Ian Lamming is blown away by the technology behind the new Audi Q5 hybrid.
IT’S blowing a hooley; I can tell, not because I’m being buffeted especially, but because the Range Rover in front is doing a passable impression of a crab.
That’s SUVs for you. They tend to come with the aerodynamics of a house brick. But wait. What am I driving? An SUV. So how come I barely notice the gales?
Well, that’s because Audi knows the importance of wind-flow and the new Q5 is curvaceous allowing the air to pass over its body unhindered. It’s also wide at the bottom, narrower at the top and not too high. That makes it squat and planted, stable and secure and underneath is Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive to stick the tyres to the road regardless of the surface.
But, to be honest, that’s any old Q5, which this isn’t. It is the E-tron, not the full-blown electric tech-fest, but the TFSI-e, a petrol-powered, supercharged, turbocharged, plug-in hybrid.
Electricity is the latest obsession but going full Scalextric is about as likely as Trump being convicted of abusing his power. The world just can’t cope with battery powered motors and until it can the hybrid is going to rule.
Audi has gone halfway house with TFSI-e, a 2.0 litre petrol with a plug in battery. Charging to full doesn’t give you that many miles battery-only motoring (26 in fact) but the e is clever at running both together for a super quiet, uber-smooth, powerful ride.
When they work collectively the result is startling – 367PS of power and 500Nm of torque are unleashed in silky smooth fashion giving the Q5 amazing performance. It also helps keep what is a very powerful and swift car the right side of 30 miles per gallon.
Lift off the throttle and the EV green light is given and there is also a mode where it brakes for you to recycle kinetic energy to recharge the batteries. This is one advanced motor. How’s that for synchronicity?
The Audi is as plush as owt, as they say up North, with a generous list of standard equipment. LED headlights with High Beam Assist, 20-inch contrasting grey alloy wheels, fully electric adjustable sport seats with massage function, three-zone automatic climate control and a Technology Pack incorporating virtual cockpit, MMI Navigation High and PHEV-specific displays all fitted as standard.
The virtual dash is excellent and the view can be changed myriad ways. The fit and finish is exemplary and the ergonomics spot on. Add all that to supreme levels of refinement and the miles just fly by leaving you as fresh at the end of the journey as at the start.
And guess what? This Audi isn’t silver, it’s a lovely shade of green – Azores to be precise –
A perfect match for those looking on in envy – out of the side windows of the boxy SUV in front, I’m sure.
Audi Q5 55 TFSI-e
Engine: 2.0 petrol intercooled, turbocharged
Top speed: 148mph
Combined MPG: 33.6
Transmission: seven-speed auto
CO2 g/km: 56
Price: £61,805.00 with options