Audi has a lot to thank itself for when it comes to its Q5 SUV. It debuted in North America in 2009 and since then, the vehicle has been a top performer for the company. In fact, it’s the brand’s top-selling model. You may be surprised to learn, however, that it hasn’t changed much since it first debuted. While some would argue there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken, Audi decided to significantly revamp the Q5 for 2018. It features new exterior and interior styling, additional technology, a more powerful engine and a new suite of driver assistance systems. The company says the upgraded vehicle sets a new standard for the luxury SUV segment.
The Audi Q5 SUV’s exterior was redesigned for 2018 to give the vehicle a sportier look. It features enhanced lines including a flat, “coupe-like roof line coupled with a strong, wave-design shoulder line and pronounced wheel arches which emphasize the standard quattro all-wheel drive.” The all-new front fascia features a three-dimensional grille and horizontal lines that emphasize the vehicle’s width. Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights come standard while full LED headlights are available. In the rear, there are standard LED taillights with dynamic rear turn signals. The aerodynamics of the Q5 have also been improved. The side view mirrors have been moved from the A-pillars to the doors, which the company says reduces wind resistance and decreases noise levels, resulting in a quieter cabin.
Audi says the 2018 Q5 offers more interior space than the previous generation. There’s more legroom and shoulder room as well as increased cargo space with the second row folded down. The company says the wing-design wraparound dashboard also helps make the interior feel more spacious. The updated Q5 features a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles. It comes with standard ambient LED lighting or if you’re really into setting the mood, you can opt for a more extensive ambient lighting package with 30 color settings. A panoramic sunroof comes standard on Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
When it comes to technology, the revamped Q5 does not miss a beat. It features the available Audi virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch color display. The system uses Google Earth images to enhance the infotainment viewing and navigating experience. There’s also an available full-color head-up display that projects crucial driving information in the driver’s field of vision. Available for the first time in the Q5 model line is MMI all-in touch with handwriting-recognition technology. The integrated touchpad also recognizes certain gestures including pinch-to-zoom. When it comes to smart phones, the Q5 features Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto compatibility. USB ports help keep your lifelines charged during long drives. If you’re a big music person, you’ll have no problem jamming out with an available 19 speaker, 755 watt Band & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound.
The 2018 Q5 gets a redeveloped powertrain. It comes equipped with a new 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine. It’s paired with a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. It churns out 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. Audi says that’s 1.1 seconds faster than the Q5’s predecessor. Not bad!
The 2018 Q5 features a redesigned front five-link suspension, making for a more comfortable ride. There’s also an available comfort adaptive damping suspension. The wheel-selective suspension system uses continuous damper control, “to enable various suspension and damping combinations that make up the Audi drive select modes.” Five drive select modes now come standard on all Audi Q5 models. They are comfort, auto, dynamic, off-road and individual. The driver can choose the option that best fits their driving situation.
We also can’t forget to point out the Q5’s new quattro all-wheel drive system with ultra technology. Audi says it’s optimized for performance and efficiency.
“With the ability to disengage the rear drive shaft, this new system adds the benefit of fully variable torque distribution and increased efficiency by only driving the rear wheels when needed,” said Anthony Garbis, product manager for Audi of America. “Utilizing multiple sensors in the vehicle to determine when quattro will be needed, it is engaged before the driving situation requires it. The result is the performance you’d expect from Audi along with improved efficiency.”
The 2018 Q5 features a new suite of driver assistance systems designed to help drivers confidently navigate the road and traffic. Some cool features include Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense city. They both come standard on all Q5 models. If you’re about to get into a collision, Audi pre sense basic prepares the vehicle for impact. It begins to close the side windows and panoramic sunroof. Audi pre sense city helps detect pedestrians as well as cornering and stationary vehicles. When a potential collision is detected, Audi says it can initiate full braking at speeds of up to 52 mph. Other available driver assistance systems include turn assist, traffic jam assist, vehicle exit assist and rear cross traffic assist.
The 2018 Q5 made its United States debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. It will arrive in dealerships in the spring. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price has yet to be released. However, the current Q5 starts at $40,900 so you can expect it to be priced similarly. The company says the changes it made to the Q5 make it sportier, more versatile and more fun to drive. While some believe it’s best not to mess with a good thing, Audi maintains that the adjustments only make the company’s best even better. Audi’s hope, of course, is that the Q5 continues to be a strong performer for the company for years to come.