Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
The Q5 is a breadwinner for Audi since roughly 25% of its annual U.S. vehicle sales are represented by this luxury crossover model. The latest rendition of the 2021 Audi Q5 45 TFSI that I experienced during the at-home first drive event is meaningful, impactful, and delightful behind the wheel. Packed with purpose, the 5-passenger people mover is efficient, ripe with intelligent technology, and comfortable.
My loaner arrived in a vibrant Navarra Blue metallic hue, which caught the attention of many who reminded me how festive the color was and perfect for the holiday spirit. Starting at $43,300 for the Q5 45 TFSI Premium, Audi enthusiasts can also choose the 55 TFSI e (PHEV) or the pompous and energetic SQ5. Basically, there is a 2021 Q5 variant for every driver, whether green energy is the theme or bold and brazen comprises your dream auto team.
Under the hood is the tried-and-true 2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine paired with Audi’s 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Not exceedingly fast with a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.7 seconds, the powertrain is more dynamic and fuel-efficient for long hauls. If a need for speed dominates your intentions, opt for the SQ5 with a 349 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque 3-liter TFSI V6. However, the 2-liter is still lively, primarily when you utilize the paddles shifters in manual and put Audi drive select in “dynamic” mode. With this package, the 2021 Q5 45 TFSI also can tow 4,400 pounds.
Another mode I used consistently was “offroad,” required for the snow that came down during my loaner. Initially, the vehicle was sliding in just a small amount of snow, but then I set it to “offroad,” which permanently engages the rear differential for optimized traction. Surface grip was dramatically increased, but there was still some slippage. Naturally, quattro AWD with ultra technology operates as FWD but instantaneously sends power to the rear when it senses wheel spin. However, I believe the 20” Continental CrossContacts were the culprit because the Michelin CrossClimate2 all-season tires (distinguishing V-formation tread pattern) on my wife’s Super-Handling AWD 2020 Acura MDX PMC had no issues whatsoever in the same conditions.
Stylistically the new Q5 is more chiseled, more defining, and more aggressive. The octagonal Singleframe grille now features standout vertical bars for more emphasis than the prior horizontal design. The vehicle is also enhanced by fresher wheel designs, like the angular 5-arm pattern on my 20″ rims, new bumpers, and standard LED lights, including the Matrix lamps for the top-of-the-line Q5 Prestige trim. Four-piston fixed front calipers are also standard.
Inside, the cabin is stimulating, intuitive, and prods you to drive longer distances than your schedule required. During the pandemic, I have been at home mostly, but with the arrival of the Q5, I found reasons to run additional errands. The Q5’s sporty seats with contrast stitching are comfortable, its 3-spoke multifunctional steering wheel is light and sports-focused, and the 2nd generation Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus features a customizable 12.3″ touchscreen with high-resolution graphics. My preferred app is “favorites,” which allows you to place frequently visited map locations, music channels, etc. on one screen. The Samsung-based MIB3 is 10X faster, and LTE Advance Pro Wi-Fi will keep all occupants connectedly satisfied. I am also a fan of the thoughtfully Integrated Toll Module, which syncs your EZ pass data into the rearview mirror. Wireless CarPlay allows you to cut the cord, and the 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D premium sound system kept me rocking to the new Bob Marley Channel 19 on SiriusXM while occasionally gazing out of the Panoramic sunroof.
For safety, a few semi-autonomous systems that will increase driver confidence include available Adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, standard Parking System Plus, Audi Active Lane Assist, Audi Side Assist, Lane Departure Warning and High-Beam Assist, and much more.
As the best-selling model by far since the Q5’s introduction in 2008, this mid-size crossover utility is complimented by Q family members Q3, Q7, and the tantalizing Q8. The Q5 is a vital component of the Audi ecosystem and will continue to see beneficial improvements to represent its core foundation. Expect dealer deliveries in the summer of 2021.