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2018 Audi Q5 May Look The Same, But It Is A New, Refined Crossover

Though the 2018 Audi Q5 may look like its predecessor, it is wholly different. It's true Audi kept the body panels much the same, however, like VW's motto many years ago, "the change is underneath the skin."
Posted: December 12, 2016 - 11:20PM
Author: Marc Stern

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Whether it’s magic, smoke and mirrors or just great design, when the model year 2018 dawns in – believe it or not – about nine months, the Audi Q5 will be a wholly new vehicle.

On the outside, the Q5 will seem pretty much unchanged as the visible changes are very, very subtle. However, the 2018 Q5 crossover will be as all-new nonetheless. That Audi would be rather reluctant to change much on the outside is a given as the mid-sized crossover is the automaker’s top-selling U.S. nameplate.

Excitement Is Underneath

Underneath the body panels is where the excitement is occurring. The Q5 sits on an all-new chassis, based on Audi’s MLB evo platform. And, the Quattro all-wheel-drive system has a new wrinkle, the system remains in front-drive for cruising, which saves fuel. However, things change almost instantly when the system detects slippery road conditions or when you decide to throw the Q5 around a bit, then it’s back into all-wheel-drive mode.

On the inside, one of the significant customer-driven changes is some added second-row legroom. When you compare the original Q5 with the 2018 revision, you notice the difference.

And, the Q5 gets the latest and greatest technology. Among the tech enhancements is enhanced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is optional as is a heads-up display. The Q5 features built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity and the Audi Connect connectivity suite. The sound portion of the infotainment system uses a 755-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Also, the powertrain, featuring a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch tranny, has been tweaked.

And there’s an extensive safety technology suite that includes standard front-collision warning and automatic braking with pedestrian detection. The 2018 Q5 will feature adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and traffic jam assistance.

Q5’s Strengths Rated

Cars and Concepts, a subsidiary of Automotive News, rates the Q5’s strengths as its fit and finish, quiet cabin, Quattro AWD system and its “sporty-yet-comfortable ride and handling, acceleration, technology and rear-seat legroom.”

It rates its weaknesses as an inconveniently placed cupholder and the lack of multiple powertrain choices at launch.

Audi is targeting 60,000-plus units per year. The automaker believes the Q5’s primary competitors are the BMW X3 Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar F-Pace and Lexus NX.

The publication saw this as the bottom line: “A day on the backroads, highways and craggy trails of Mexico’s Baja peninsula showed the Q5 to be at home no matter the conditions.” And while the Q5 is the “first luxury vehicle [Audi] assembled in Mexico, the Q5’s fit and finish would make any plant manager in Ingolstadt smile.

“Fresh competition will test the Q5’s staying power, but Audi was wise to stick to what made the Q5 successful in the first place.”

Source: Cars and Concepts

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