We’ve been spying on the third-generation Audi Q5 since March, but this is the best shot of the completely redesigned Ingolstadt luxury crossover. Featuring a production body still covered in camouflage, the test vehicle appears to be hiding a design derived from the latest EVs to sport the famous Four Rings. Dual exhaust tips make it clear that we’re dealing with a prototype powered by a nifty combustion engine.
You’re looking at the last Q5 to come with the ICE as the German brand will only be launching electric vehicles from 2026. While the prototype has a full production body and final headlights, the basic taillights are a temporary arrangement. We get the impression that Audi covered up the LED light bar that spans the entire tailgate. By the way, the Q5’s signature wraparound tailgate will be replaced by a narrower panel.
Another prototype spotted next to the current Q5 leads us to believe the next-gen vehicle will be a bit slower. However, the difference in height may come from a stiffer suspension setup for the next-gen Q5. This could be the S-Line version, which would explain the red brake calipers. Another test vehicle caught on the road has a very large exhaust tip, and we hope it’s real because Audi has had horrible fake exhausts in recent years.
Several spy shots peek inside the completely redesigned cabin with tablet-like infotainment sticking out of the center console. There’s an unusually large Quattro logo mounted below the touch screen, and we see some physical buttons in front of the red emergency button. Like the large screen, the driver’s digital instrument cluster is also not tucked into the dashboard as it stands out as well. Overall, the dashboard layout is the same as the next generation A4.
Audi has refrained from giving the Q5 the RS treatment, but perhaps this time it will to go after the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 and BMW X3 M. If Audi Sport is planning a high-performance version, don’t be too surprised if it will have a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Electrification is the only way to use the sporty version to meet the increasingly stringent emission regulations in the European Union.
The current Q5 launched in October 2016, which tells us that its successor will be launching at some point next year.