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by Tim Beissmann

The mid-life upgrade for the Audi Q5 brings more power, better efficiency and subtle styling revisions to the mid-sized premium SUV.

Due to launch in Europe around October this year, Audi Australia’s Shaun Cleary says the upgraded model will hit local showrooms “in the summer”, suggesting a debut either at the very end of 2012 or early in 2013.

The Audi Q5 line-up continues to include two petrol engines and two diesels, all utilising direct injection, forced induction and stop-start technology to enhance performance and efficiency.

The entry-level 2.0-litre TDI diesel produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque – up 5kW/30Nm from the old model. Audi says it uses 6.0 litres of fuel per 100km when tested on the official European combined cycle, down from 6.8L/100km.

The upgraded 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel engine now generates 180kW and a whopping 580Nm of torque – a substantial 4kW/80Nm increase over the old model. Despite the performance hike, consumption has been slashed 15 per cent from 7.5L/100km to 6.4L/100km. Sprinting from 0-100km/h still takes 6.5 seconds, although Audi promises the extra torque creates more forceful acceleration than before.

Kicking off the petrol line-up is the 2.0-litre TFSI, which produces 165kW and 350Nm (up 10kW), and uses 7.6L/100km under European standards (down from 8.5L/100km).

The range-topping petrol model is now powered by a 3.0-litre TFSI V6, which replaces the old model’s naturally aspirated 3.2-litre FSI engine. Power has increased from 195kW/330Nm to 200kW/400Nm, cutting one second off its sprint time (now 5.9 seconds), yet also using less fuel – down from 9.3L/100km to 8.5L/100km.

The diesel models are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission as before, while the petrol variants now benefit from an eight-speed automatic like the larger, more expensive Q7. All models feature Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system, which typically distributes power 40:60 favouring the rear.

Audi says changes to the spring, shock absorber and anti-roll bar settings have added extra refinement and comfort to the ride, while the new electromechanical power steering system claims to provide better feel and more engagement with the road.

The exterior showcases only minor updates, headlined by a restyled headlight assembly with new-look LED daytime running lights, revised grille and front bumper, and redesigned taillights, rear bumpers and diffusers.

Mild interior upgrades have also taken place, with additional chrome and high-gloss black finishes applied to the buttons and controls. The MMI navigation system has been simplified with fewer buttons, creating a cleaner console layout.

Trim colours and upholstery fabrics have been updated, giving customers even more scope for personalisation.

Interior space is unchanged, carrying over the old model’s 540-litre boot, which expands to 1560 litres with the rear seats folded forwards.

The Q5 is Audi Australia’s highest selling model so far this year, with 769 delivered in the first quarter. It is also the top-selling model in the $60,000-plus medium SUV segment, ahead of the BMW X3 (609 sales) and the Range Rover Evoque (597).