2020 Audi Q5: New Plug-In Hybrid Option Now Available
For 2020, Audi has introduced the first plug-in hybrid version of its Q5 SUV. Not only is the Q5 the sensible choice – the Q7 is kinda big, the Q3 is kinda small – the Q5 is just right. And now it’s the much more environmentally conscious choice. The new PHEV powertrain combined with standard quattro all-wheel drive and SUV practicality give the 2020 Q5 some serious advantages.
Before we get to nitty-gritty of this new drivetrain, it’s worth noting the Q5 is Audi’s best-selling SUV. Like I said, it hits a sweet spot. The Q3 is nice, but it’s a bit on the small side, and the Q7 is great, but it’s a tank. The Q5 is enough if you have a family, but it’s still not too much to try and drive around town.
The big news for 2020 is this TFSI e drivetrain. The traditional bit is the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine. That’s now hooked to an electric motor that lives between the engine and seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic. Combined output is 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. That’s a healthy amount, and it adds up to better performance versus the non-hybrid Q5.
With the TFSI e, the sprint from zero to 60 mph takes only five seconds, nearly a second faster than the normal Q5.
If you’re more into economy than all-out performance, the Audi Q5 TFSI e allows you to adjust engine and battery usage with three modes: Hybrid, EV, and Battery Hold.
Hybrid Mode is activated automatically by on-board route guidance in the MMI navigation system. It optimizes battery power over a given route to reduce fuel, factoring in things like the speed limit, types of roads, and any data from the vehicle’s sensors. In EV Mode, the Q5 moves exclusively on battery power as long as you don’t mash the “gas” past its limit. In Battery Hold Mode, battery capacity is held at the current level in case you anticipate a need for it later on.
In electric-only mode, the Audi Q5 TFSI e has a range of 20 miles using its 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. Electric-only mode is great for around town driving, urban situations, and the like. The 2020 Audi Q5 TFSI e is EPA rated at 65 MPGe.
The Q5 TFSI e comes standard with a compact charging system with cables for home or on the go. The myAudi app shows how long until fully charged.
Audi was clever about packaging, locating the lithium-ion battery pack under the luggage compartment floor. Another trick efficiency measure is the climate control system with a heat pump that pools otherwise wasted heat from various high-voltage components.
Another contributor to overall efficiency is the adaptive cruise control. Audi uses something called “predictive efficiency assist,” which adjusts the electric and gasoline motor to increase range and fuel economy.
The system also works even if you’re not using adaptive cruise control. If that is the case, a haptic signal from the accelerator and a visual signal in the cockpit and heads-up display will alert the driver to the proper times to let off the gas. Audi says such a feature allows owners to use as much kinetic energy as possible.
The 2020 Audi Q5 TFSI e comes in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. Prices are quite reasonable, given not just the usual Audi build quality but also the amount of green tech. The Premium lists for $52,900, Premium Plus for $56,600, and the top-of-the-line Prestige for $60,350. Add in another $995 for destination.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.
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