We like the Audi Q5 a lot, and so do consumers. Its the company’s best-selling vehicle in the United States, and that’s because it’s a genuine crowd-pleaser. Its upscale yet understated looks inside and out, useful tech features, and combination of comfort and performance strike a great balance in a segment with tough competition. After all, the Q5 faces off against the sporty BMW X3, the sleek Mercedes-Benz GLC, the athletic Acura RDX, and the luxurious Lexus NX. And don’t forget the stylish Volvo XC60, either.
The 2021 Q5 is not a ground-up redesign but a facelift of the model that Audi introduced for 2018. It’s a refinement of a formula we already know works well, with some tech upgrades and exterior additions. More on that in a bit.
2021 Audi Q5 Design
A lot of the changes in the new Q5 relate to its design inside and out, which makes it a great place to start exploring what’s new. At its front, the Q5 joins the rest of the Q line of Audi crossover SUVs with an octagonal single-frame grille (with chromed vertical ribs on Advance models, and a honeycomb pattern on the sportier S-Line). This grille is a bit shallower and wider, giving the Q5 a slightly more aggressive appearance. It also helps the crossover look lower and more hunkered down while providing a counterbalance to the revised daytime running lights at the upper part of the headlamp housing. The lower side “intakes” are a little taller, bisected by a trapezoidal insert that almost floats on top of the intake-like lower-trim elements.
Along the side, a different sill design under the doors makes the crossover appearance as though it packs a smidge more ground clearance. Step to the rear and you’ll see the 2021 Q5’s real party trick: An OLED light element that can flash and change its configuration in a number of novel ways. The multi-segment light elements have a variety of “signatures” that owners can reconfigure for a bit of flourish when locking or unlocking the car. There are three modes at the moment, all of which can only be selected when the car is purchased. (Audi tells us it’s looking for a way to let current and future owners reconfigure the signatures later.) Also, the light signature changes when the car enters its Dynamic driving mode. There’s also a proximity sensor, which turns on more light segments if another vehicle approaches within six feet or so of the Q5’s rear end. It’s a gentle, but a hopefully distinct, message to another driver they’re getting too close to the Audi.
Two new colors also join the action on 2021 Q5s: District Green and Ultra Blue. Each version also gets new wheel options, and the plug-in hybrid model gets a new and exclusive Sport Plus package with 20-inch wheels, summer tires, front sports seats, aluminum inlays, and more.
2021 Audi Q5 Specs
Being a refresh, the 2021 Q5’s dimensions have not changed much. The new Q5 is slightly longer—0.75 inches—due to larger bumper covers. Other specifications are unchanged, including its cargo capacity, which measures in at 53.7 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded.
The powertrains carry-over, too, although the entry-level turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets a not-insignificant 13-hp bump. It now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The turbo 2.0-liter also benefits from a “mild-hybrid” starter-generator that runs off the car’s standard 12-volt electrical system. Alas, Audi notes the setup adds nothing to the powertrain’s bottom-line horsepower figure.
The Q5 PHEV, meanwhile, carries on with its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, which relies on a 48-volt electrical system to feed electricity to the electric motor by way of a 14.1-kWh battery pack. All in, the PHEV is good for a total output of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of twist. And the SQ5 returns as well, with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 making 349 hp and 369 lb-ft. Note that the plug-in model actually offers more power, and the same amount of torque, as the sportier SQ5.
2021 Audi Q5 Tech and Interior
The changes inside should appeal to the sort of tech-savvy buyer that generally gravitates toward Audis. For one, the standard 10.0-inch touchscreen now runs Audi’s latest MIB 3 infotainment system that debuted on the new A4. It’s a slick, fast-responding system with crisper graphics and natural language command recognition. Other updates are relatively minor, such as new contrasting stitching, but remember that the Q5’s cabin is already a luxury technophile’s paradise. Case in point, the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster is now standard on the Premium Plus trim.
2021 Audi Q5 Price and Availability
The 2021 Audi Q5 will arrive at dealerships toward the end of the year (that includes the plug-in and SQ5 models, too). Prices start at $43,300, with the plug-in model going for $51,900 and the SQ5 stickering at $52,900.