimal gap between the segments,” explains Stephan Berlitz, head of development, light innovation at Audi. “Looking to the future, digital OLED is therefore the perfect technology for executing personalised light design with a high degree of precision and extensive variability. This technology offers all sorts of opportunities for further development.”
Customers opting for the Q5 Vorsprung will be able to choose from three light signature designs for the OLED rear lamps at the point of order, each also featuring a different configuration for its coming and leaving home sequence. All three options include another feature that is exclusive to the OLED units – proximity sensors illuminate all the OLED segments if another road user is detected witin a two-metre radius of a stationary Q5. When the Q5 starts to move, its original light signature is reinstated.
The interior design: a light touch and first-class quality
Inside, the expansive sweep of the two-section dashboard bisected by its sculpted trim inlay will be familiar to Q5 drivers, as will the freestanding MMI display. Closer inspection will reveal that the monitor itself is now larger, measuring 10.1 inches diagonally across the range, versus either seven inches or 8.3 inches depending on specification in the outgoing model, and that the rotary controller in the centre console which originally acted as the gateway to the MMI functions displayed on the screen is now absent, replaced by a storage compartment.
With the help of the third-generation Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB 3), a powerful new processor offering ten times more computing power than its prededessor, infotainment functions are now literally at the driver’s fingertips via the central touch-screen MMI Touch display, which gives acoustic feedback to acknowledge commands entered manually, and can also process a vast array of everyday instructions given verbally. In conjunction with MMI navigation plus, which was previously exclusive to Vorsprung versions but is now fitted as standard to all three trim lines, the voice-control system can also access the cloud to optimise its scope for comprehension of spoken instructions.
The richly detailed navigation mapping delivered by MMI navigation plus appears on the freestanding central screen and also extends for the full length of the 12.3-inch fully digital Audi Virtual Cockpit display directly ahead of the driver, which in the UK is another previously Vorsprung-specific feature that now becomes standard throughout the range. In the latest model it appears as the Audi Virtual Cockpit plus featuring two additional display options selectable by the driver via the MMI. Also common to all versions is the Audi Smartphone Interface, which enables the central screen to be given over to the user’s smartphone display and to provide direct access to many of the handset‘s key apps.
Audi connect is part and parcel of the MMI navigation plus package, meaning that all versions of the latest Q5 can network closely with the internet and traffic infrastructure, and can display high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth, lane-by-lane information on traffic flow and traffic forecasts in real time. Internet connectivity also brings on board over 80,000 additional ‘skills’ offered by Amazon’s cloud-based Alexa voice control system, enabling the driver to ask Alexa to place an order from the car, stream a favourite playlist or audiobook or control a smart device at home while on the move.
Travellers in the updated Q5 can enjoy its technological gains from the comfort of front sport seats upholstered in Twin Leather in the lead-in Sport model, Alcantara and leather in the S line variant or diamond stitched Fine Nappa leather in the Edition 1 and top flight Vorsprung. As befits their status the Vorsprung models also feature an extended upholstery pack which takes in the lower section of the centre console and the door armrests, plus full electric adjustment and a massage function for the front seats. The outer rear seats are also upgraded with heating to match the front seats which are heated throughout the range.
This attention to detail sets the tone for the Vorsprung version as a whole. With features such as electric steering wheel adjustment, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, a head-up display, Audi Phone Box wireless handset charging and Advanced Key access with electric hands-free boot opening, it offers an exceptionally well-rounded and inclusive equipment list.
That list also includes virtually every driver assistance feature available in the Q5 range. Front and rear parking sensors complemented by a reversing camera, cruise control, the Pre sense city collision avoidance and mitigation system and hill descent control are common to all versions, but the Q5 Vorsprung supplements these with upgraded adaptive cruise control and Pre sense systems as well as assistants to take care of everything from manoevring into a parking space and then reversing out again to turning at junctions, monitoring blindspots and observing motorway lane boundaries. Its extensive list also includes the predictive efficiency assistant, which automatically adjusts the driving speed to suit the situation, the topography of the route, speed limits and road users driving ahead, helping to reduce fuel consumption by as much as ten percent.
The long 2.82-metre wheelbase of the updated Q5 facilitates spacious interior proportions and ample luggage space accessible through the powered tailgate which is another range-wide standard feature. With all five seats in place luggage space measures up to 550 litres, or 1,550 litres with the rear bench folded – these figures are based on the Vorsprung version with its standard sliding rear bench seat plus, which has a 40:20:40 configuration and offers a movable seat base and adjustable backrest angle in the interest of both passenger comfort and maximum load accommodation.
Driveline: powerful performance, low emissions
A broad spread of TDI and TFSI engines will ultimately be available for the updated Q5, and the successful Q5 TFSI e plug-in hybrid will also be reinstated with a choice of two outputs, but the first wave of the newcomers will carry the 40 TDI quattro badge exclusively, meaning that they are equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with peak power increased from 190PS to 204PS, and peak torque of 400Nm.
The unit’s upgraded output goes hand-in-hand with improved efficiency, which is reflected in its compliance with the requirements of the latest Euro 6d-ISC-FCM emissions standard and EU 6 A, and has been achieved with the help of a new twin-dosing SCR system with dual AdBlue injection that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide emissions. It is also now in even better shape physically - its aluminium crankcase weighs approximately 20 kilograms less than before, and around 2.5 kilograms has been pared from the weight of its crankshaft - so in conjunction with a seven-speed S tronic transmission it makes lighter work of propelling the midsize SUV to 62mph from rest in 7.6 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 137mph where conditions allow.
Two further supporting technologies play to the strengths of the inherently efficient TDI – a mild hybrid system (MHEV) and the latest on-demand version of quattro all-wheel-drive. Employing a belt-driven starter/generator (BSG) the MHEV system recuperates energy generated under braking and stores it in a compact lithium-ion battery within the 12-volt electrical circuitry. It enables the Audi Q5 to coast with the engine off at speeds of up to 99mph, and initiates its start-stop function earlier, from speeds of 13mph, to give an additional boost to fuel economy.
During normal everyday driving, the quattro on demand system disengages the rear axle so that the seven-speed S tronic can direct all of the TDI’s power to the front wheels - the most efficient operating mode. If the road conditions dictate, or more is asked of the drivetrain by the driver, two clutches connect the rear wheels to the driveline in fractions of a second – in many situations, this happens predictively – meaning that economy and agility can be given equal billing.
The running gear: even more comfort and agility
The advanced quattro system works in tandem with conventionally sprung and exceptionally lightweight multilink front and rear suspension in Sport, S line and Edition One versions of the updated Q5. It features in standard form in Sport models, and as a firmer sport set-up in the S line and Edition One models. Exclusive to Vorsprung versions is an adaptive air suspension system that can vary the ground clearance of the bodyshell in five stages, which makes it an exceptionally good match for the Q5. It can be controlled by the Audi drive select handling system, which also influences the characteristics of several other technical components and forms part of the standard equipment package for all models. The driver can choose from up to seven profiles, including particularly agile offroad and allroad options where air suspension is fitted.