In-depth reviews

Audi Q5 hybrid review

The Audi Q5 TFSI e is a fast and spacious plug-in hybrid SUV capable of covering up to 37 miles on electric power alone, but like its rivals, it has a hefty price tag

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£35,245 - £96,705
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Practical yet posh family SUV
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Smart, solid interior

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Lack of cable storage
  • Other PHEVs go further on battery
ModelElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
50 TFSI e37 miles166-188mpg35-39g/km
55 TFSI e37 miles166mpg40-41g/km

The Audi Q5 has long been regarded as a practical yet luxurious family SUV that offered a tidy balance of comfort and handling on the road. The addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain improves fuel economy, cuts emissions and gives sportier performance to Audi’s rival for the BMW X3 xDrive30e, Mercedes GLC 300 e, Volvo XC60 Recharge and other premium plug-in hybrid SUVs.

The Q5 was facelifted in 2021; there are still two plug-in hybrid models on offer, available across the regular bodystyle and in the Sportback coupe-SUV version. Badged 50 TFSI e and 55 TFSI e, both feature a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and 141bhp electric motor, drawing power from a 17.9kWh battery. Both also feature a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as well as Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system.

The difference between the two is their total output, with the 55 TFSI e producing 362bhp and 500Nm of torque, while the less expensive 50 TFSI e model offers 295bhp and 450Nm of torque. Regardless, in pure-electric ‘EV’ mode, the plug-in Q5 is impressively quiet, with well insulated suspension and tyre noise and virtually no din from the electric motor. According to Audi, you can cover up to 37 miles on electric power alone, at up to motorway speeds.

But, as with all plug-in hybrids, charging the Q5 regularly is critical if you want to achieve its claimed 166 to 188mpg fuel economy. If you don’t plug it in, you’ll see the big SUV return figures closer to 40 or even 30mpg. Thankfully, charging is easy, with a 7kW home wallbox charger capable of topping up the battery in roughly two-and-a-half hours.

When you switch between the electric and petrol power sources, you’ll struggle to notice – it’s seamless with no hesitation or odd changes in throttle response. On top of that, the Q5’s ride is pretty comfortable, even on 19-inch alloy wheels with S line suspension. However, top-of-the-range Vorsprung cars get air suspension for a more cosseting ride.

Passenger and boot space are on par with the plug-in Q5’s rivals from BMW, Mercedes and Volvo. Boot space is reduced by 85 litres compared to the petrol and diesel variants, but at 465 litres (with the seats up), there’s still plenty of room for a family's kit. Standard equipment on the Q5 is also good, with even the entry-level Sport getting LED headlights, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a 10.1-inch touchscreen and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit driver’s display, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging and more.

However, that does come at a price – the cheapest 50 TFSI e model starts at nearly £52,000, while the 55 TFSI e comes in at closer to £58,000 –  over £6,000 more expensive than an equivalent non-electrified diesel or petrol Q5. Opting for the Sportback will also increase the price by around £2,500. Audi has done away with the typical list of option packs, though, meaning if you want extra kit, you have to go up a trim level to get it. With all that considered, the also recently updated Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid could be better value, given its more generous standard equipment and superior fuel-economy and electric driving range figures.

Overall, the Q5 manages to be almost any car for any person. It’s fast, roomy, quiet, cheap to run if you plug in regularly and has enviable brand swagger to boot. It's not the sportiest SUV, but it certainly feels more alert and eager to change direction than its rivals, while continuing to nail every other aspect of the modern family car. It’s not cheap, but it’s good enough that you won’t feel short-changed, either. For more on the Q5 hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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