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Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition Review

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro offers performance, economy, practicality, all-wheel drive and quality – but at a price.

  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e
Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:  Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition (367PS)
  • Fuel:  Petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
  • Fuel economy combined (WLTP):  108.6 mpg

Summary

  • Potential for good economy if driven primarily on electric power
  • Strong performance
  • Quattro all-wheel drive
  • Practical SUV body style

Background

We already have the Audi e-tron, but for those who aren’t quite ready to make the switch to all-electric, Audi is in the process of introducing a range of new petrol plug-in hybrids, and the Audi Q5 is the first one. With a variety of plug-in hybrids from different manufacturers to choose from, should the Q5 be on your list?

Audi Q5 55 TFSI eAudi Q5 55 TFSI e

Design & Engineering

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition has a 252 PS 4-cylinder, 2-litre TFSI engine together with a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery (located under the luggage compartment floor) and electric motor, along with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. The total system power is 367 PS and the total system torque is 500 Nm. This results in a 0-62 mph time of 5.3 seconds. The Q5 has a top speed of 84 mph in electric-only mode.

The Q5 looks like a premium product on the outside, and the interior is the normal high quality Audi environment. Because this is a mid-size SUV it’s spacious inside, although the bag containing the charging cables takes up a considerable amount of space in the boot.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI eAudi Q5 55 TFSI e

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro Driving Experience

Like many current plug-in hybrids, you’ll need to decide what drive mode you want when you get into the Q5 (firstly noting that the drive mode switch is somewhat difficult to select at the bottom left hand side of the centre console). The main drive modes consist of Off Road, Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual – all of which should be fairly self-explanatory. The transmission offers you the options of Drive or Sport. You can also opt to change gear manually using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. There’s also an EV button, which offers you EV, Hybrid or Hold mode – the latter meaning that the car maintains its battery charge, which is essential if you want to hold the battery charge during a long motorway journey before entering a city. There’s no function to allow the petrol engine to charge the battery while driving.

With all these options, it can be easy to forget which drive mode you’re in, so although you can bring up a graphic on the central screen to show whether you’re driving on petrol or electric power, and there’s a small green EV icon in the instrument panel, a more obvious graphic showing the drive mode/s would be helpful.

Overall the Q5 is very refined, however with all the different powertrains/modes/gears etc, if you put your foot down to accelerate past a slow vehicle, there’s sometimes a bit of searching around for the right gear/powertrain. There’s also a small delay between selecting reverse and the car reacting with movement.

There are no gear changes with a pure EV, which means that there is constant 100% instant torque available – this isn’t the case with the Q5, because the electric motor is integrated into the seven-speed S tronic transmission, so when it’s being driven on electric power, you can feel the gear changes.

The ride quality is generally good, especially on smooth roads, but it can feel crashy when it hits potholes. This is likely to be due to the extra weight of the batteries taking the Q5 to 2105 kg, and you can also feel this extra weight impact on the handling. The steering feels slightly over-assisted, and the brakes can be a bit sharp.

The Q5 has quattro all-wheel drive (although it operates just in front-wheel drive if AWD isn’t needed), and Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres were fitted to our test car, which offer off-road and all-season ability, and in our experience it’s rare to find such capable all-round tyres on Volkswagen Group SUVs.

The Q5’s interior is well designed, with high quality materials, you can get a good driving position. The infomedia system generally works well – there are shortcut buttons for the touchscreen, the graphics are clear, you can make selections on the screen from the rotary dial in front of the gear selector, or you can write instructions for the satnav with your finger on a pad. You can also select different options to view in the digital display in the instrument cluster directly in front of the driver, including satnav guidance, although we’re pretty sure that the range of options selected via the scrolling buttons on the steering wheel could be made more user-friendly.

One item of equipment that the Q5 didn’t have – that much cheaper EVs do have – is a heated steering wheel, something that would have been useful in the December week when the Q5 was on test.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI eAudi Q5 55 TFSI e

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro Economy and Emissions

The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition is 108.6 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 49 g/km, or 56-60 g/km based on the WLTP cycle. The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the petrol engine (ie. without any electric power) is 33.6mpg, which gives you an indication of what you can expect if you drive the car on petrol only and not on electric. This also reflects the sort of economy that you get from a petrol SUV weighing in excess of two tonnes.

In real-world driving the average fuel economy will completely depend on how much driving is done on electric power and is likely to be anything from 30mpg upwards. We managed 217mpg on a 27 mile journey, and 110mpg on a longer trip. Overall, after a week of mixed driving, the Q5 averaged 57.5mpg.

The official WLTP electric driving range is 26 miles; on test in the real-world the Q5 delivered an average of 22 miles when fully charged, in December.

The integrated charger charges the lithium ion battery with a maximum power of 7.4 kW. Using a 220 V household outlet, an empty battery can be recharged overnight in around six hours.

How to charge an electric car

Audi Q5 55 TFSI eAudi Q5 55 TFSI e

Price and Model Range

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition costs £54,185. Our test car had options of Navarra Blue paint (£675.00), Tour pack (£1,250), Parking assistance pack (£1,350), Audi matrix LED headlights (£650), Storage pack (£175), Comfort and sound pack (£1,395) and Panoramic glass sunroof (£1,400), taking the total cost of our test car to a substantial £61,805. On the plus side, the benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (for 2019/20) is just 16%.

The Q5 is also available with a range of petrol and diesel engines and trim levels of Sport, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI eAudi Q5 55 TFSI e

Conclusion

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition is another highly desirable product from Audi. It exudes the feel-good factor that the brand has become known for, it offers SUV practicality, lots of performance, all-wheel drive and off-road ability, and an electric driving range of up to 26 miles. There’s not a great deal to fault, possibly with the exception of the price; at £54,185, before options, it’s not the most affordable plug-in hybrid SUV. So the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro is a very capable all-rounder that can do lots of things, and it’s awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Competition Review

  • Test economy: 57.5 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 49 g/km, 56-60 g/km WLTP
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 26 miles
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):  £130 year 1, £0 year 2 onwards
  • Weight:  2105 kg
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2019/20): 16%
  • Price:  £54,185
  • Insurance group:  TBC
  • Power:  252 PS (engine) / 367 PS (system)
  • Torque:  370 Nm (engine) / 500 Nm (system)
  • Max speed:  148 mph
  • 0-62 mph:  5.3 seconds
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor