Audi is putting the finishing touches to the new Q7 – due to be unveiled at the end of this year – and many of the features introduced on that car will make their way on to the Q5. Chief among them is the new, more angular Q styling. The basic shape of the large, upright grille remains, but where the current car’s strakes run vertically, Audi will switch to a horizontal design.
The headlights are narrower and will be offered with the same MatrixBeam LED tech as on the A8 and new TT – they can remain on main beam, while masking out small areas of light so as not to blind drivers of oncoming cars.
We know Audi wants other models to get the simple Virtual Cockpit design found in the TT, which limits the number of buttons and places all information on a large
TFT screen in front of the driver. The new Q7 will benefit from this, and the tech will almost certainly make it into the Q5.
The new car is set to be based on the MLB architecture that will also underpin everything from the next-generation A4 right up to the Q7. With high-strength steels and aluminium structures, Audi hopes to reduce the kerbweight of the Q5 by around 100kg, which will obviously improve handling and fuel economy.
New engines will also cut running costs. As with the current Audi Q5, the range will consist of four and six-cylinder engines, but a plug-in hybrid will be offered for the first time. This will be called e-quattro, and will mix the hybrid tech with four-wheel drive – Audi’s standard e-tron system is front-wheel drive only.
The Allroad Shooting Brake concept previewed the set-up, using a 2.0-litre petrol turbo and electric motor to drive the front wheels and a second electric motor for the rears. In that car, Audi claimed 148.7mpg – and the new Q5 shouldn’t be far off that, with an electric-only range of about 30 miles.
Big-selling models of the Q5 will be powered by a development of the current 2.0-litre TDI engine, and Audi has improved this engine's combined cycle from around 50mpg to 60mpg. A 3.0 V6 diesel will be available with two outputs – one for the regular Q5 and a more powerful version, with around 320bhp, for the SQ5.
After launching the Q5, Audi plans to expand its Q family, with a Q6 on the cards. However, this won’t be a sporty version of an existing car like the BMW X6 - instead it’ll be a more practical model, along the lines of a seven-seat MPV-style off-roader.
We’re expecting production of the new Q5 to begin in the middle of 2016, with an on-sale date towards the end of that year. Prices will start at about £32,000.