Audi Q5 PHEV: long-term test review

First report: our man gets an introduction to the new Audi Q5 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid SUVVerdict4It’s not a cheap car, but the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e is real showstopper, blending serene comfort and searing performance in an utterly desirable package. The next few months are going to be fun.

Mileage: 3,843
Economy: 41.8mpg

Plug-in hybrid power has come to the Audi Q5 range, and let’s get one thing out of the way: apart from the ludicrously long name, our Q5 55 TFSI e quattro 367PS quattro S line Competition S tronic is a very nice thing indeed. It blends all that’s good about a Q5 with the promise of ultra-low running costs and incredible performance.

On that last point, it’ll show a clean pair of heels to plenty of sports cars, and while the SQ5 trumps the PHEV from 0-62mph, it’s close enough to make no difference. But I’ll be seeing how close it comes to the claimed 117.7mpg in the coming months. Ditto the 26-mile electric range.

• Best hybrid SUVs on sale

It’s for that reason we went to Audi’s flagship dealer, West London Audi, for our photos. Our car isn’t box fresh; it had a shade under 3,000 miles on the clock when we took delivery. But I’m keen to understand more about the Q5’s myriad controls to get the most from the gallon. Over some initial miles, economy has been up and down and largely determined not by how or where I’m driving, but how long the journey is.

West London Audi’s Robert Faulkner explained that the beauty of a plug-in hybrid is that it can be driven just like any other car, and many buyers consider them to be the next step on from a traditional hybrid. But following on from my EV eco-drive with IAM Roadsmart, I clearly need to adapt my driving style to suit the car.

Robert took me through the car’s MMI system and Virtual Cockpit, which in the Q5 PHEV are fundamentally the same as in any Audi. Of more interest were the hybrid-specific controls, such as the EV button. This allows you to cycle between electric-only driving, hybrid, or charge-hold, letting the car drive on its petrol engine to save zero-emission travel for urban areas.

He also took me through some of the Audi Connect systems, which provide all manner of information, from weather forecasts and news right through to flight information. Sure, all these details are available through a smartphone, but it lets you while away the time while waiting in car parks without staring at a tiny screen.

I’ll certainly be putting Robert’s advice to the test. But what needed no explanation was how luxurious the Q5 is; it has a real feeling of quality and solidity. There are six trims within the Q5 PHEV range. Our car is an S Line Competition, and at £54,900, it’s a hefty £5,165 more than the cheapest version. But it’s not like you’re short on kit, with LED lights, leather sports seats, 20-inch alloys and MMI Navigation Plus.

Our car has a few select options, too. The Tour Pack bundles adaptive cruise control with traffic-sign recognition and an AEB system for turning out of junctions. The Comfort and Sound Pack is a worthwhile investment at £1,395 for its Bang & Olufsen stereo, hands-free boot opening and multi-coloured interior lighting. The latter has been a smash hit with my children.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

Key specs

  • Model: Audi Q5 55 TFSI e 367PS quattro S line Competition S tronic
  • On fleet since: November 2019
  • Price new: £54,900
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol & e-motor, 362bhp
  • CO2/tax: 49g/km/£455
  • Options: Tour pack (£1,250), Parking assistance pack (£1,350), matrix LED headlights (£650), Storage pack (£175), Comfort and sound Pack (£1,395), Panoramic sunroof (£1,400)
  • Insurance*: Group: 41/Quote: £562
  • Mileage: 3,843
  • Economy: 41.8mpg
  • Any problems?: None so far

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