2021 Audi Q5 luxury crossover first look: It's what's inside that matters

June 29, 2020

It’ll take an eagle eye and a steady hand to point to the changes on the 2021 Audi Q5’s exterior, but that same finger may quickly find bigger changes inside.

On Monday, Audi unveiled the updated 2021 Q5 compact crossover that will go on sale this fall. When it arrives, it will sport the same friendly shape as the outgoing model, complete with available sliding second row, spacious interior, and luxury amenities. The biggest changes for many shoppers will be the updated 10.1-inch touchscreen that’s sports Audi’s newest infotainment hardware, which the automaker says is up to 10 times faster than the outgoing version. On top of infotainment duties, the hardware supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and the Q5 is available with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and head-up display. The clickwheel controller is gone in the 2021 Q5—reach out and touch your radio station, please.

The updated infotainment system can receive over-the-air updates and add features such as navigation—even if the package wasn’t purchased from the factory. Audi says it’ll make those features available to buyers at one-month, three-months, or yearlong intervals—depending on what buyers want.

Outside, Audi hasn’t changed much its best-selling crossover—buyers were clear they wanted the same thing. The nose and grille have dropped slightly lower, and the front air intakes are slightly bigger. New daytime running lights angle back toward creased wheel arches that subtly flare over the front tires. The body sides of the Q5 are nearly identical to the outgoing model, although it looks slightly taller thanks to new sills.

The rear of the Q5 gets new OLED lights that change slightly depending on selected drive mode. When parked, the Q5’s rear taillights can light up too, which makes it easier for street-parking novices to see the rear bumper of the Q5. Maybe.

Under the hood will be a familiar 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 261 horsepower that drives all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission. A plug-in hybrid and high-horsepower SQ5 will arrive sometime soon, too.

Automatic emergency braking is standard on all 2021 Q5s, and spend-up systems such as adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors will be available.

Audi hasn’t yet said how much the 2021 Q5 will cost when it goes on sale, but it’s not likely to stray too far from the $45,000 starting price of the current version.

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