The new generation of the Audi Q5 is a comprehensively improved vehicle. Not that the last car had glaring flaws – after all it has been a hit since its 2008 launch. But yes 8 years really called for a new model. And so 1.6 million units later the next generation car is ready to roll. The new Q5 has many changes and firsts on it, but one most significant to the start the story with, is that it’s being built outside Germany. It is the first time a major Audi model is being made completely outside Germany or even Europe for that matter! It is rolling out of the brand new facility that opened doors this August in San José Chiapas, in Puebla, Mexico. The plant has a 150,000 units annual capacity for now, though given the success of the last Q5 I’m quite sure Audi would need to ramp that up, or begin producing the car elsewhere too – to make good on expected demand. And so I am in Los Cabos, Mexico to drive it too! Los Cabos is on the Baja California peninsula and not close to the plant though! I have to say for me the fact that this drive was in Mexico was a double treat – it was my first visit to the country, and its roads are very much like India’s! So it gave me a great impression of the car in terms of how it would do back home.
Alright that done let’s talk about the new car. When it was first shown publicly at the Paris Motor Show in September this year it got stick for its looks, like the new A4 did last year! Once again it seemed that Audi had erred – by going evolutionary rather than revolutionary on the design front. It’s a bit more obvious in the case of the Q5 though – that this is a new gen. The face looks very much like this is the sibling of the new 2nd generation Q7. The new matrix-LED optional headlamp cluster is attractive and so is the new thick-edged trapezoidal grille that is nicely finished in matte polished metal and black. The S-line styling kit adds a few more chrome inserts to the bumper though my first test car was not S-line! Overall the new Q5 is attractive, has good presence and instantly comes across as very well built. The taillight signature is now very distinct and looks very sharp – with a Q-like dip-down element.