Another day, another facelift. Today it’s the turn of the Q5, Audi’s answer to the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC and, by all accounts, a pretty good car.
Looks much the same as the old one, though keen eyes may notice the shallower, wider grille, bigger side air intakes and redesigned sills (that give the impression of more ground clearance). The headlights are de rigueur LEDs with new DRLs. Around back a chrome strip connects the new taillights and the lower bumper has been restyled.
Ah yes, the taillights. OLED tech allows for a more intricate design, of which there are three to choose from. Each one gets its own lock/unlock animation, and the signature changes if you pop the car into ‘Dynamic’ mode. There’s proximity detection too – if another car gets within two metres of the Q5 when you’re stopped at a junction, for example, ALL the rear lights illuminate.
Inside the infotainment has been swapped for Audi’s latest MMI system. You know what that means – the excellent rotary controller has been ditched in favour of a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Happily the superb Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster remains.
We’re promised the new setup is “extremely easy to use” thanks to a new ‘flat’ menu structure. And with ten times the computing power of the old system, it can do many more things. It works with Amazon Alexa and in some cities can even talk to traffic lights, give you a countdown ‘till red or green and tell you how fast you’ll need to drive to, in Audi’s words, “surf the green wave”.
Like with the new Golf, a load of settings – from frequent sat-nav destinations to your driving position – can be uploaded to the cloud for use in other Audis.
The launch engine for the facelifted Q5 is a mild-hybrid 2.0-litre diesel with ‘twin-dosing’ tech to significantly cut NOx emissions. Called the 40 TDI, it makes 201bhp and 400Nm for 0-100kph in a respectable 7.6 seconds. A seven-speed auto drives the front wheels only most of the time, but when the going gets slippy the rears are called into play.
Other engines, including four-cylinder petrols, a V6 diesel and the SQ5, are coming later.