German manufacturer Audi last night revealed the major facelift to the current second-generation Q5 SUV. The updated Q5, which will arrive in Australia in the first half of 2021, ushers in a range of visual changes outside and in, as well as a suite of more significant technology updates.
The freshened-up 2021 Q5 – which in Audi parlance is referred to as the ‘Q5 Product Improvement’ – has seen its nose and tail tweaked to bring it into line with the brand’s developing design language. The Mexican-assembled Q5 adopts the clamshell bonnet Audi are rolling out across the range, as well as a trapezoidal grille reminiscent of the new Q3, reshaped headlights, and a greater focus on body-coloured panelling: the Q5 is ditching the rugged angle in a change Audi says is driven by the fact that only a minuscule percentage of buyers take this vehicle off-road.
Instead, Audi customers seeking the more rough-and-ready appearance presented by body cladding should direct their attention to the A4 Allroad and A6 Allroad estate car options, says Audi Australia communications manager Shaun Cleary.
While the changes to the rear end are more subtle, new tail light technology now integrates OLED lighting, and Audi are giving customers the ability to select from one of three light signatures that are set from the factory – though Audi concede that within a few years, they expect this feature to be customisable on the fly from within the cabin.
Inside, the Q5 adopts the same changes as the facelifted Audi A4 and A5 passenger cars, which will arrive in Australia before the year is out. Leading these updates is Audi’s decision to ditch rotary controls for their infotainment – a change that has been rolling out since the release of the Q8 SUV in 2018.
While the Q5 facelift doesn’t pick up a completely new interior, unlike the recent comprehensive update to the 2020 Audi Q7, it does score a larger, sharper screen sitting atop the dash. This screen now integrates touch capacity, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto connectivity. Audi’s Connect Plus suite of internet-connected features will also now be available on the Q5.
Engine-wise, Audi’s Australian management has heavily hinted at the return of the current engine lineup that includes two four-cylinder turbo and two six-cylinder turbo engines. “Given the successful lineup that we have, it is unlikely we would make a large departure from our current range,” said Mr Cleary.
On the four-cylinder side, the popular 45 TFSI petrol, a two-litre unit, will see power bumped from 180kW to 183kW while torque remains steady at 370Nm. The four-pot diesel, badged 40 TDI, receives a 10kW power upgrade to 150kW while producing torque of 400Nm. Both four-cylinder units run a 12-volt electrical architecture.
The six-cylinder units introduce mild hybrid tech thanks to a 48-volt electrical system. The Q5 50 TDI three-litre diesel makes 210kW and 600Nm – and while a petrol six is currently on offer in the SQ5 performance variant (making 260kW / 500Nm), it remains to be seen whether the SQ5 will return in this form.
In Europe, the SQ5 is a diesel unit, producing 255kW / 700Nm; Audi fans will recall that the first-generation SQ5 sold in Australia was a similar TDI. Audi Australia are continuing to consider the case for bringing the diesel version in, while the return of the petrol has not been ruled out.
Later, a more athletic-looking iteration called the Q5 Sportback will arrive to compete directly with the BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.
The facelifted 2021 SQ5 has not yet been unveiled; Audi chose to display just one version of their updated crossover: a four-cylinder variant in S line trim – resplendent in a new khaki-like shade of green over a rich chocolate leather interior with matte woodgrain. That’s a Chasing Cars spec if we’ve ever seen one…
When the new Q5 arrives in Australia, we’ll have a first drive on site and over on the Chasing Cars YouTube channel.