That lots of right now’s plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are each essentially the most highly effective and fuel-efficient examples inside their respective mannequin ranges says quite a bit concerning the progress of car electrification. For instance, Audi’s up to date 2021 Q5 SUV lineup, the place the brand new PHEV variant, the Q5 55 TFSI e, packs the most important energy determine, and its steadiness of efficiency, gasoline effectivity, and luxurious place it in a compelling spot within the lineup. Though the sportiest variant stays the SQ5—however solely simply.
Beginning at $52,995, the PHEV model of Audi’s compact luxurious crossover slots between the common $44,395 Q5 45 TFSI and the performance-oriented $53,995 SQ5. Whatever the powertrain, all 2021 Q5s obtain extra angular styling for his or her headlights and entrance and rear bumpers, in addition to an up to date grille that is extra cohesive with the model’s newer fashions. The web impact ties the Q5’s design components collectively higher than earlier than, lending it a recent however not overly aggressive aura when parked on the curb.
Audi launched the plug-in Q5 final yr, which mixes a 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with the hybrid’s 141-hp electrical motor for a peak output of 362 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. With a typical seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, Audi says the Q5 PHEV ought to attain 60 mph in a fleet 5.Zero seconds—solely 0.Three second slower than the SQ5 with its 349-hp turbo 3.0-liter V-6.
Even with the added 550 kilos of mass of the hybrid’s battery and motor, the Q5 55 TFSI e is fast for its section. It will not rearrange your inner organs if you stomp on the accelerator, however it is going to remind you that instantaneous electrical torque is a superb factor when used accurately. The Q5 PHEV feels simply as at residence on the open highway because it does round city. Its journey is regular and polished even when the pavement is something however, and it corners adroitly for its measurement. However as with most electrified autos, you may discover its further weight because the dynamic hundreds enhance.
The PHEV’s lithium-ion battery with 11.Three kWh of usable power nets a 19-mile EPA score for electrical driving. If that appears modest, it is much more so than it wanted to be, as Audi voluntarily lowered its label worth from the 29-mile determine the Q5 earned throughout EPA testing. Whereas in electrical mode, the Q5’s already quiet inside turns into noticeably extra serene. The battery may be recharged in as little as 2.four hours by way of a 240-volt Stage 2 charging station, in accordance with Audi, however takes significantly longer for those who plug it into a standard 120-volt wall socket. In contrast with the usual Q5’s EPA estimate of 25 mpg mixed, the PHEV earns a 27-mpg score after the battery’s been depleted and 50 MPGe with it within the combine.
Inside, the Q5’s cabin continues to exhibit the exemplary construct high quality we have come to anticipate from Audi. The up to date MIB Three infotainment system behind the usual 10.1-inch touchscreen is excessive tech and properly built-in. However we did discover some latency in its responses to instructions, and we’re nonetheless acclimating to not having the earlier MMI setup’s rotary management knob. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay is now accessible, however Android Auto connectivity requires the usage of a wire. Larger trims add Audi’s glorious 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit digital gauge show and its capacity to sharply render full-width map information. Our essential disappointment within the instance we drove was the usual eight-way power-adjustable entrance seats, which we struggled to discover a comfy place in throughout longer stints behind the wheel.
The Q5 55 TFSI e is on the market with Audi’s typical Premium, Premium Plus, and Status choice packages, with the latter pushing the plug-in’s worth to $62,795 with heated and ventilated seats, a head-up show with traffic-sign recognition, and a premium Bang & Olufsen stereo. Audi factors out that federal and native tax credit have the potential to considerably decrease the PHEV’s entry level, limiting its upcharge over the usual Q5 and making the SQ5 a significantly costlier proposition. For Q5 consumers who could make use of its electrical vary, the plug-in’s stable efficiency and luxurious trappings might strike a just-right steadiness.
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