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Audi Q5 TFSI e (PHEV) is more than an SUV.

Audi Q5 PHEV is more than an SUV.

The original Audi Q5 SUV was launched back in 2008 and it became an instant sales success for the premium German brand. In fact the Q5 has gone on to become Audi’s biggest-selling car worldwide. The second-generation Q5 arrived in 2017 and it features a significantly lighter yet stronger body than before, the adoption of sophisticated five-link independent suspension, and a suite of advanced driver assist systems. This all-new version moved the game on even further, with Audi claiming at the time that it sets the benchmark in its class for quality and refinement.

Precision Engineering.

Clean surfaces, obsessive quality and precision shut-lines are traditional Audi hallmarks that are more obvious than ever in the new Q5, with a spacious and airy cabin boasting designer textures, exquisite materials, impressive refinement and exceptional tactility. The overall cabin experience in the Q5 is first-class, with the car proving itself to be extremely comfortable, with a broad range of driver seat adjustments, and great outward visibility for all occupants. A strikingly-styled, and ergonomically-designed dashboard provides terrific visual drama to the Q5’s interior, with solid-feeling materials and a straightforward layout featuring a high-set infotainment screen, and simple air-conditioning switches. The excellent, intuitive infotainment system in the Q5 is bang up-to-date in terms of functionality and quality graphics, while voice control makes it easy to navigate through when on the move.

Two PHEV Options.

Audi offers the new Q5 with a choice a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine (badged TDI) or a plug-in hybrid (badged TFSI e) and it is the TFSI e version that is the subject of this review. The new Q5 TFSI e will especially appeal to motorists looking to blend incredibly-low fuel consumption with sports car-rivalling performance, while enjoying the benefits of family SUV space and practicality too. Two plug-in hybrid Q5’s are available, both equipped with a 14.1kWh battery and a 141hp electric motor for a pure electric range of up to 62km. The Q5 50 TFSI e comes with a combined 299hp from the petrol and electric powerplants, while a hefty 370Nm of torque enables a sprint time of just 6.1-seconds, on the way to a claimed top speed of 239km/h (where permitted). The higher-powered Q5 55 TFSI e produces 367hp and can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.3-seconds. Petrol power comes from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which sends power through a quattro four wheel-drive system, while a seven-speed S-tronic automatic transmission comes as standard.

Two Trim Options.

Entry-level SE specification comes with a very long list of standard features including; 18” alloy wheels, aluminium roof rails, electric power-folding heated door mirrors, windscreen with acoustic glazing, part leather seat trim, heated front seats, auto start-stop, Comfort Dynamic suspension, auto climate control, 3-spoke leather trimmed multi-function steering wheel, split-folding rear seats with centre arm-rest, power-operated tailgate, LED interior lighting package, LED headlights with LED daytime driving lights, LED rear lights, radiator grille with chrome inlays, Bluetooth with voice control, Audi Sound System with DAB radio & smartphone interface, cruise control, front & rear parking sensors, Audi drive select, pop-up bonnet for pedestrian protection, electronic stability control plus many other safety and comfort features. Additional S-Line equipment includes a headlight cleaning system, rear privacy glass, front sports seats, sports suspension, sequence cloth/leather combination seat upholstery, black glass-effect accent surfaces, black headlining cloth, and S-logo illuminated door sills, along with inlays in matte brushed aluminium.

Test Car Details.

My test car was an Audi Q5 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line S-tronic, which was finished in District Green metallic paintwork. Audi’s outstanding quattro system provides exceptional road holding irrespective of road or weather conditions, as it automatically distributes power between all four wheels to where it is needed most, while Audi’s ‘quattro ultra’ technology decouples whichever axle isn’t required in order to maximise fuel efficiency. The Q5’s regenerative braking system is intuitive in its operation and has an automatic setting that uses sensors to increase brake force autonomously in order to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and to maximise efficiency. The system is so intelligent that it even knows if you are approaching a roundabout or junction, and varies the regenerative braking force accordingly. In pure electric mode, the Q5 is incredibly quiet and serene, with well insulated wind and tyre noise, and virtually no noise from the electric motor, while overall ride comfort is terrific. You can do motorway speeds in pure-electric mode, as well as in stop-start traffic in urban areas, and the constant stream of power is great for easing through traffic. Hybrid mode is better for long journeys, as it flicks seamlessly between the electric and petrol modes automatically to achieve the best efficiency. The ultra-smooth powertrain is defined by instant and broad throttle responses, and is a pure and punchy delight in every respect, with the exceptionally well-weighted steering providing terrific feedback to the driver. For greater personalisation, the steering weight can be adjusted via the Drive Mode selector that also adjusts the suspension’s dampers to comfort or sport. I was extremely impressed with the Audi Q5 TFSI e, from the way it looks to the way it drives, and I felt a sense of occasion every time I sat behind the wheel. Claimed WLTP fuel consumption as low as 1.5l/100km is possible on a combined driving cycle, while a Co2 emissions figure of between 35 and 42g/km leads to annual road tax of just €140.

Easy Charging Options.

Charging the Q5 TFSI e is a simple task, with a domestic socket delivering a full charge in around six hours, while a 7kW home wallbox will perform the same task in just two hours (0-100%). Charging any PHEV regularly is the only way to get near the claimed economy figure, and ideally starting every journey with a full battery is a great habit to get in to. A time charging facility enables the use of off-peak electric tariffs, while an Audi app allows for remote charging, along with pre-heating or pre-cooling of the cabin before the commencement of a journey.

Verdict & Pricing

The new Audi Q5 50 TFSI e is an extremely practical, upmarket family SUV that is refined, comfortable and frugal. It is also one of the best-handling SUVs on the road, delivering controlled, agile dynamics combined with spectacular road-holding ability. On-the-road pricing starts at €64,540 for the Q5 TFSI e SE version, with the S Line priced from €66,960. In addition to the SUV body style tested in this review, the Q5 TFSI e is also available with a sleek Sportback body style at an additional cost.

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