What is it?
The Audi Q5, a decent, nicely built but somewhat unspectacular SUV, is Audi’s best-selling car these days. Some 1.6 million Q5s have found homes since the models' 2008 launch, covering a period coinciding with Audi’s vast growth.
And now there is a new one. On a business level this thing really matters, even if the heartstrings aren’t exactly strumming along at the news in the way the noise of an old Quattro Group B rally car would elicit.
So popular has the Q5 been that Audi has built a new factory in Mexico just to manufacture it, some 150,000 a year at first. This plant will be the global production hub for the Q5 and is the first factory Audi has constructed outside of Europe to export to a global market.
The new workers in the factory will be building a car that ticks all the usual new car boxes of a fresh exterior look, plusher interior, lighter body and more efficient engines.
In the Q5’s case, that weight saving comes from the adoption of the new mixed-material MLB Evo platform, already seen in other guises on the A4, A5 and Q7. It’s said to be up to 90kg lighter than the current model despite a slight increase in footprint, and that weight saving teams up with a more aerodynamic body for even greater efficiency.
The initial engine line-up includes a 2.0-litre diesel with 187bhp and a 2.0-litre petrol with 249bhp, with a range-topping 282bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel due to follow very soon after launch. Quattro four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox is standard on Q5s that will reach the UK.
We’ll have to wait until later in 2017 for the fruitier SQ5 model, which is set to get a more potent version of the 3.0 V6 diesel. A plug-in hybrid model is also in development.
We haven’t seen any indication of pricing yet, but expect an entry price of around £38,000 when sales start in the UK early next year. There are three trim levels, SE, Sport and S Line, with equipment levels expected to closely match those of the A4.