With Audi pledging to only launch EVs starting in 2026, that means any new-generation model coming out in the next four years will be the last to have a combustion engine. As is the case with the Q5, which is expected to transition to a third-generation model at some point in 2023. Until then, a lot of testing will need to be done, and our spies recently came across a seemingly problematic prototype at work. Austrian Alps.
It appears to have a production body, but it’s definitely not the last taillight. The camouflage must have been toying with us because the front design doesn’t look like Audi at all. Looking at the exposed areas, we see large vertical pieces of plastic that might tempt you to believe they are air intakes, but they have no functional role other than housing the parking sensors.
Moving behind, the wraparound tailgate from the first two generations seems lost as the hatch no longer fully integrates the taillights. The tailgate is still quite wide, but a familiar design feature seems to have been removed for a more traditional look. The taillights meanwhile appear to be connected via light bars hiding under camouflage, but with the ends exposed to reveal the reverse lights.
The prototype has a dual exhaust setup and sounds quite sporty, so it definitely has a petrol engine under the hood. That said, Audi will still sell the Q5 with diesel in European markets where oil burners are still popular.
Something must have gone wrong in the testing process as the last part of the video shows the new Q5 being pulled over by the current generation Q7. We can see the camouflaged prototype barely moving before coming to a complete stop on the right side of the road. His older brother came to his rescue and took him to a nearby Audi facility, with both SUVs flashing their hazard lights.
Prototypes break down all the time and that’s really one of the main reasons automakers test their vehicles before starting series production – to remove any kinks before shipping the vehicles to customers.
Ingolstadt’s best-selling car will be offered with a Euro 7 certified petrol and diesel engine mix, plus a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The pure electric derivative doesn’t happen as the upcoming PPE-based Q6 E-Tron / Q6 E-Tron Sportback coupled with the Porsche Macan EV will fulfill that role in Audi’s broad lineup.