Static photo, Colour: Garnet red

Static photo, Colour: Garnet red

After months of spyshots and teasers, we finally get a good look at the new 2017 Audi Q5. The popular SUV has been unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, and promises to be bigger, more spacious and lighter than before – and with more technologies on board.

How much lighter? Built on a revised MLB Evo platform, the new Q5 is up to 90 kg lighter than before, thanks to the use of steel with maximum tensile strength as well as aluminium in the mix. This is despite the new car being larger in almost every dimension, at 4.66 metres long, 1.89 metres wide and 1.66 metres tall, with a wheelbase of 2.82 metres.

The design is pretty much as you’d expect – the proportions are more or less identical to the outgoing model, and Audi has sprinkled some design touches from the bigger Q7. At the front, there’s the massive flat singleframe grille, with a thick frame that is joined to the trapezoidal headlights – available in either LED or Matrix LED with sequential indicators.

Static photo, Colour: Florett silver

Static photo, Colour: Florett silver

Along the side, the Q5 gets an undulating shoulder line reminiscent of the A5, with strong haunches that reference the quattro all-wheel drive system. The rear end will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s owned a current Q5, although the LED tail lights get a more angular look, and a new diffuser insert integrates the exhaust exits. Four-cylinder models boast an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.30 Cd.

As on newer Audis, there are new design and sport equipment lines, with the former getting contrasting grey exterior trim to give a more rugged look, and the latter sporting these parts in full body colour. Also available are the design selection line, S line exterior package and the S line sport package, and buyers can choose from 14 different exterior colours, as well as wheels ranging from 17 to 21 inches in diameter.

Inside, the Q5’s horizontal dashboard design is shared with the A4, A5 and Q7, although it doesn’t get the full-width air vent design of the others; the new steering wheel also has a smaller centre boss. Options include the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit display, MMI navigation plus with an 8.3-inch screen and MMI touch (larger touchpad with haptic feedback on models with an automatic gearbox) and a head-up display.

Interior

Interior

Like the Q7 and A4, the Q5 has a self-learning personal route assist function in the navigation system, which can learn the driver’s preferred route and suggest optimised route planning.

Other new features include an Audi connect module with LTE and a WiFi hotspot, an Audi phone box with Qi wireless charging, a Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and the Audi tablet from the Q7, used as a rear-seat entertainment device.

Audi claims the new Q5 surpasses the old car and its competitors in key interior dimensions. The boot is 10 litres larger than the outgoing model, at 550 litres, and it can be expanded to 610 litres depending on the position of the optional reclinable and sliding rear seat. Alternatively, you can fold the 40:20:40-split rear seats to boost cargo room to 1,550 litres. There’s a variable folding mat and an optional handsfree tailgate too.

Dynamic photo, Colour: Florett silver

Dynamic photo, Colour: Florett silver

The Q5 comes with a number of new driver assist and safety systems, with Audi pre sense city with autonomous braking fitted as standard. Other features include adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, Audi active lane assist, cross traffic assist rear, exit warning, collision avoidance assist, turn assist, fuel-saving predictive efficiency assistant, park assist, traffic sign recognition and hill descent assist.

Engines include a redeveloped 252 hp 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine that delivers a fuel economy figure of 6.8 litres per 100 km. On the diesel side, the 2.0 litre TDI is available in 150 hp, 163 hp and 190 hp flavours, while a revised 3.0 litre TDI V6 produces 286 hp and a thumping 620 Nm.

Those engines are mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox, a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission or, on the 3.0 TDI, an eight-speed automatic. The last two have a fuel-saving freewheeling function, activated either using the gearlever or the paddle shifters.

quattro with ultra technology

quattro with ultra technology

Quattro all-wheel drive with ultra technology, which disengages the rear axle when not needed, is standard on the 163 hp and 190 hp 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI mills, and an option on the base 2.0 TDI. All models get torque vectoring, and the 3.0 TDI with permanent quattro can also be optioned with a sport rear differential that distributes torque optimally between the rear wheels.

Under the skin are new five-link suspensions and a new electromechanical power steering system, with dynamic steering with variable ratios available as an option. Also available are adaptive damping and – a first for the Q5 – full adaptive air suspension. The Audi drive select has up to seven drive modes, including the new lift/offroad and allroad modes.

Built at a new plant in Mexico, the Q5 will arrive in Europe in early-2017, with the base Q5 2.0 TDI 163 hp quattro S tronic model priced at €45,100 (RM209,360).