Pros: Quiet drive, efficient, looks like a Q5
Cons: Expensive, no cable storage
The Audi Q5 is the latest SUV to get a plug-in hybrid version. The Q5 TFSI e combines practicality and comfort with an efficient electric drive. We drove Audi’s new plug-in hybrid SUV on Irish roads to see if it lives up to expectations.
From the outside, the only way to distinguish the Q5 TFSI e from a regular Q5 is the extra filler flap over the left wheel for connecting the charger. Other than that, this vehicle looks identical to the second-generation Q5, which first went on sale back in 2017.
On the inside, the difference’s are also minimal. Aside from an EV switch on the centre console and some extra information on the infotainment screen and instrument cluster, this vehicle has the same luxury interior that is expected from the Q5.
When you open the boot is where the differences between the plug-in hybrid model start to appear. The boot in this model is 95-litres less than the regular non-electrified Q5 in order to house the battery. But with 450-litres of boot space remaining, there is more than enough space for decent sized luggage. The only annoying thing is the bulky cable case, which is about the size on a regular suitcase and takes up a bit of extra space in the boot.
There are two plug-in hybrid Q5 models on offer. Both of which have a 14.1kWh battery and 141bhp electric motor that offer an official pure-electric range of up to 40-kilometres. This is combined with Audi’s familiar 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which sends power through a quattro four-wheel-drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. Combined with the electric motor, this brings power up to 295bhp for the 50 TFSI e, and 362bhp for the 55 TFSI e.
When charged, the Q5 TFSI e drives in pure electric EV mode as default. Whilst in this mode the vehicle is so quiet its hard to even notice it turned on. Even when driving there is virtually no road noise inside the cabin, with the suspension and electric motor creating a silent drive. You can hit motorway speeds in EV mode, but it is ideal for nipping around the city or on the school run giving you a fuel-free commute. We managed to get just about 35-kilometres of mostly motorway driving in full EV mode.
When you are setting out for longer journey’s you are best to stick it into Hybrid mode. If you input your destination into the built-in navigation system, the vehicle will automatically select hybrid mode and switch between petrol and electric to give you the most efficient trip capable for your journey. There is also a battery hold mode that allows you to switch off the battery altogether and drive with the full petrol engine, saving the battery for a later stage.
The Q5 TFSI e offers an extremely comfortable drive in both powertrains. It feels quiet and smooth even when running off the petrol engine alone. Even the throttle response doesn’t change much from the electric motor to petrol.
As with all plug-in hybrid’s you need to charge this vehicle, and regularly if you want to get the most efficiency out of it. There are two ways to charge the Q5 TFSI e, via a three-pin domestic socket it will fully charge in about 6 hours or via a 7kW home or public charging point, which takes about two hours. Whichever output you use, charging is extremely straight forward using the relevant cables stored in the boot.
Pricing for the Q5 TFSI e starts at €64,200 for the entry-level S line 50 TFSI e quattro S tronic that we drove. Our test vehicle also had over €4,000 worth of extras as well as Metallic paint. If you want to go for the 55 TFSI your looking at a starting price of €73,500 before you even add any extras or paint.
Carzone Verdict 4/5
The Audi Q5 TFSI e offers every bit of practicality and comfort that the we expect from the regular Q5. The electric motor gives you options on how efficient you would like to be, whether it’s a fuel-free school run or a hybrid commute on the motorway. The all-new plug-in Q5 does not come cheap though, starting almost €17,000 more expensive than the non-electrified model. If you want a premium plug-in family SUV without the range anxiety of pure electric, then the Q5 TFSI e is the car for you.
Rivals: BMW X3 xDrive30e, Volvo XC60 T8, Mercedes-Benz G:LC 300 e
Model: Audi Q5 TFSI e
Test Car: Q5 50 TFSI e quattro S Tronic 220kW
Trim: S line
Price From: €64,200
Price of Test Car: €69,674
Road Tax: €170 per annum
Colour: Navarra Blue
Fuel Type: Petrol/Electric
Electric Range: 40 Kms
Brake Horsepower: 299
Weight: 2105 kg