New Audi Q5 SUV breaks cover at 2016 Paris Show

Audi Q5 – Paris front three quarter

Audi’s new Q5 SUV has made its debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The new mid-size SUV has taken heavy design inspiration from the larger Q7, so design cues like the angular chrome grille and LED headlights feature heavily.

The Q5 is more upmarket and refined than the previous generation to rival newer models such as the Mercedes GLC-Class and an all-new BMW X3 due in 2017. Audi is keeping a familiar design approach and steering it away from the angles of the recently launched Q2.

The second-generation Q5 uses the VW Group’s MLB platform. This is, in effect, the same mechanical make-up of chassis, engines and technology that is used in the already popular MQB set-up, but based around longitudinal engines instead of motors mounted transversely. It’s the same platform that underpins the latest A4, and means the new Q5 is up to 90kg lighter than the model it replaces. This should ensure sharper handling and improved comfort, while air-suspension will be offered as an option.

That will help the SUV’s efficiency, while Audi will also introduce front-wheel-drive to the range for the first time. At launch, the Q5 range will be four-wheel-drive, but the latest version of the quattro system disconnects the rear wheels during everyday driving to save fuel (as in the new A4 Allroad).

Initially there will be five engines available: a 249bhp TFSI petrol, a 2.0 TDI diesel with 148bhp, 161bhp or 187bhp, and a 3.0 TDI with 282bhp. Six-speed manual and seven speed S tronic gearboxes will be offered with the 2.0-litre engines, while the 3.0 TDI has an eight-speed Tiptronic box.

Emissions figures are yet to be confirmed, although the combination of weight saving and greater efficiency should see the 2.0 TDI drop below the 125g/km mark. That’s comfortably clear of the cleanest existing Q5, which emits 147g/km.

On top of the regular range, the hot SQ5 will get a tuned six-cylinder diesel with more than 340bhp, while an RS Q5 will wade in later in 2017 with at least 450bhp from a twin-turbo petrol. There will also be an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid version, mixing turbo petrol power with two electric motors for CO2 emissions of less than 90g/km.

Audi Q5 SUV – interior 2

Some of the biggest changes are made inside, where the Q5 gets an overhaul that brings improved materials, a wider range of finishes to allow greater scope for personalisation, and – thanks to a longer wheelbase – improved knee and legroom for rear occupants.

The car will also receive Audi’s latest technology, with Google Maps-based navigation with smart route planning, the brand’s Virtual Cockpit dashboard and a rear seat tablet-based entertainment system. The new Q5 should arrive in UK dealers in the final quarter of 2016, and prices are expected to start at around £39,000.

Now read our full in-depth review of the Q5’s bigger brother, the Audi Q7.