The second generation of the Audi Q5 is a little more powerful, a little nicer inside and a bit more spacious, and at least 90 kg lighter than the current model.
Audi says it’s the world’s best-selling premium SUV, but that first generation was built on the MLP platform. Now it’s moving to the MLB platform, the same that’s under the A4, which accounts for much of the weight saving.
There were five different engines announced here in Paris, as well as a future plug-in electric, but most were diesels that we’ll probably never see. When it arrives in Canada in the second half of next year, you can expect a boost of about 20 hp.
There’ll also be a base version offered in Europe that’s only front-wheel drive, but that’s unlikely to come to Canada. We’ll get the standard AWD version, and it will uncouple its drive automatically from the rear wheels whenever the extra traction isn’t needed, to save fuel. The truly clever part is that its navigation system will help it predict when AWD would be a good idea, and it’ll switch itself seamlessly then to four powered wheels.
Also in Europe, the Q5 will be linked to other vehicles, even those made by other automakers, including BMW, to share the knowledge of the “Here” network. This allows participating vehicles to share what their sensors know about local driving conditions, including traffic congestion and even available parking spots. “Here” is not yet here in North America, however, and don’t hold your breath waiting for it.
Handling should be improved by the lighter weight and the improved platform, while air suspension will also be offered as an option. There’ll also be more powerful SQ5 and even RSQ5 variants to help boost both acceleration and Audi’s profits.
Inside the Q5, the huge Virtual Cockpit screen will be offered, which replaces the conventional speedometer and tachometer with a fully-digital screen that can even include a Navigation display. Materials will be more refined and generally more “premium” to help keep Audi’s place against competition from Mercedes and BMW.