2021 AUDI Q5 55 TFSI E QUATTRO SPECS
|Fuel Type||Plug-in Hybrid|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder 141-hp electric motor|
Although plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs) are regarded as a middle ground between non-plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, they frequently provide the finest balance of performance and fuel efficiency within their model range. Take, for example, the Audi Q5 PHEV, technically known as the 55 TFSI E Quattro, which sits in the sweet spot of Audi’s portfolio. The Q5 PHEV outperforms the turbocharged four-cylinder SQ5 by 13 horsepower thanks to an electric motor that assists the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. In comparison to its siblings, the Q5 PHEV has excellent fuel efficiency. Its major advantage, though, is that it can travel 20 miles on electricity alone, and even further if you keep your foot lightly on the pedal. This luxurious, fuel-efficient crossover is also beautiful on the inside and out, with Audi’s newest infotainment system, earning it our Editors’ Choice award for the segment.
Four Trims and a Design
The PHEV 55 TFSI E Quattro, like all Audi Q5s, is available in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. They’re all powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 248 horsepower and a 141-hp electric motor for a total output of 362. The Quattro’s all-wheel-drive system receives 369 pound-feet of torque from a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Connecting the car to a Level 2 240-volt charger takes around 2.5 hours to charge its 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery pack from empty to full, however plugging it into a conventional 110-volt outlet will take an overnight charge. The Q5 has an EPA-estimated electric range of 19 miles with a fully charged battery, but we easily managed nearly 20 miles on electrons alone.
The entry-level Premium trim, which starts at $51,900, is the most affordable. S line external trim, LED headlights, aluminum roof rails with crossbars, a power tailgate, heated and operated exterior mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and gray-brown wood inside inlays are all standard. The Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster is standard, as is the new MMI interface with a 10.1-inch touch screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, and a basic sound system with AM/FM HD Radio, Bluetooth for hands-free phone and wireless streaming. Front-collision warning with automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot recognition, and front and rear parking sensors are also included.
The Premium Plus trim, which starts at $55,800, was the one we tested. It includes 19-inch bi-color wheels, power-folding exterior mirrors with memory settings, driver seat memory, a hand-activated heated steering wheel, leather-like door armrests and center console, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus, a surround-view camera, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, three months of SiriusXM satellite radio, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist.
A $1,500 Navigation Package, which includes the MMI Navigation Plus system with Google Earth maps and six months of Audi Prime and Plus, which includes Wi-Fi and linked functions like traffic and parking information, was available on our test car. A $950 Bang & Olufsen audio system with 3D sound, $800 20-inch wheels with run-flat tires, and $595 Daytona Gray pearl-effect paint were also included. The final price was $60,740, including a $1,095 destination fee.
The Prestige trim includes matrix-design LED headlights with headlight washers, ventilated front sport seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment, a heads-up display with traffic sign recognition, and MMI navigation for a starting price of $54,000.
The second-generation Q5 has received a midcycle redesign that includes new front and back fascias, as well as new head and taillights, but the crossover retains Audi’s understated but attractive style in comparison to other, more bangled European luxury rivals. Except for an electric charging connection on the driver’s side, the Q5 PHEV’s appearance is similar to its gas-powered counterparts.
With elegant accents like real-wood trim, the interior of the Q5 maintains the non-fussy but refined beauty of the appearance. Unlike other plug-in crossover competitors, the Q5 PHEV’s battery does not obstruct storage, and the plug-in version has the same rear cargo volume as its non-plug-in siblings, despite the gas tank being reduced to 14.3 gallons from 18.5 gallons to make room for the battery.
Audi’s new MMI Touch infotainment system replaces the traditional center console controller with a 10.1-inch touch screen with an easy-to-use menu. Thanks to upgraded hardware and software, the new interface is far faster and more responsive than the previous version, and it has full menus for monitoring the PHEV’s charge level and setting up the most effective charging schedule.
The Q5 PHEV features Bluetooth-based Apple CarPlay, while Android Auto requires a USB connection. While both smartphone platforms offer free cloud-connected navigation, we choose the $1,500 MMI Navigation option since it includes detailed Google Earth mapping. It can also assist in the discovery of charging stations, while Prime and Plus connection adds in-cabin Wi-Fi as well as internet radio, traffic information, and other services to the dashboard.
The Premier Plus’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit Plus instrument cluster is a compelling reason to upgrade to the middle trim level. The wide, sharp digital display, which other luxury manufacturers have emulated, stretches the navigation map across the whole instrument cluster and prominently displays information like as audio, charge level, and driver assistance settings.
Fuel economy and performance are both impressive.
In comparison to its brothers, the Q5 PHEV gets 43 MPGe in the city, 64 MPGe on the highway, and 50 MPGe combined. Without using a light foot and despite constantly climbing steep hills, we were able to easily attain 20 miles of electric-only range with the battery completely charged. The Q5 PHEV is quite quiet in EV mode, with only a little purr from the powertrain, which becomes more evident during regenerative deceleration.
EV mode has plenty of energy despite the hybrid battery and motor’s additional weight, and electric-only acceleration is smooth and forceful from a standstill. When the battery runs out and the car can no longer run on electrons alone, the gasoline engine kicks in almost imperceptibly and operates in tandem with the electric motor as long as throttle inputs are smooth. To save fuel, the gasoline engine also shuts down while coasting and idling.
The Q5 PHEV glides across a range of road surfaces with ease and is unaffected even while driving on gravel. It handles curves and turns with ease, while the hybrid battery’s added weight is obvious when compared to its lighter gas-powered brothers.
A High-Quality Compact Luxury Crossover
Although the Audi Q5 PHEV’s 50 MPGe is less efficient than the BMW X3 xDrive30e’s 60 MPGe and the Mercedes-Benz GLC350e’s 56 MPGe, its 362-horsepower engine is far more powerful than the BMW’s 288 hp and the Mercedes’ 315 hp. It’s a stalwart in the crowded compact luxury crossover segment, and the updates for the 2021 model year make it even more appealing. The 2021 Audi Q5 55 TFSI E Quattro handily beats off its limited field of PHEV rivals thanks to its mix of exceptional fuel efficiency, stylish appearance, snappy performance, and improved cabin tech, earning it our Editors’ Choice award.