Audi sold immense numbers of the first Q5. Small wonder the new one is only cautiously different. But different it is, even so.
The skin, believe it or not, is all-new. The platform is strongly evolved. The engines and chassis are primped too. Inside we find more space in the rear, and Audi’s super-swish switches and virtual cockpit displays for the driver.
Last year’s A4 and this year’s A5 define the character. So Audi makes big claims for quietness (a strong point in those existing cars) and connectivity (ditto).
It’s about 90kg lighter than the old one, spec for spec. The Cd is down to 0.30 for the four-cylinders, the first to launch. So that’ll make life easier for the engines. They are boosted to 190bhp for the base diesel, and 252bhp for the 2.0 petrol. In both cases, the rear drive fully disengages to save fuel, then automatically returns in moments of traction duress.
Later a V6 diesel arrives, at 286bhp. It can be had with an optional torque-apportioning ‘sport’ rear differential, something new to the Q5.
Chassis options include adaptive dampers and a self-levelling air suspension which will no doubt be popular for people who tow stuff. Please not caravans. It also allows low riding for cruising aero, and high clearance for off-road.
Driver aids go all the way up to self-steering and complete speed control at traffic-congestion speeds.
Meanwhile, a series of stepped options in connectivity goes as far as a built-in 4G SIM that’ll provide onboard wi-fi. That top-end navigation system can, if you give it clearance, store where you go and when. It’ll use that to predict where you might go next, and suggest the best route to swerve traffic.
But obviously as it’s a lifestyle sports-utility vehicle, you won’t be driving anywhere near traffic. You’ll be swooping along empty mountain tracks on the way to your hang-gliding lift-off. Won’t you?