A new face and improved tech are just the start for the 2021 Audi Q5. As the automaker’s ‘tweener crossover between the smaller (but still big) Q3 and bigger (and even bigger) three-row Q7, the Q5 is a segue to electrification-curious shoppers, and even some performance-leaning shoppers.
Blunter: The 2021 Q5 needs to do a lot. It’s a 6.4 before safety is factored in, so this score may rise. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The news this year is an update to its front and rear bumpers, along with a 10.1-inch touchscreen with faster hardware behind it on all models. It’s still available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels for $44,295 to start and can reach past $63,000. The Q5 is available with a turbo-4 engine that serves as the base (and it’s our pick for relative value and comfort), or as a plug-in hybrid with a turbo-4, electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery pack. The top is still a 349-horsepower turbo-6 SQ5 that falls short of gaudy performance numbers posted by other competitors but keeps pace for comfort and usable performance. All Q5s are equipped with all-wheel drive, and the Q5 (plug-in hybrid or not) uses a 7-speed automatic transmission while the SQ5 adds one more forward cog for good measure.
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The reworked front bumper will be noticeable to current Q5 owners, but not many more people. The grille is smaller and lower in the nose, but still handsome.
Under the hood of most Q5s, its base turbo-4 gets a little more pep to 261 hp, up from 248 hp last year. It’s our pick for affordability and overall comfort.
That’s because the optional plug-in hybrid pairs a turbo-4 with a 14.1-kwh lithium-ion battery that can power the Q5 for about 25 miles on electricity alone, but it also costs around $8,000 more. For that much, Audi delivers 362 hp—more than the performance-leaning SQ5—but it fizzles a little there. The batteries are too heavy and the turbo-4 isn’t as refined as we like.
For speed, the SQ5 churns 349 hp and 4.7-second 0-60 times. It’s fun to drive and that’s high praise for a crossover.
Why? The Q5 still seats up to five, with room in the back for about 27 cubic feet of gear. Every Q5 gets soft leather upholstery and a high-quality finish.
The 2021 Q5 hasn’t yet been crash-tested, but every crossover gets automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and parking sensors. On Premium Plus and higher models, active lane control and adaptive cruise control come standard.
That complements a 10.1-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, at least 18-inch wheels (up to 21-inchers are on the menu) and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is available, and we like it.