The Audi Q5 was one of the early entries into the luxury SUV market back in 2008. The 2021 model is part of the second generation that originated in 2017. This iteration builds on Audi’s reputation for low-key styling, elegant interiors, and leading-edge technology. Outside, look for a significantly freshened grille and styling lines. Inside, you’ll find new luxury seating touches and the latest tech. And under the hood, there is a turbo four-cylinder, a turbo four with an electric motor, and a turbo six offering in the top-line SQ5.
From the outside front three-quarter angle, the revised grille and bumper looks great. Audi has applied their new SUV design language to the Q5, which is most obvious in the octagonal grille’s thinner and wider layout. While 18” wheels are the smallest standard offering, you can go up to 21” on the SQ5, which give this midsize SUV a taut “ready to pounce” look. Also new this year are the District Green and Ultra Blue paint schemes which offer a nice change from the sea of silver and black SUVs out there.
There are two base Q5 powertrains for 2021 both of which start with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 motor. The “45” makes 261 hp while the “55” bolts on an electric motor for a big power bump to 362 horsepower. Thanks to Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system, that power can be put to the ground in the form of a 5-second run to 60 mph. These two base Q5s are paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
If you spring for the SQ5, look for standard sport seats, OLED taillights and a 3.0-liter turbo V6. In this trim, the transmission is of the 8-speed automatic variety and also comes standard with Quattro AWD. With the SQ5, you’ll shave a few tenths of a second off the 0-60 sprint and enjoy a throatier exhaust note. Keeping with tradition, from the outside this Audi S model is only subtly distinguished from its base brethren by quad exhaust pipes, fender badging, exterior trim treatments and wheel design.
Stepping inside, prepare to be wrapped in luxury and the latest technology. Available walnut wood inlays and leather seating with contrast stitching dress up the interior nicely. From the driver’s seat, you can customize the 12.3” HD dash screen to display the speedometer, tachometer and other info as you see fit. In the center of the dash, you’ll find the new for 2021 10.1” MMI touchscreen. This new infotainment interface is ready for wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility. Going further, the 2021 Q5 can be had with a wireless charging pad, Wi-Fi hotspot and a 19 speaker, Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system.
Behind the scenes are a variety of active safety systems and a clever integrated toll module feature that has a toll transponder built into the rearview mirror. Say goodbye to those big plastic units on suction cups. Most of the safety programs are standard like Lane Departure Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Assist, which can jolt the brakes to help avoid impacts. Also standard is the Pre Sense Rear that uses bumper mounted radar sensors to initiate preventative measures before a rear impact. The Top View Camera System stitches four wide-angle cameras together into a 360-degree exterior view from the MMI screen.
The 2021 Audi Q5 is the SUV for someone that wants to enjoy the comfort and quality of a luxury vehicle without shouting it from the rooftops. The bold exterior refresh is elegant, you’ll have a quiet and comfortable ride with strong steering and suspension characteristics. The lower seat cushion is a bit narrow and the brakes are fairly stiff. Also, some luxury features should be standard on a vehicle like the Q5 but otherwise, this is a tremendous new Audi.
Drivers Only scores the 2021 Audi Q5 97. To see where it ranks, check out Best Compact Luxury SUVs for 2020 & 2021.
Front-engine, all-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door SUV
- 16-valve DOHC 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4: 261 hp, 273 lb-ft
- 16-valve DOHC 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4 + electric motor: 362 hp, 369 lb-ft
- 24-valve DOHC 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6: 349 hp, 369 lb-ft
7- or 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 111.0 in
L/W/H: 184.3/74.5/65.5 in
Curb Weight: 4079-4321 lb
0-60 mph: 4.7-5.7 se
¼ mile: Not yet tested
Top speed: Not yet tested
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