What is it?
What difference can 1g/km of CO2 make? To the planet, it’s a very small step in the right direction. But for company car drivers, it can mean a significant financial saving when - as here, with this first in a soon-to-be-long line of new Audi plug-in hybrids - it dips official emissions below 50g/km.
The tax changes come into force next year and are set to super-incentivise fully electric cars and encourage take up of hybrids, dropping BIK tax from 16% to 14%. Little wonder, then, that Audi’s spreadsheet wizards are predicting keen sales of this Audi Q5 TFSIe, which delivers not just dazzling emissions figures but also SQ5-baiting levels of straight-line performance.
In top-level technical terms, this Q5 55 TFSIe (there’s also a less performant 50 TFSIe) mates a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to an electric motor powered by a 14.1kWh lithium ion battery. On paper, working together, the two units can deliver 362bhp, with a top speed of 148mph and a 0-62mph time of 5.3sec. The car can also travel a claimed 26 miles on electric-only power, with a top speed of 84mph.
Alas, even with the new testing system, hybrid economy claims mean little, because so much depends on how you drive. Do lots of short journeys and you’ll sip fuel, go a long way at motorway speeds you’ll pay a price for lugging all the depleted hybrid ancilliaries around. Officially combined fuel economy is rated at 113mpg - or 32.5mpg for the petrol engine alone.