You need strabismus in the 2018 Audi Q5 to see that it’s new. What your eyes can not tell you is that the evolutionary style of this compact luxury SUV is a whole new platform, with more power, smoother driving, a quieter cabin and more space in the rear seats. In terms of advanced safety, forward collision warning and low speed automatic emergency braking are standard on all Q5 2018.
It may not be that different for 2018, but the Q5 is brand new below. Its exterior follows Audi’s more edgy design language that emphasizes a contoured waistline and a nose that seems longer than before. The difference lies mainly in the details, with standard HID headlights and optional LED headlamps that project the way forward and frame the latest version of the Audi grille. At the rear, the Q5 sports a tailgate that could have been taken over from last year, but new LED lighting is cleaning its taillights.
Bigger changes come on the inside, with the Q5 winning the automaker’s latest interior design language. Unlike some Audis, its central display screen does not retract when not in use, which means it looks like a tablet PC held by a spare clip. It is a rare wart in an interior that is otherwise soothing and logical. The switches are organized into a single panel under the control of air conditioning, but all infotainment controls are done via a large touchpad that appears to belong to a Dell laptop. The more demanding models receive Audi’s virtual cockpit that replaces conventional gauges with a configurable LCD display.
Although Audi will be offering the Q5 with several powertrains in other markets, our Q5 will initially be available with a single engine choice: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 252 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. The four-speed automatic four-speed transmission will be transmitted to all four wheels via Audi’s all-new Quattro all-wheel drive system featuring Ultra technology. No longer using a center differential, the Q5 system uses two clutches to divide the torque from front to rear. One is located just behind the transmission, the other inside the rear axle. This configuration also allows the Q5 to disengage the rear wheels when it is not needed, reducing drag and saving fuel.
The 2018 Audi Q5 starts at $ 42,475. Our Premium Plus test car adds $ 4,000 to the base price. With the Navigation package, 19-inch wheels and a few other items, the total amounted to $ 51,570. The sportier SQ5 starts at $ 55,250.