The new Q5 will switch to the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform for models with a longitudinal engine layout, as used by the latest A4. The move to the lighter architecture has allowed Audi to pack in more luxury and safety equipment while still delivering weight savings, with some sources suggesting the new car will be about 100kg lighter than the model it replaces, with the leanest editions weighing 1620kg.That could make Audi’s SUV about 200kg lighter than the Mercedes GLC, a key rival.
Most Q5s will be four-wheel drive, but more basic engine options are likely to be offered with front-wheel drive as well. The new A4’s four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are likely to be carried over to the Q5 without major modifications, while the petrol V6 — still a key motor for the US market but unlikely to be offered in the UK — is part of a joint project with Porsche. Entry-level front-wheel-drive four-cylinder models will come with the lowest CO2 emissions.
The new A4’s suspension set-up — a five-link system at both the front and rear — will be retained, but the Q5 will also be offered with self-levelling air suspension. Engineers will use the new MLB platform to reduce the Q5’s front overhang and lengthen its wheelbase, so while the car will have broadly the same exterior dimensions as the outgoing model, there should be more interior space on offer, particularly in the rear.
Spy shots show that the Q5 will get chunkier looks than the poorly received current Q7, with notable wheelarch flares and a stronger shoulder crease running along the flanks. Its roofline is that of a conventional SUV, though — a sign that Audi still plans to slot in a more rakish, stylefocused Q4 model to take on the Range Rover Evoque.
The new Q5’s cabin will draw heavily on that of the A4, including the same Nvidia graphics processors in the dashboard. They will allow the Q5 to be offered with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument panel and to use Google Maps in its navigation system.
The success of the RS-badged Q3 — and the fact that Mercedes has already confirmed an AMG version of its GLC — has convinced Audi to build a Quattro GmbH-tuned version of the Q5. It will get a twin-turbo version of the newV6 petrol engine, producing up to 500bhp and delivering a 0-62mph time of about 4.5sec. It will also feature stiffer chassis settings and a more aggressive shift mode on its automatic transmission.
That will allow the more ‘mainstream’ performance Q5, the SQ5, to continue as a diesel. The 306bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine in the current SQ5 will be retuned to produce about 325bhp.
Audi is expected to unveil the new Q5 in the second half of the year, perhaps as one of its big debuts at the Paris motor show in the autumn, with sales due before the end of the year. The new car will be built in Mexico, as well as in China and India.