Audi’s next mid-sized SUV rival to the Mercedes-Benz GLC and BMW X3 is taking shape.

    The hotter SQ5 SUV has been snapped testing at the Nurburgring, with what look like production headlights and tail lights hiding beneath that black-and-white camouflage.

    Our spy photographers also think there are production-ready grilles and bumpers hiding somewhere in there, although they’re challenging to make out.

    With four chunky exhaust pipes, big brakes, and bigger wheels than the regular Q5 prototypes we’ve previously seen, there’s no question this is an SQ5.

    What will power the car isn’t clear. We’re confident it’ll feature some sort of mild-hybrid assistance, like the current SQ5’s 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6.

    Whether that engine or the 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6 offered abroad will carry on hasn’t been confirmed.

    Previous spy photos showing the car side-by-side with the current model show it’s clearly lower and wider than the current model, and we’re expecting a longer wheelbase to free up more interior space.

    Inside, expect a cabin that borrows plenty from the latest Volkswagen Group products. That means lots of big screens, and very few buttons.

    The steering wheel with its touch-sensitive buttons and the nubby gear selector look virtually identical to the ones in the all-electric Q4 e-tron.

    It’s understood the next-generation Audi Q5 will use an updated version of the existing MLB Evo platform, like the next-generation Audi A4 which was previously spied.

    The next Audi Q5 might be the last to feature petrol and diesel engines, with the company planning to cease sales of cars with internal combustion engines outside of China by 2033.

    The current-generation Q5 has been on sale locally since 2017 and it received a refresh in 2021.

    The Sportback coupe SUV version of the Q5 and SQ5 joined the local range in August 2021.

    MORE: Everything Audi Q5

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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