The best-of-both-worlds versatility, with the environmental and financial benefits of zero local emission electric driving, but increased range, has been made possible by an increased capacity battery. This technology also comes to the Q5 TFSI e SUV and TFSI e versions of the A6 and A7 Sportback.
Like most of its cohort the new plug-in Q5 Sportback delivers its zero local emissions driving capability with a choice of outputs – 50 TFSI e quattro models can draw on 299PS and will be available in the UK in conjunction with Sport, S line, Edition 1 and Vorsprung specification. Competition and Competition Vorsprung equipment options are fittingly reserved for 55 TFSI e quattro variants with their 367 PS power peak.
Common to all variants is a drivetrain combining an electric motor with a 2.0 TFSI petrol engine delivering 265 PS and 370 Nm (272.9 lb-ft) of torque. The permanently excited synchronous motor (PSM) with its 105 kW and 350 Nm (258.1 lb-ft) power and torque peaks is integrated into the seven-speed S tronic transmission, which channels output to a quattro drivetrain featuring ultra technology. In most situations, it supplies drive exclusively to the front wheels in the interest of efficiency, but the rear axle can be engaged predictively and in a split-second as required, ensuring that the advantages of quattro all-wheel drive are always available immediately when needed.
Complementing the ultra-reactive quattro system is a sophisticated five-link front and rear suspension configured to give comfort, stability and control equal priority. In Vorsprung and Competition Vorsprung versions the set-up is further enhanced by adaptive air springs with damper control and five ride height settings adjustable via the standard Audi drive select system
The lithium-ion battery is located below the luggage compartment floor, and its 104 prismatic cells can store 14.4 kWh (net; 17.9 kWh gross) of energy with a voltage of 381 volts. For optimal temperature control, its cooling circuit is connected to both the coolant circuit for the air conditioning system and the low-temperature circuit that supplies the electric motor and power electronics. The air conditioning system integrates a highly efficient heat pump that capitalises on the waste heat from the high-voltage components. It can generate a heat output of up to 3 kW with 1 kW of electric energy, which increases the car’s energy efficiency and provides a more comfortable climate for the occupants.
Differences in the boost strategies networked into the two versions of the Q5 Sportback TFSI e determine their system output and system torque. The 50 TFSI e quattro with 299 PS and 450 Nm accelerates to 62mph from a standing start in 6.1 seconds, while the 55 TFSI e quattro with 367 PS and 500 Nm dispatches the sprint in 5.3 seconds. Both top out at an electronically limited top speed of 148mph, and depending on specification both are capable of returning economy figures ranging from 141.2 MPG to 156.9 MPG, which equates to CO2 output of between 42 and 45 g/km.
In both output formats, maximum torque is available from fractionally above idle speed, giving acceleration the impressive immediacy that is one of the many benefits of electrification. When the electric motor that makes this possible is operating alone, WLTP tests have confirmed that the plug-in hybrids can travel for up to 37 miles at speeds of up to 83mph.
Although both versions of the new Q5 Sportback TFSI e excel in comfortably accommodating long distance travel supported by ample reserves of power, they have been configured primarily to enable the majority of everyday driving to be tackled using electric drive alone as frequently as possible. This is particularly true in urban settings and stop-go traffic. The driver can, however, intervene in the interaction between the two motors by selecting one of four operating modes.
In EV mode – the default setting which is active every time the vehicle is started – the Q5 Sportback TFSI e is powered exclusively electrically until the driver exceeds a perceptible pressure point in the accelerator pedal’s travel. Hybrid mode is activated automatically when route guidance by the navigation system is initiated, but it can also be selected manually via the operating mode button. In this mode, the battery charge is distributed optimally across the route in order to keep power consumption to a minimum. In Hold mode, battery capacity is held at the current level, and in Charge mode, the drive management system increases the amount of energy in the battery with the aid of the internal combustion engine. The electric engine then works as a generator, charging the drive battery.
The control function for the drive of the two plug-in hybrids is based on a large amount of data. This includes online traffic information, distance to the destination, the route profile of the chosen route, precise information about immediate surroundings from the navigation data, such as speed limits, types of roads, uphill and downhill slopes and the latest data from the on-board sensors. If route guidance is active in the MMI navigation system, the predictive operating strategy attempts to drive the last urban segment of the route purely electrically and to arrive at the destination or charging station with the drive battery nearly empty.
The Audi Q5 Sportback TFSI e models are supplied as standard with the Compact charging system comprising cables for household and industrial outlets plus a control unit. The integrated charger charges the lithium ion battery with a maximum power of 7.4 kW, meaning that at a household outlet an empty battery can be fully and conveniently recharged overnight in a little over eight hours. While on the road, the driver can also charge at public charging terminals with the standard mode 3 cable with a type 2 plug, and can streamline the process by making use of Audi’s proprietary e-tron Charging Service. It offers e-tron and TFSI e customers the opportunity to subscribe to one of two attractive fixed price charging tariffs, and to access a vast number of charge points operated by 18 suppliers across the UK and Europe using one RFID payment card.
In the supremely comfortable five-seat cabin with its attractively sculpted two-section dashboard the third generation modular infotainment system or MIB 3 is at the heart of the sophisticated and neatly integrated in-car technology. The freestanding 10.1-inch MMI monitor offers full touch-screen functionality, as well as state-of-the-art natural language voice control, and is complemented as standard by the Audi Virtual Cockpit plus with its panoramic 12.3-inch display. MMI Navigation Plus and Audi connect internet connectivity are naturally also included, meaning that the Q5 Sportback can display high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth for navigation, deliver ultra-accurate traffic information derived from the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet and offer useful features such as a news feed, weather and travel updates, local fuel pricing listings and an on-street parking assistant.
In addition to their sophisticated navigation and connectivity technology, and depending on version, all Q5 Sportback models are equipped with features including either LED or Matrix LED headlamps, the parking system plus supported by a reversing camera, part or full leather upholstery and alloy wheels ranging in size from 18 inches in the Sport model to 21 inches in the Competition Vorsprung.
Particular specification highlights of the Vorsprung and Competition Vorsprung models include state-of-the-art OLED rear lights and a black styling package externally, and inside a panoramic glass sunroof, Bang & Olufsen 3D sound, a head-up display and an extensive portfolio of additional driver assistance systems.
Q5 Sportback TFSI e now available to order priced from £53,435 OTR