2018 Q5 New Car Test Drive
The all-new 2018 Audi Q5 five-passenger compact crossover begins its second generation with a new platform, cabin, engine, transmission, grille and side sculpting, and new all-wheel drive, which is now standard.
The 2018 Q5 is slightly longer and a couple inches wider than before. The platform comes from the Audi A4 sedan, and has more structural rigidity, as the chassis uses more aluminum. The all-wheel drive system is lighter and more sophisticated. There's more sound-deadening material between the chassis and the cabin. The interior speaks a new design language: roomy and beautiful. There are more standard features.
The base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gets a needed horsepower increase, from the previous 220 to 258 hp, while torque gets boosted to 273 pound-feet, up from 258. It's the same engine that's used in the heavier Q7, so it runs more free in the Q5. It's mated to a 7-speed automatic and all-wheel drive called Quattro Ultra, which disconnects the driveshaft to the rear wheels to save fuel; and it must work, because the new engine gets two more miles per gallon, to go with its 38 more horsepower. When power to the rear is needed, it comes back in a fraction of a second.
The high-performance Audi SQ5 uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 making 354 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic.
Audi Q5's rivals include BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60, Cadillac XT5, and Range Rover Evoque.
Available safety features include adaptive cruise control that drives the car in stop-and-go freeway traffic, and automatic emergency braking. A new 2018 option is a warning when you start to open a passenger door into traffic.
Q5 Premium ($41,500) comes with leather upholstery, power front seats, proximity key, Xenon headlamps, roof rack, and automatic emergency braking at low speeds. Premium Plus adds LED headlamps, a panoramic moonroof, memory seats, blind spot monitoring, and automatic braking when backing up. Prestige adds a Bang & Olufsen sound system and 20-inch wheels. Options abound. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.).