Audi unveils Q5 Sportback e PHEV

Audi has launched two plug-in hybrid versions of its Q5 Sportback, with prices starting at a not insignificant £53,435 for the entry-level 50 TFSI e quattro Sport. That rises to £59,085 for the more powerful 362bhp 55 TFSI e quattro. Both cars, Audi says, can cover 37 miles on electric power alone.

As buyers, markets and manufacturers strive to marry the expectations of the user in tandem with the perceived costs of delivering the PHEV technology, there’s no getting away from the fact such cars remain expensive, certainly from the perspective of your average car buyer.

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So, what do you get for £53,435? The 50 TFSI e quattro has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which works in conjunction with a 17.9kWh battery and an electric motor. The combined package delivers 295bhp and 332lb ft of torque: according to Audi, that results in a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds.

Step up to the more powerful 55 TFSI e quattro and you get a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine. That in turn shares the same battery pack and electric motor as in the 50 TFSI e, but produces 362bhp and 369lb ft of torque. Subsequently the 0-62mph sprint drops to 5.3 seconds. Both Audis have an electronically limited top speed of 148mph.

In the completely non-realistic algorithm world of ‘perfect fuel consumption conditions’, Audi quotes a return of up to 166.2mpg for the 50 TFSI e, and 156.9mpg for the more powerful model. In the real driving world, of course, those figures will never be achieved. Realistically, in normal everyday driving conditions when you exceed the electric-only 37-mile range, expect, possibly 44-49mpg; but even the latter may well be a stretch.

Depending on spec, emissions for the new PHEV Q5s stand at between 36 and 42g/km.

Four driving modes — EV, Hybrid, Hold and Charge — will be available to drivers in both Q5 PHEVs. While the first two are self-explanatory — providing dedicated settings for either pure-electric or electrically assisted running — Hold mode cleverly retains the battery’s charge state for use later in the journey. It’s the perfect solution when the latter part of a trip includes an emissions-controlled area. The final mode, Charge, allows the driver to slowly top-up the battery pack using the petrol engine.

As for recharging the battery packs in either model: if you plug the cable into the three-pin socket where you usually boil the kettle, they’ll take around eight hours to fully charge. Standard kit is a 7.2kW on-board charger; interestingly, Audi has yet to reveal how long a top-up from a wallbox will take.

The entry-level Q5 Sportback 50 TFSI e quattro Sport includes front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, LED headlights, aluminium roof rails, chrome exhaust tips and 18-inch alloys.

Inside the cabin there’s a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster — both of which feature dedicated menu options for the new PHEV powertrain — plus three-zone climate control and a pair of heated leather sports seats.

Next up is the 50 TFSI e quattro S line. Priced from £55,985, this adds more aggressive front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts and rear privacy glass, plus Matrix LED headlights, headlight washers and Audi’s signature scrolling indicators. You also get an upgrade to 19-inch alloys. There are also further improvements inside, where the standard sports seats are swapped for leather and Alcantara-trimmed replacements embroidered with the S line logo. A sports steering wheel, some brushed aluminium trim and black headlining complete the interior package.

Perhaps not surprisingly — everyone seems to be doing it with new models nowadays — there’s also an Edition 1 ’special edition’ of the 2.0-litre PHEV Q5 Sportback. Adding the Black Styling Pack — which swaps the SUV’s door mirrors, radiator grille, bumper inserts and tailgate trim for gloss black parts — it also gets red brake calipers and snazzy 20-inch diamond cut alloys. It’ll set you back £60,485.

But that’s not all. The range-topping 50 TFSI e quattro range is the Vorsprung model. It too gets Audi’s Black Styling Pack, but also adds a panoramic glass sunroof, adaptive air suspension, OLED rear lights, plus 21-inch alloys. Ok, deep breath: it carries a price tag of £71,135.