Audi Q5 set to take on new Mercedes GLC in 2016

22 Jul, 2015 10:00am Lawrence Allan

New spy shots show Audi testing lighter next-gen Q5 SUV, on sale next year with e-tron plug-in hybrid model likely

Audi has it's hands full with all-new SUVs.We've just seen spy shots of the brand's new baby Q1, and now the next-generation Q5 has been spied undergoing testing for the first time. The Mercedes GLC and BMW X3 challenger is expected to arrive next year with the possibility of a plug-in hybrid e-tron model also on the cards. 

Our exclusive images previously showed what we expected design-wise, and it's clear from the prototype shots that Audi hasn't changed the formula too much. Under the disguise a more angular front end sports the hexagonal grille shape from the new Q7, which larger lower air intakes also feature. The car's profile is broadly similar to the current model, while the rear isn't a radical departure from what's currently on sale, with revised LED tail-lamps and a new bumper design evident. 

It's clear that this is another evolutionary Audi design, like we've just seen from the all-new (but visually similar) A4. Although likely signed off by new design chief Marc Lichte, his true influence on the brand's styling language won't be seen until a more radical new A8 arrives sporting cues from the Prologue concept.

Under the skin we'll see a similar range of engines to the new A4, meaning more efficient four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. But a four-wheel drive 'e-tron' plug-in hybrid variant should also be on the cards, borrowing powertrain tech from the 368bhp, 166mpg Q7 e-tron. Expect those economy figures to impress even more on the new Q5, and a 30-mile electric-only range.

The Q5 will be based on the same MLB architecture than underpins everything from the latest A4 to the Q7. That means weight reduction in real terms, with high strength steel and sluminium structures likely to cut up to 100kg from the new Q5. New tech will also appear, with examples like the Matrix LED lighting and Virtual Cockpit making its way from the latest models in the range.

As for when we'll see it? Sources from Audi tell us a 2016 launch is likely, but keep checking here as we hope to know exactly when towards the end of this year. Pricing will likely kick off from around £32,000 when it goes on sale. 

Now read our full in-depth review of the Q5's bigger brother, the Audi Q7.