2018 Audi Q5 Sneak Peek
Mexico-Built SUV Bows in Paris
There’s no need to beat the dead horse repeating the importance of crossovers and SUVs to brands’ sales success, especially in the luxury segment, so we’ll spare you from our usual opening monologue. In the specific instance of the Audi Q5, the debut of the next-generation model carries special significance for the brand on multiple fronts. It is the brand’s first Mexico-built model, it will likely be sold without a TDI diesel option in North America, and it will likely continue to be Audi’s best-selling model in the U.S. market.
Like most Audi models, styling changes are subtle and evolutionary, while managing to be fresh and contemporary. The new Q5 is instantly recognizable for what it is. The overall proportions and shape carry on, with a sharper, sportier visage and an updated interior with added tech integration. In this day of distracted driving, safety is obviously a high priority, and the new Q5 features numerous active safety features. The big development for the 2018 model is a weight loss of nearly 200 pounds, thanks to a combination of aluminum and high-strength steel in the body.
On the powertrain front, the new Q5 offers two TDI diesel engines and one TFSI gas turbo engine. A high-performance SQ5 model is expected shortly after the debut of the mainstream model and will likely feature a turbocharged and electrically supercharged 3.0L V-6 with as much or more than 500 lb-ft of torque. However, for mainstream models, a gasoline V-6 is no longer on the menu. The 3.0L TDI V-6 continues as an option for European and global models, but the sole engine option at launch in the U.S. for the Q5 is likely to be Audi’s tried-and-true 2.0L TFSI I-4 making 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, mated to Audi’s seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission. A plug-in hybrid option is likely down the road or could be obviated completely by an all-electric model at some point.
In terms of technology, the new Q5 features an available predictive route assist for commonly driven routes and destinations to suggest an optimized route based on prevailing traffic patterns. Qi wireless mobile phone charging and a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system is available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is now standard. Rear seat passengers can enjoy entertainment options courtesy of the Audi Tablet, a flat-screen rear-seat entertainment device.
More details on the U.S.-spec model are expected at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Sales are expected to start in spring 2017 for all markets.