In a word, impressive

The new Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line showcases the manufacturer’s expertise in electrification and highly efficient internal combustion engine technology. (pictures supplied)

By Derek Ogden, Marque Motoring

Could it be that auto giant Audi has grasped the Holy Grail of the industry with its most popular vehicle, the Q5?

The most desirable, yet elusive, automotive properties claimed by the Q5 plug-in petrol/electric hybrid – outstanding performance coupled with miserly fuel consumption – stand as the chalice of Arthurian legend.

The new Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line showcases the manufacturer’s expertise in electrification and highly efficient internal combustion engine technology with a claimed sprint from zero to 100km/h in a sizzling 5.3 seconds, while, on average, sipping a mere 2 litres of fuel per 100km.

The upgraded vehicle comes to market in a choice of SUV or Sportback styling, starting from $102,900 and $110,200, respectively, without on-road costs. Metallic paint adds $1990 to the price; 20-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels are a no-cost option. On test was the latter at $112,190.

Like all new Audis in Australia the Q5 55 TFSI e is covered by the maker’s five-year unlimited kilometre and 12-year body corrosion warranties. The battery is guaranteed for eight years.


The Q5 PHEV takes on the robust character of the standard Q5, which is enhanced by the inclusion of the S line features including S front and rear bumpers and grille, plus tailgate spoiler.

The Sportback is upgraded from the SUV by headlamps with LED Matrix lights, with washers, and dynamic front and rear indicators. Twenty-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels have a part polished finish which goes to showing off red painted brake callipers.

Optional roof rails on Sportback feature electronic stability control detection, which adjusts ESC when heavy loads are carried on the roof altering the vehicle’s centre of gravity.


Welcoming up to five occupants, Nappa leather wrapped seating, with diamond stitching, up front is power adjustable, heated and with four-way lumbar support. The driver’s side boasts memory function.

Sliding rear seats have 40:20:40 separation and the three-zone climate control air-con has its own display back there. The mood can be subtly altered with one of 30 shades of ambient lighting.

With seat backs in place there is 460 litres of boot space, extending to 1400 litres with the backs folded. The 14.4kWh battery is stored under the luggage compartment.


Accessed by a 10.1-inch dash-mounted touchscreen, the Audi MMI interface puts a mass of information, including navigation, at the driver’s fingertips. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

Digital radio DAB+ is played through a 180W sound system with 10 speakers and sub-woofer. Wireless mobile phone charging also is standard in addition to two USB outlets front and back.


A 2.0 litre TFSI turbo engine works with an electric motor to put out a combined 270 kW and 500 Nm, which is fed to the road through a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and Audi quattro all-wheel drive.

A 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, located under the rear cargo area, can be fuelled up to 7.2 kW AC for a full charge in around two-and-a-half hours.

The vehicle is supplied with all charging gear, including 240V three-pin standard plug, 230V 32 Amp industrial plug and wall bracket mount, plus a Type 2 cable for use at public charging stations.


The Audi Q5 range initially received a five-star ANCAP rating, which ran out in January – not that safety is now second class. Passive features include eight airbags – dual front, dual front-side, dual curtain and dual rear-side.

Active safety includes autonomous emergency braking (up to 85 km/h) with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring (side assist), collision avoidance assist, exit warning, automatic high-beam, hill descent control, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, tyre pressure monitoring, turn and swerve assist, predictive efficiency assistant, driver attention monitoring, plus rear-view camera and active bonnet.

Parking is given a wider perspective thanks to 360-degree cameras, plus park assist, hold assist and hill descent control.


Unlike other ICE/electric motor hybrids, which generally make all the decisions about power generation, the Q5 55 TFSI e gives the driver a greater input into how the two sources combine by choosing one of four operating modes via the touchscreen.

Hybrid mode operates automatically through the route guidance in the navigation system and can be also selected manually. Here the battery charge is optimally distributed across the route to maintain minimum fuel consumption.

In stop-start traffic the Q5 Sportback e quattro runs mainly on battery power based on a large amount of data from on-board sensors. On the open road, when the driver releases the accelerator engine management decides whether to coast with the engine off or use power regen to convert into electrical energy.

All these functions are switched on and off with the minimum effect on the driving performance – the rare engine note in no way being a negative intrusion to cabin occupants.

A further three modes are at the driver’s fingertips. In EV mode – the default setting whenever the car is started – the car is powered by electricity alone, so long as the driver does not depress the accelerator pedal past a certain variable pressure point. The Sportback can run as far as 53km up to 135km/h on the emission-free electric motor alone.

In Hold mode, battery capacity is held at the current level. In Charge mode, the drive management system increases the energy in the battery using the internal combustion engine. As it does during regeneration, the electric motor charges the drive battery.


The Audi Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro S line? In a word, impressive.


Looks: 8/10

Performance: 9/10

Safety: 7/10


Practicality: 8/10

Comfort: 8/10

Tech: 8/10

Value: 6/10