From £29,260
Plenty of pace and a nice ride, but it hardly makes a case for itself in Europe.

Our Verdict

Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 – the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer's rival to the Land Rover Freelander – may not be perfect, but it is a well rounded road-biased off-roader

10 November 2010
Audi Q5 Hybrid

What is it?

This is Audi's first production hybrid car and it will go on sale across the world 'during 2011'.

Under the otherwise unchanged exterior of this pre-production machine, the Q5's running gear has been substantially re-engineered.

An electric motor is fitted between the engine and the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission. Audi has dropped the transmission's torque converter and replaced it with a multiplate clutch operating in an oil bath. This clutch pack couples and de-couples the engine and electric motor. The Q5's engine is Audi's familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection petrol unit. It has also been modified for hybrid operation.

See pics of the Audi Q5 hybrid in action

Ancillaries such as the air-con system are now driven by electric motors rather than mechanical drive belts. It does without a starter motor, using the electric motor to spin into life.

The power electronics module, which switches the battery's direct current to alternating current for the motor, sits on top of the engine. At the rear of the car, a slim battery pack (a modest 1.3kWh, 38kg in weight and capable of powering the car for 1.9 miles at 38mph) has been fitted above the rear axle. To add to the complexity, this battery, the power electronics and motor all require their own cooling circuits.

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What's it like?

Audi says the Q5 offers five different running modes and the driver can also select three running modes.

EV, which prioritises battery-only running in the city, 'D' which switches between the engine and motor for maximum range and 'S' mode for the full 354 lb ft torque from both motors. The key to a successful parallel hybrid drivetrain is a seamless integration between the engine and electric motor, because the software will swap frequently and quickly between the two power sources.

Sadly, the Q5 test car suffered from occasional, but noticeable, transmission shunt as the engine was cutting in after an electric-only start.

Other demerits include an engine that was surprisingly vocal under acceleration and very poor steering feel coming off the straight-ahead position.

Should I buy one?

While this Q5 had plenty of pace, rode well and is nice place to sit, it hardly makes a case for itself in Europe, even if the motor integration problems are solved by launch time.

Although under hard acceleration it has a power and torque advantage, it is no more economical and hardly more refined than the Q5 TDI 170 diesel. It will also be more expensive. And while this petrol hybrid puts out much lower levels of air pollutants than even an EU5 diesel engine (a major consideration on the US market) even that advantage will be overcome by future 'clean diesel' versions of the Q5’s 170 engine. This is a car aimed at Orange County, rather than Oxford.

Audi Q5 hybrid quattro

Price: £35,000 (est); Top Speed: 138mph; 0-62mph: 7.1sec; Economy: 40.4mpg; CO2: 159g/km; Kerb weight: 1998kg est; Engine: 4 cyls, in line, 1984cc, turbo petrol; Power: 208bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1500-4200rpm; Gearbox: Eight speed auto, integrated electric motor, 44bhp 156lb ft

Join the debate


17 November 2010

Sounds pointless and pointlessly complicated

18 November 2010

Audi just had to jump on the pointless hybrid band wagon!! WHY what is the point if economy is at the heart of your future car then what is wrong with diesel???

The heart of the problem is that its very pricey and the real word fuel savings are very little as its linked to a petrol engine and most of the time the petrol engine is in use, all the hybrid stuff does is make it heavy and when the tiny lithium ion battery is dead what charges it? the petrol engine.

Diesel hybrid may make a case for itself but will fuel economy be much better than normal diesel and the extra cost of the car?

Surely they could achieve decent real world economy by making the car lighter by scrapping these automated box and stupid computer crap and the constant amount of other worthless tat that gets fitted.

18 November 2010

The point is that this car is aimed at a large country on the other side of the Atlantic which thinks diesel doesn't exist, along with Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the concept of disputes resolved without lawsuits.

For Europe, it ticks the CO2 boxes to help reduce Audi's average emissions, but they are not going to sell too many of them.

18 November 2010

if it is congestion charge exepmt they will sell lots in London, see lexus RX400h. makes alot of sense as you will save £2.5k every year

18 November 2010

Will not do much business in this country as we are happy with diesels, but as the yanks think that diesels are beneath them then here is the main market. Judging by sales the VW group need every popular car they can get their hands on.

18 November 2010

Band wagon car, plus it's really made for the States, they seem to have embrassed thr hybrid tech.

23 November 2010

I know and agree with what's been said before, this is a pointless exercise for Europe, except when congestion charges apply. But, we all know that if the Hybrid technology that VW/Audi now has, is mated to the 170bhp Diesel, and if offered with the 3.0 240 bhp Diesel, then it will succeed in Europe, by offering something that Toyota and Honda lack, because they both offer Hybrids with petrol engines. Bring it on!

23 November 2010

This is all very well, but I and many others - if not the majority - don't necessarily always want a diesel, unless its cheaper as a company car. Its an endless debate, but there are measures of pollution other than CO2 output and I think the ground level particulates are more of a concern. Plus, personally speaking, I prefer the nature (e.g. the way they rev), sound and smell of petrols. Each to their own though - my company car is a diesel for BIK cost and company policy reasons but if I was buying privately I would have gone for a larger capacity petrol variant.

16 January 2011

Be nice if Audi and Porsche could bottom the problems with the hybrids befor launching them and then consider teaching the dealer networks the technology so that they can fix them .

Good luck to anyone that risks buying one, see attached need to consider buying a tow truck if you buy a Cayenne Hybrid!

16 January 2011

[quote julianphillips]This is all very well, but I and many others - if not the majority - don't necessarily always want a diesel, unless its cheaper as a company car. Its an endless debate, but there are measures of pollution other than CO2 output and I think the ground level particulates are more of a concern.[/quote] Euro 5 vehicles diesel and direct injection petrol have the same particulate limits. Petrol cars are allowed to produce twice the amount of CO, carbon monoxide a poison, as diesel cars under Euro 5. Apart from small engined cars diesel outsell petrol in all of Europe. Under current London congestion charge rules only cars emitting up to 100 g/km CO2 are exempt ie. Prius, many Eco diesel models and no longer are LPG or hybrid exempt unless under 100g/km CO2 . Although in the US there are very few diesel cars the car sales are outnumbered by what the Americans call trucks and sales of diesel versions are climbing in recent years although still at a low percentage. The Ford F250 and F350 are available with Fords 6.7 litre V8 diesel that has 400 hp and 800 lbs/ft of torque.

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