2021 Audi Q5: Money-Making Crossover Gets New Face, 13-HP Bump
Three out of every 10 Audis sold last year were Q5s.
For 2021, Audi is giving its Q5 crossover a regularly scheduled mid-cycle refresh, and unsurprisingly, the changes aren't all that dramatic. Given the fact that the Q5 is Audi's best-selling car (by quite a wide margin), we don't really blame Audi for coloring inside the lines on this one. In 2019, the company moved 67,516 Q5s—almost double the sales of its next best-selling model, the Q7.
The compact Audi crossover's mild restyle consists of a wider grille, new headlights, new wheels, and a 0.75-inch growth in overall length thanks to bigger bumpers. Standard on the top Prestige trim SQ5 (and available only the top SQ5) are digital OLED taillights. In what the company says is a world-first, these high tech rear lamps are said to feature perfect contrast and have allowed designers to get really creative with this car's light signature, an Audi specialty ever since the original R8 arrived with its Christmas light-style LED DRLs.
Over in Europe, buyers can even choose between three different OLED taillight signatures upon purchase, each with its own, distinct start-up and power-down animations, which might make things interesting once these things start hitting the used market. "Hi, Johann's Used Auto Mart? I'm interested in that white Q5 you have on the lot. Could you tell me which taillight option this one happens to have?"
When asked whether or not owners could switch between the three signature choices post-purchase, Audi basically said "not right now" but that it was indeed something it is working on and aims to have available within the next two to three years. Thankfully, this isn't something U.S. customers will ever have to worry about since all America-bound Prestige SQ5s will get the same OLED taillights.
Underneath the refreshed sheet metal and fancy lighting lie mostly the same hardware as before. The regular Q5's 2.0-liter turbo-four now makes 13 more horsepower—261—and gets a 12-volt mild hybrid system that helps run the belt alternator starter. The SQ5, meanwhile, uses the same 349-hp, 3.0-liter V6 as the current version. The sportier SQ5 also sets itself apart with adaptive dampers, available air suspension, and dynamic steering. A 362-hp plug-in hybrid Q5 is also available, just like it was before.
On the inside, walnut trim and contrast stitching are now standard as is a 10.1-inch infotainment screen (the current Q5 rocks seven-inch screen as standard or an 8.3-inch unit as an option) running Audi's latest MIB 3 software and capable of wireless Apple CarPlay. New software has eliminated the need for the old car's touchpad and knob controls which have been replaced with an extra storage cubby. The 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrumentation occupies the same amount of real estate as before but has had its resolution bumped up to 1920x720.
The 2021 Audi Q5 will start at $43,300 before destination when it arrives in the fall.
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