By EWAN KENNEDY in Los Cabos, Mexico          


Audi Q5 is currently the best selling vehicle from the German prestige maker in Australia. Which comes as no surprise considering the style, technology and practicality of the original model introduced in 2008.

Eight years down the track we have just enjoyed our first drives and technical presentations on the all-new Q5 which is coming to Australia in the third quarter of 2017. It’s not due to be launched in Europe until January and we were invited to Los Cabos Mexico for the global unveiling of the medium sized SUV.

Why Mexico? Because Audi has just built an ultra-modern, high-tech factory there to build new Q5. We didn’t get a chance to tour the factory, but a close look over the quality of the models built there show that if anything they are even better built than those from the factory in Germany.

That’s due to the fact that the new-design Q5 is not only simpler to put together, but also because the factory allows quality-control engineers to follow the assembly of the vehicle almost by the second as it proceeds through multiple manufacturing stages.

Audi Q5 displays the latest form of the company’s very successful design theme. The grilles work neatly with the centre one having the hexagonal shape. The side profile looks low and disguises the fact there’s good interior headroom. The interesting ‘clamshell’ tailgate wraps around to the side and give the SUV a compact look.


The new Q5 is built on a new platform that takes around 90 kilograms out of its weight. At the same time the body is stronger and even better equipped to withstand crashes. Crashes that may never take place due to a staggering array of primary safety features that do all they can to avoid collisions.

Should everything still go wrong, the latest in-crash technologies that minimise occupant harm within the cabin should a crash become inevitable are also built into the Audi.

Though it’s becoming increasingly common for SUVs never to leave the beaten track Audi insists the gen-two Q5 remains suited to off-road driving. Something we were able to test at the southern corners of the Baja California Peninsula. Our off-road route was chiefly on sandy tracks that were in pretty poor condition.


The latest versions of Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system played their part in providing virtually instantaneous traction individually to all four wheels as required. An optional air suspension system permits changes to ride height on the move. Audi Q5 can be raised by as much as 45 millimetres.

How well will this work in Australia? We don’t know, though we will be surprised if it’s not capable on our bush trails. Stay tuned for an updated report when the first Q5 shipment arrives downunder and we get behind the wheel somewhere in the rugged outback.

Back onto normal sealed roads again we found the latest Audi Q5 to be smooth, quiet and easy to live with. The interior is roomy enough for four adults and a child, with three adults in the back seat being reasonably uncomfortable.

High-tech features are thoroughly up to date, with the Audi MMI infotainment being shown on a wide 8.3-inch colour screen.

The Audi Virtual Cockpit lets the MMI information be displayed immediately in front of the driver. It can either show large dials when you’re driving in a sporting fashion, or it can show satellite navigation, or trip computer readouts – take your pick. It’s likely the Virtual Cockpit will be standard in some Australian imports and optional in others. It has proven a very popular choice on other recently introduced Audi models.

Power comes from a variety of petrol and diesel engines, with four or six cylinders. At this stage the plan is to initially import the two most powerful versions of the four-cylinder units to Australia. Outputs are 185 kilowatts and 370 Newton metres for the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and 140 kW and 400 Nm for the turbo-diesel.

All Australian Q5 imports will have automatic transmissions and quattro drive. It seems highly unlikely that lower powered four-cylinder engines with manual gearboxes and two-wheel-drive will come downunder, but never say never.

Zero to 100 km/h times are 6.3 seconds for the petrol and 7.9 from the diesel. We will supply V6 engine figures for Australia when they come to hand.

Final Australian specifications and prices for the second generation Audi Q5 are yet to be finalised. However, Audi Australia says that despite the additional equipment and technology it would like to keep them to the same levels as the current models.

Obviously currency fluctuations may affect the outcome, but the lower cost of building the new models and the desire to make it competitive against the German and British competitors in this red hot market segment will also play in the favour of buyers.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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