2021 Audi Q5 Facelift Review: The Q-ing is back

After a long hiatus, the Audi Q5 has finally returned to the Indian market. Equipped with a more powerful engine and some new toys, is it any good or late to the party?

By:October 29, 2021 11:05 AM

The Audi Q5 has been one of the best-selling Audi SUVs in the Indian market ever since it arrived. Historically, more than 45% of Audi sales in India come from the Q range of SUVs and the Q5 is quite popular. When the Indian industry switched to BS6 emission standards from April 2020, many models were pulled from the Indian market. This included the Audi Q5. While the Q2, Q8, and RSQ8 have been on sale for some time, the remainder of the range has been absent since.

Now, with updated models from its global lineup, the 2021 Q5 is returning to the Indian market and it brings a new engine, some mechanical updates with some new tech and features to give the mid-size SUV a new lease on life. But has it worked?

New Audi Q5 Exterior Styling Review

Audi has given the new Q5 a styling update that brings it in line with the Audi Q range design language. If you thought the front grille on the old Q5 was big, Audi has made it even larger and wider. The signature hexagonal grille features a new design with six vertical chrome slats. The front bumper has been revised and the LED headlamps have been updated with a much sleeker look. 

Along the sides, the character lines are fairly similar to the model it replaces but it gets a new set of shoes featuring 19-inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels. Sitting on top of the vehicle are functional aluminium roof rails. At the back, the Q5 features a new design for the all-LED tail lamps but the rest remains fairly similar to the old car, with subtle changes.

The Q5 has never really been an exciting looking SUV in the past. It was a model that people liked the look of, but not heavily desired. The new styling updates however give it an aggressive personality that matches its prowess instilled by the Quattro all-wheel-drive.

New Audi Q5 Interior Update Review

Being built on the older generation platform, this new Q5 offers more of a revised cabin instead of an all-new one. The design is similar to before and features a dual-tone look. Front and centre is the new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that runs Audi’s latest MMI logic used on all new-generation Audi models. That removes the old knob controller for the MMI system and thankfully enables easy use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

The driver gets an all-new multi-function steering wheel and the all-digital driver’s instrument cluster with the Virtual Cockpit. 

It is great to see that the HVAC controls and Audi Drive Select buttons are controlled by physical buttons on the dash. However, as the MMI control knob has been removed, the storage compartments on the centre console which have been accommodated in its place are awkwardly designed. They don’t seem to store most things or contain them properly. Some trims on the centre console and dash use the scratch-prone piano black plastics but thankfully they are kept to a minimum. 

The fit and finish of all the trims and panels are great and the quality of all materials inside the cabin is remarkable. Additionally, space inside the cabin is noteworthy and rear seat comfort seems to have improved. The rear legroom is commendable and so is the headroom despite the large panoramic sunroof. However, the tall and wide transmission tunnel means that the rear-middle passenger might find it difficult to be comfortable. 

In a nutshell, the interior of the new Audi Q5 does offer some great upgrades that enliven the cabin. The tech upgrades allow the Q5 to maintain its own against the competition and offer what most buyers seek from a new vehicle today. 

New Audi Q5 Driving Review

The older Audi Q5 was a model that came with a diesel engine option. In the BS6 era, the entire Volkswagen Group in India has moved to be a petrol-only brand. This new Audi Q5 follows in the same footsteps. 

The 2021 Audi Q5 in India will be available only with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and will come paired to a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission. The power is channelled of course to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Audi claims that the Q5 is ARAI certified to deliver 17.01 km/l in fuel economy. 

But the real highlight is the power of the engine. The Q5’s most popular rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 petrol model maxes out at 197hp and 320 Nm of torque, capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds. The new engine in the Q5 packs 249hp and 370Nm of torque. The Q5 is claimed to accelerate 0-100km/h in a whopping 6.3 seconds!

From behind the wheel, the Q5 feels more alive than before. Power delivery is strong and acceleration is smooth, thanks to the seamless shifts from the transmission. With the new adaptive suspension paired with Quattro, the Q5 does well to tackle most broken roads, and ride comfort is well-balanced. 

However, throw the tall-riding SUV into a corner and you sense some roll that it doesn’t always manage to control. The steering doesn’t offer a good amount of feedback, which is a known Audi trait. But Dynamic Mode from the Audi Drive Select helps weigh it up well to get a better sense of the vehicle.

New Audi Q5 Review: Great All-Rounder

The Q5 is yet to be officially launched in the Indian market. Audi is gearing up to announce prices for the SUV very soon. We expect Audi to drop the Q5 in the Rs 55 lakh ballpark. If that is the case, the Q5 makes a good case for itself.

While it may not offer the same amount of engine options as its rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the BMW X3, and the Volvo XC60, the only petrol engine option available with the Q5 is more than sufficient to leave the competition behind. More importantly, it drives well enough to be exciting from behind the wheel.

The Q5 has always been a great all-rounder. These new updates only elevate its abilities. Audi took its own sweet time, nearly two years, to reintroduce the SUV into the Indian market. But it is finally here, and that’s worth celebrating if you’re an Audi enthusiast.

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