NEW MODELS | Updated 2020 Audi Q5 promises added pizazz
Startling to consider that it is nearly a full three years since the second-generation Audi Q5 graced our shores. Yes, the year was 2017 and the brand had launched what was then the latest chapter in its medium-sized sport-utility vehicle story.
On August 2 that year we published our impressions in print after a drive through the Western Cape – and it contained a number of superlatives praising the Teutonic sophisticate.
In summary, we said that while it lacked the aesthetic sparkle of certain competitors, it “delivered faithfully on what we have come to expect from the brand: fantastic engineering without chintzy garnishes.”
Well, the enhanced-for-2020 version was unveiled this week and it seems to address those deficiencies in the swag department. Because, as you can tell from the pictures, it sports a host of embellishments that have resulted in a persona that appears decidedly ... sharp!
At the front, the hallmark singe-frame grille has been made shallower, giving it a wider appearance. The side air-intakes are taller, surrounded by trapezoidal frames. Note the new signature for the LED daytime-running lights, resembling angry cyborg eyes. A redesigned sill insert down the side was aimed at creating a “lighter look with greater ground clearance,” says the technical release. And at the rear, you will spot a revised diffuser with a horizontal fin.
Optional organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology debuts on the Q5. Buyers can specify rear lights boasting changeable designs.
Colour makes quite a different, of course. And there are two new hues: ultra blue and district green. The latter, seen here, certainly has far more potential for statement-making than the bottle-green of the launch car we wrote about three years back. That was a hue that seemed better suited to an A4 from 1998.
Even though it is a life-cycle update, not an all-new model, there are dimensional changes to the Q5. It is 19mm longer thanks to its larger bumpers. But the width and height remain as before.
Subtle changes define the cabin. Gone is the rotary controller on the centre tunnel console – in its place is a storage cubby. Tactile quality is an area that Audi generally excels in and the outgoing Q5 was undoubtedly worthy of positive descriptors in this regard.
Expect more in the way of digitisation too, thanks to the employment of the third-generation Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB3), which, says Audi, packs “10 times” the computing power of the set-up used previously.
It comprises a 10.1-inch touchscreen (the Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is optional); with voice control and navigation. Meanwhile, buyers can purchase additional functionalities via the Audi smartphone application or online portal.
For example, you can buy a subscription to use the extended navigation offering, which has more scope than the standard-issue version.
Spearheading the global launch is the 40 TDI derivative, which uses a two-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged-diesel engine (150kW and 400Nm) supplemented with a mild hybrid system.
It relies on a belt-driven starter-generator that powers a 12-volt electrical system, incorporating a lithium-ion battery. Recuperative braking stores energy in the battery. The set-up allows the car to coast on battery power alone, in addition to a start-stop mode that spares the engine in conditions where speeds are below 22km/h. Audi promises more flavours of this four-cylinder, as well as a V6 TDI, a petrol four-cylinder and a plug-in hybrid.
Four suspension choices are on offer: the standard variety with steel springs, steel springs with adaptive damping, a sportier arrangement based on the standard set-up or air suspension.
Forward-thinking safety kit includes the Pre-Sense City system as standard, which has autonomous braking capability to avoid frontal collisions.
Expect it on our shores in the second quarter of 2021. Audi South Africa says local specification and equipment levels are to be confirmed. Engine choices will remain as they are currently: 45 TFSI and 40 TDI.