From £38,0358
Plug-in SUV is compellingly fast and well rounded. Take advantage of the electric efficiency or tax benefits and it’s a winner
Jim Holder
20 September 2019

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 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. 

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What's it like?

Only if you really push do you notice the added weight of the hybrid system, but so long as you aren’t after the last degrees of dynamic verve, as surely few Q5 buyers are, the results are close to excellence.

The electric drive helps meter out measured performance almost on demand, and the all-out performance is eye-catchingly rapid should you need to race from the lights or merge onto the motorway in a hurry. As ever, drive in electric-only mode and you're smothered in silence and can help yourself to lashings of torque; it really is the finest way to travel.

It’s also dutifully comfortable on all surfaces and at all speeds, even on the 19in wheels and standard steel suspension of our test car (optional air suspension is available on higher trim levels). Refinement is top-notch, even when the engine kicks in, and it delivers a decently sporty note if you really open the taps.

Beyond that, all of the usual Audi attributes around fit and finish and the quality of the materials apply, and you’d be hard pressed to find any significant differences to a standard Q5 beyond a few different dials and gauges and the electric filler cap on the offside. The only major negative is that the boot capacity is reduced by a substantial 95 litres, the space sacrificed to house the batteries. For such a large car, that’s enough to put off some buyers.

In our use, predominantly over a long motorway journey, but with some low-speed town driving mixed in, it recorded 35mpg. That's disappointing against the on-paper claims but decent enough against expectations for a non-hybrid petrol or even a performance diesel. The biggest challenge will be explaining that to anyone lured in by the promise of 131mpg.

Should I buy one?

The Q5 TFSIe is far from cheap to buy, but if you can make use of its ability to either swerve the taxman or run on ever so cheap electric at home or work, it could make perfect sense, because it's also a darned good all-rounder that mixes eco credentials and pacey performance credibly, and which in part sits on the cusp of being brilliant. 

Today, the Volvo XC60 T8 is probably its nearest rival, but this car is a shade better in almost every regard. Legislative changes mean there will be an onslaught of newer rivals to come, of course, but for now, Audi has landed a hugely compelling car.

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Audi Q5 55 TFSIe quattro specification

Where Bedfordshire, UK On sale Now Price £54,900 Engine 4 cyls iline, 1984cc, turbocharged, petrol, plus electric motor Power 362bhp @ 5000-6000rpm Torque 273lb ft @ 1600-4500rpm Gearbox 7-spd automatic Kerb weight 2030kg 0-62mph 5.3sec Top speed 140mph Economy 111.7mpg CO2 49g/km Rivals Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de, Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine

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Comments
9

20 September 2019

Certainly an Audi is not ever in my wish list, but to be fair they have done a pretty good job here, that boot isn't bad at all considering the large (by hybrid standards) battery, its quick and sounds like it rides good. Price is less than I was expecting too. As a company car tax dodging executive barge I have to admit they are spot on. Pity they will never be plugged in.

jer

20 September 2019

straw pole does anyone offer 55k company cars ? Worked for many big companies and never seen an option or an exec with a personal nin chauffeur driven 60k car.  exec packages just give higher allowances and more salary bonus shares etc.

 

 

 

 

20 September 2019
jer wrote:

straw pole does anyone offer 55k company cars ? Worked for many big companies and never seen an option or an exec with a personal nin chauffeur driven 60k car.  exec packages just give higher allowances and more salary bonus shares etc.

 

 

 

 

Yes.. I am very much pond life level in a very big company and can still hit a £42K car level these days, there is a whole universe above me with bigger options available.

There are also a wealth of small company bosses or sole businesses, consultants etc who lease a flash motor for themself as a company car, never met one running something modest.

20 September 2019

What a car, i would like to get one but i need to meet a girlfriend to drive this car. I found the perfect website for this, go to this free dating site

27 April 2020

hello i m completely agree with you, if you dont have a girl it not necessary to have a nice car, so you can also meet on internet and after you can send a big car like this

21 September 2019

I would choose the XC60 PHEV, its a better looking car, with more standard spec, at a similar price, and the hybrid system doesnt sacrifice bootspace.. 

NGL

4 December 2019

Lovely looking car the XC 60 twin-engine but, once you've depleted the HV battery in well under 27 miles, you're left with a two-and-a-half tonne Front Wheel Drve hatchback - unlike the Audi Q5 which can run quattro in TFSI (Battery Hold), EV (Electric) mode, or both.

 

As Volvo (and Mitsubishi) place the HV batteries where the prophaft would normally be, the combustion engine drives the font axle only and the batteries / motor the rear axle only.

19 March 2020

I bought one of these and took delivery just before christmas 2019. Initially thought it was great, but I was only using locally so benefit of hybrid was good and performance put a smile on my face. Then I decided to venture further afield and its all gone south. My expectation was that I could use EV on the local roads at the front end of my 150 mile journey, then 26 or so miles later, fire up the engine and recharge the hybrid system etc. etc. Only this car doesn't recharge the hybrid system when driving. Well only to about 20% then it stops - so it has the hardware on board to do it but something tells it to stop. As a result, the trip I used to do in a 3.0d X3 which got my 45 MPG now with this econonical hybrid technology - 31! - so took it to Audi, most people standing around dont know much about the things. Then someone pops out and says oh yes they don't recharge more than 20-25%. What use is this to anyone? I should have saved 10 grand and just bought a petrol or diesel. So, basically after the sweet spot of 30-50 miles where is gets slightly near the 100MPG plus quoted, any further than this it is only going to get worse! My advice - seriously dont waste your money!

19 March 2020

I bought one of these and took delivery just before christmas 2019. Initially thought it was great, but I was only using locally so benefit of hybrid was good and performance put a smile on my face. Then I decided to venture further afield and its all gone south. My expectation was that I could use EV on the local roads at the front end of my 150 mile journey, then 26 or so miles later, fire up the engine and recharge the hybrid system etc. etc. Only this car doesn't recharge the hybrid system when driving. Well only to about 20% then it stops - so it has the hardware on board to do it but something tells it to stop. As a result, the trip I used to do in a 3.0d X3 which got my 45 MPG now with this econonical hybrid technology - 31! - so took it to Audi, most people standing around dont know much about the things. Then someone pops out and says oh yes they don't recharge more than 20-25%. What use is this to anyone? I should have saved 10 grand and just bought a petrol or diesel. So, basically after the sweet spot of 30-50 miles where is gets slightly near the 100MPG plus quoted, any further than this it is only going to get worse! My advice - seriously dont waste your money!

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