The luxury compact crossover segment is popular and extremely competitive. Audi’s Q5 has enjoyed success in this arena, becoming the brand’s best-selling vehicle, but the gap between it and its competitors has been closing.
After all, Q5 first debuted for the 2009 model year and there has not been a major redesign, until now.
The all-new 2018 Audi Q5 is enhanced, featuring attractive exterior styling, a more refined cabin with lots of standard/optional amenities, improved power, enhanced driving dynamics and a higher level of sophistication.
Like the larger Q7, the Q5 features a similar design theme. The new Q5 looks sportier thanks to the signature grille, new headlamp assemblies, more attractive beltline and pronounced wheel arches.
Xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps are standard, while full LED headlamps are available. A power tailgate is standard and a hands-free opening and closing function is available.
All 2018 Audi Q5 models are powered by a reworked turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Horsepower is up by 32 and torque is up by 15 lb-ft over last year’s model.
Mated to Q5’s 2.0-L engine is a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. This powertrain combination delivers enhanced acceleration and improved fuel efficiency (23/27 mpg city/highway), but it still felt a bit weak when hauling a full load of adult passengers.
Audi is no longer offering a V6 engine as an option for Q5. If you want more power, you have to step up to the all-new 2018 Audi SQ5. The much sportier and considerably more expensive SQ5 features a 354-horsepower (369 lb-ft torque) turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.0-L V6 in the SQ5 delivers much improved acceleration over the Q5. With the SQ5, 0-60 mph happens almost one second faster.
Both the Q5 and SQ5 come standard with Audi’s phenomenal quattro all-wheel-drive system. Q5 models are equipped with a new system that distributes power primarily to the front wheels and automatically sends torque to the rear wheels when needed.
Q5 and SQ5 models provide five different driving modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and offroad. SQ5 models, with the available sport adaptive air suspension, add Lift/Offroad and Allroad modes.
As you might expect, the SQ5 is much more engaging and extremely fun to drive. However, the new Q5 is considerably better than before, remarkably refined and inspiring.
The new Q5 and SQ5 models feature a restyled cabin with plush accommodations and room for four adults. A higher than normal rear center floor hump makes it difficult to comfortably fit three adults in back.
Q5 and SQ5 models include a long list of standard and available technologies. A 7-inch center infotainment display is standard and an 8.3-inch screen is optional.
A 10-speaker audio system is standard while a 19-speaker 755-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system is available.
Standard driver assistance technologies include Audi’s pre-sense city, which provides automatic braking to avoid a collision.
Optional technologies include adaptive cruise control with stop & go traffic jam assist, active lane assist, side assist with pre-sense rear and head-up display.
The 2018 Audi Q5 is available in three trim levels: Premium ($41,500), Premium Plus ($45,500), and Prestige ($50,800). The 2018 Audi SQ5 is offered in two trim levels: Premium Plus ($54,300) and Prestige ($58,500).