All-new for 2018, the Audi Q5 and SQ5 enter their second generation with added power, higher efficiency, a tailored new suit and even more brains. Among competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3, the Q5 stands out with its blend of performance, comfort and capability. Throw in an impressive roster of standard safety features, and the Q5's star shines even brighter.
You'll Like The 2018 Audi Q5 If...
If you want a smaller luxury SUV with excellent overall driving manners, standard all-wheel drive, gee-whiz technology and active safety features like automatic emergency braking, the 2018 Audi Q5 checks every box. The new SQ5 includes all that, and adds a dose of faster to the mix.
You May Not Like The 2018 Audi Q5 If...
There's no hybrid or diesel version of the Q5, so luxury fuel sippers will need to look at the Mercedes-Benz GLC for their savings. The Acura RDX and Lexus NX have lower starting prices. The performance-oriented SQ5 model is fun, but nicely equipped models come close to the $70,000 mark.
The 2-row/5-passenger Audi Q5 luxury SUV is all-new for 2018. It enters its second generation with a bump in power and fuel efficiency, a new 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission, slightly roomier interior and a roster of standard features that include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and Audi pre sense safety systems. SQ5 models offer a turbocharged V6 and 8-speed transmission, along with high-performance suspension and brakes.
As with other Audis, the new Q5 and SQ5 offer up a 2-row/5-passenger interior at the intersection of contemporary design, cutting-edge technology and premium amenities. It's sleek yet handsome, and thankfully not overwhelmed with buttons. One of the highlights is the optional Virtual Cockpit, which turns the instrument cluster into a customizable 12.3-inch digital display that can show everything from the expected -- speed and mpg -- to the gee-whiz, such as realistic Google Maps. At 37.8 inches, rear legroom is good, as is cargo volume of over 60 cubic feet with the 40/20/40-split seats folded. The front seats are supportive, a benefit for longer commutes.
This latest Q5's squat and dignified exterior has changed just enough to keep it interesting while still remaining familiar. Up front is that gaping grille, surrounded by a new fascia, standard xenon headlights and LED running lights. Around back are a pair of elongated tailpipe housings and the all-important power tailgate. Standard roof rails help remind that this is an SUV. The Q5 rolls on 18-inch wheels as standard, with 19- and 20-inch variants optional. While other crossover SUVs have traded ground clearance for a more sedan-like ride, the 2018 Q5's stance has actually increased slightly, from 7.9 inches to 8.2 inches. The SQ5 adds to the look with a unique grille treatment, roof spoiler, and distinctive headlights.
The new Q5 strikes a lovely balance between an X3 and GLC, with a personality we'd summarize with the word "confident." When we pushed the new Q5 hard on mountain roads, its manners felt more sports sedan than crossover SUV. In both around-town driving and highway stretches, the Q5 is quiet and comfortable. And though most owners aren't likely to get their Q5 very dirty, it's surprisingly competent on dirt trails. The Q5's 252-horsepower 4-cylinder engine and 7-speed transmission make a good pairing. With a 0-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds, the new Q5 is faster than the prior version with the optional V6. The SQ5 takes all of that and amplifies it with about 100 more horsepower, sharper handling, better brakes, and even better steering. Yet the SQ5 gives up almost nothing when it comes to ride comfort or daily practicality.
The 2018 Audi Q5 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $42,475 including the $975 destination charge. The Premium Plus model begins at $46,475, while the top-line Prestige edition starts at $51,775. Fully loaded, a 2018 Q5 luxury-crossover SUV can kiss the $57,000 mark. The higher-performance SQ5 starts at about $55,300, and prices can climb up to the $70,000 once you start loading it with options. The Q5 and SQ5 start slightly higher than the equivalent BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC models, but the gap narrows once you select all-wheel drive on those models. The starting price of the new AWD Jaguar F-Pace nearly mirrors that of the Q5, while the Acura RDX, Infiniti QX50, Cadillac XT5, and Lincoln MKC and MKX start lower. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. If the past is any indicator, the Q5's resale value will remain strong.
The 2nd-gen Audi Q5 is available in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. The base Premium model is nicely equipped, even for a luxury-crossover SUV, with standard features like leather interior, tri-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, power-operated front seats, HomeLink garage-door opener and power tailgate. As mentioned in Favorite Things, the Q5 also includes impressive safety systems. The standard 10-speaker/180-watt audio system has an AM/FM and HD Radio, CD player and USB and SD card inputs, along with Bluetooth connectivity. A 7-inch center infotainment display and rearview camera are also included.
If you can swing it, we recommend the mid-trim Q5 Premium Plus with blind-spot monitoring, hands-free tailgate, heated front seats with driver's seat memory, full LED lights and panoramic sunroof. This trim opens the door to further options. The top-line Q5 Prestige adds the Virtual Cockpit, navigation system, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, top-view camera system with parking sensors, head-up display, 8.3-inch center screen, and 20-inch wheels. The Q5 can be upgraded with heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, adaptive damping suspension and a driver-assistance package that bundles adaptive cruise control, active lane-keeping assist, traffic-sign recognition, and automatic high-beam control.
AUDI PRE SENSE SAFETY SYSTEMS
The 2018 Q5 and SQ5 come standard with both "basic" and "city" versions of this system. The first prepares the vehicle for an impact by closing windows and pre-tensioning safety belts. The second can detect other cars and pedestrians, and apply the brakes at up to 52 mph to mitigate or lessen an impact.
PREMIUM SOUND SYSTEM
We're suckers for a sweet audio system, and the latest Q5 and SQ5 SUVs offers an ear-popping one with its optional Bang & Olufsen setup. With 16 speakers pumping out 755 watts from a variety of sources -- including "old-school" compact discs -- it's bound to enhance any drive.
Under the Hood
The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the Q5 comes standard with a 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission. That transmission routes power to all four wheels through quattro all-wheel drive, standard equipment on all Q5 models. The sophisticated system enhances fuel efficiency by powering the front wheels when possible, and instantly shift up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels as needed, so lightning-fast that you'll likely never notice it working. The SQ5 packs 102 more horsepower from its turbocharged 354-horsepower V6 engine, which comes connected to a Tiptronic 8-speed automatic transmission.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/27 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged V6
354 horsepower @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 mpg
All-new for 2018, the Audi Q5 enters its second generation with added power, higher efficiency, a tailored new suit and even more brains. It's all an improvement on a recipe that has worked so well for Audi's compact-luxury SUV that within a few years of its introduction in 2009, the model went on to become the German brand's best seller. Along with the new Q5 is a higher-performance SQ5, boasting a turbocharged V6 engine, better handling, and improved performance capability all around. Together, they make a compelling case in a booming segment that includes competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, BMW X3, Acura RDX, and Jaguar F-Pace. Even against that crowd the 2018 Audi Q5 and SQ5 stand out with a stellar blend of performance, comfort and capability, and an impressive roster of standard safety features.