This is what happens when you put an Audi Q7 on a hot wash! The German brand is upping the ante in the compact SUV sector with its all-new Q5. And these first official pictures will have Land Rover and BMW executives in a sweat.
The newcomer is aimed squarely at the Freelander 2 and X3, combining smart styling with Audi’s famous quattro four-wheel-drive system.
Measuring 4.63 metres, the Q5 is longer than its closest rivals, but bosses claim it will be the sportiest compact SUV around when it hits UK showrooms in September. From the outside there’s no mistaking its distinctive Audi grille, while its optional LED daytime running lights borrow heavily from the new A4.
The rear tailgate is aluminium to reduce weight – just like the bon-
net. LED light clusters provide a striking look at the back. A pair of alloy roof rails boosts practicality, while an extra-large panoramic sunroof features on the options list.
Buyers will get the choice of three exterior packages. Standard Q5s feature black body trim, but customers will also be able to select a full body-colour option or even pick a contrasting shade. Alternatively, sporty S Line versions provide a more aggressive look, and an optional off-road package includes beefy underbody protection and bigger alloy wheels.
Audi is famed for its quality interiors and the Q5 won’t disappoint, with wood, aluminium, chrome, leather and Alcantara all featuring inside.
A gearshift indicator in the instrument panel helps you select the most economical ratio, and the brand’s clever MMI interface controls major functions via an integrated screen on the centre console. There’s also a space-saving electronic parking brake.
The Q5 scores for practicality, too, as the rear seat backs tilt, and an optional sliding bench is available to boost loadspace or rear legroom. The 540-litre boot can’t match the Freelander 2 (755 litres), but it trumps the 480 litres available in the BMW X3 and extends to 1,560 litres if you fold the rear seats.
Extras include an A6 Avant-style load-securing system, which uses floor-mounted rails to stop small items from sliding around. The extensive options list includes everything from a folding front passenger seat to a climate-controlled cup-holder and powered tailgate.
To ensure that the Q5 is better to drive than its rivals, Audi Drive Select allows owners to tune the suspension settings. Meanwhile, the firm’s Dynamic Steering system varies the gearing of the rack, depending on road speed, and can even apply corrective inputs to improve on-the-limit safety.
A trio of engines is available, comprising one petrol and a pair of oil-burners. The revamped 2.0-litre T FSI unit delivers 208bhp and 350Nm of torque, taking the Q5 from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds and giving 27.6mpg. The 168bhp 2.0 TDI returns 35.1mpg, while the flagship 236bhp 3.0 TDI does 30.5mpg – and can race from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.
Gearbox options include a conventional six-speed manual, although a seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic will be available on the 2.0T FSI and 3.0 TDI models.
Quattro all-wheel drive ensures excellent traction on and off-road, and hill descent control is fitted as standard. Prices are yet to be con-firmed, but entry-level models will start from less than £30,000