Audi Updates Its Luxury Compact SUV
We like the Audi Q5 a lot, as do the consumers. It’s the company’s best-selling vehicle in the United States, and that’s because it’s a crowd pleaser. Its high-end but discreet look inside and out, its useful technical characteristics and its combination of comfort and performance offer an excellent balance in a segment where competition is fierce. After all, the Q5 faces the sporty BMW X3, the elegant Mercedes-Benz GLC, the athletic Acura RDX and the luxurious Lexus NX. And don’t forget the elegant Volvo XC60 either.
The 2021 Q5 is not a complete overhaul but a facelift of the model that Audi presented for 2018. It is the refinement of a formula that we already know how to work well, with some technological improvements and exterior additions. More on that in a bit.
Audi Q5 Design 2021
Lots of changes in the new Q5 are related to its design inside and out, making it a great place to start exploring what’s new. Up front, the Q5 joins the rest of the Q lineup of Audi crossover SUVs with a single-frame octagonal grille (with vertical chrome ribs on Advance models and a honeycomb pattern on the sportier S-Line ). This grille is a little shallower and wider, giving the Q5 a slightly more aggressive appearance. It also helps the crossover appear lower and more curved downward while providing a counterweight to the revised daytime running lights at the top of the headlight housing. The lower side “sockets” are slightly higher, cut in half by a trapezoidal insert which floats almost above the lower trim elements similar to the intake.
On the side, a different sill design under the doors gives the appearance of the crossover as if it had lighter ground clearance. Go back and you will see the real party thing of 2021 Q5: an OLED light element that can flash and change its configuration in several new ways. Multi-segment lighting elements have a variety of “signatures” that owners can reconfigure for a bit of prosperity when locking or unlocking the car. There are currently three modes, all of which can only be selected when purchasing the car. (Audi tells us it’s looking for a way to let current and future owners reconfigure the signatures later.) Additionally, the light signature changes when the car enters dynamic driving mode. There’s also a proximity sensor, which turns on more light segments if another vehicle approaches within six feet of the rear of the Q5. It’s a sweet message, but hopefully separate to another driver, it’s too close to the Audi.
Two new colors are also joining the action on the Q5 2021: District Green and Ultra Blue. Each version also has new wheel options, and the plug-in hybrid model receives an exclusive new Sport Plus package with 20-inch wheels, summer tires, front sport seats, aluminum inlays, and more.
Specifications of the Audi Q5 2021
Being a refresh, the dimensions of the 2021 Q5 haven’t changed much. The new Q5 is slightly longer – 0.75 inches – due to the larger bumper covers. The other specifications are unchanged, including its cargo capacity, which measures 53.7 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded down.
The powertrains are also postponed, although the turbocharged 2.0-liter entry-level four receives a significant bump of 13 hp. It now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter turbo also benefits from a “soft-hybrid” starter-generator that works with the car’s standard 12-volt electrical system. Alas, Audi notes that the configuration adds nothing to the powertrain’s bottom line.
The Q5 PHEV, meanwhile, continues with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain, which relies on a 48-volt electrical system to supply the electric motor with electricity through a 14.1 kWh battery. Overall, the PHEV is good for a total power of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And the SQ5 also returns, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 developing 349 hp and 369 lb-ft. Note that the plug-in model actually offers more power and the same amount of torque as the sportier SQ5.
2021 Audi Q5 Tech and Interior
The interior changes should appeal to the type of tech savvy buyer who typically gravitates to Audis. For one thing, the standard 10.0-inch touchscreen now runs Audi’s latest MIB 3 infotainment system, which debuted on the new A4. It is a fast and responsive system with sharper graphics and natural language command recognition. Other updates are relatively minor, like the new contrasting stitching, but remember that the Q5’s cabin is already a paradise for luxury techies. For example, the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge group is now standard on the Premium Plus version.
2021 Audi Q5 Price and availability
The Audi Q5 2021 will arrive at dealerships towards the end of the year (which also includes plug-in and SQ5 models). Prices start at $ 43,300, with the plug-in model at $ 51,900 and the SQ5 at $ 52,900.