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Audi q5 55 tfsi e review

2024 Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Review

As the world shifts towards electric propulsion, there’s a growing sense that people are falling into two boxes: internal combustion (ICE) or fully electric (BEV). Like some form of automotive tribalism, the conversations often state: “You’re with us, or you’re against us”. However, somewhere in the middle is an emerging trend towards plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that seamlessly merge electric and conventional propulsion to create a vehicle with little to no compromises.

Sales of these cars have more than doubled this year to March (3,426 vs. 1,461) and their rate of up-tick as a percentage is the greatest of all powertrains at 134.5% YTD (Electric is 46.4% while Hybrid is 118.6%).

Cars like the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid (from AU$106,600 plus on-roads) we’re testing here are at the forefront of this trend, offering welded-on buyers and new customers the benefits of low-cost emissions-free motoring with petrol power for those longer road-trips. The vehicle has married high-quality engineering and sustainably-slanted luxury.

RELATED: 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron Review.

Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quick Facts

Here are some quick facts about the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e before we get into our full review:

  • Price: from $106,600 plus on-road costs
  • Petrol engine: 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine (same as 45 TFSI)
  • Drivetrain: quattro / 7-speed S tronic
  • Power: 270kW by combining 195kW petrol engine and 105kW electric motor
  • Torque: 500Nm by combining 370Nm petrol engine and 350Nm electric motor
  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds
  • Fuel consumption: 2.0-litres per 100km
  • All-electric range: 55Km (53km Sportback) WLTP

Now you’ve read the quick facts, let’s check out the complete review.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e suv body style
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

What Does the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Cost?

The Audi Q5 line-up kicks off from $73,400 plus on-road costs in Australia. However, the plug-in hybrid e quattro S Line model line-up demands a significant price premium and starts at $106,600 plus on-roads for the standard SUV body style. The Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e S Line as tested is priced at $114,600 plus on-roads.

  • Audi Q5 35 TDI – from $73,400 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 40 TDI Sport – from $87,000 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 45 TFSI Sport – from $89,400 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 40 TDI S Line – from $89,900 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 45 TFSI S Line – from $97,600 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S Line – from $106,600 plus on-road costs
  • Audi Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro S Line – from $114,600 plus on-road costs

OPTIONS: Sitting at the top of the current model line-up, there’s only one option package to consider when you’re buying a Q5 PHEV. For the standard SUV variant, the Technik package ($4,900) includes Matrix LED headlights with dynamic front and rear indicators and headlight washers plus a head-up display and a 755-watt Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system with 19 speakers.

The same Technik package for the Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e ($4,700) includes, in addition to the standard Matrix LED headlights, OLED taillights plus the head-up display and 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 19 speakers.

We’d lean towards the standard SUV variant and add the Technik package. You’re still coming in under the price of the more expensive Sportback model and you’re gaining the 19-speaker B&O sound system and Matrix LED headlights that come standard on the slopey-roofed version. The headlights are the most important option.

KEY COMPETITORS: The obvious competitor is the BMW X3 xDrive30e which’s priced from $111,800 plus on-road costs in Australia, but we’d also consider the Volvo XC60 Ultimate T8 Recharge line-up that’s priced from $101,990 plus on-roads and comes with a monstrous 340kW PHEV system and longer all-electric range of up to 81km.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e interior dashboard
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

What’s the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Like On the Inside?

You don’t get the fresh new interior from the latest cutting-edge Audi models here, but it’s still a pragmatic solution with a nice screen and good materials. Plush leather-appointed seats are built in a fashion you’d expect from the brand, with material selection and build quality up there with the best in the business. Once seated, you can customise the cabin’s atmosphere with ambient lighting, choosing from an impressive palette of 30 colours in an otherwise primarily monochrome interior terrain.

Beyond the tangible features, Audi has mastered the intangibles – the silent heroes. The acoustic comfort is exemplary, thanks to top-tier insulation and the near-silent electric motor. This tranquillity amplifies the relaxing experience in the cabin, making even long drives a place of respite.

Furthermore, the brand’s penchant for ergonomic design ensures that every control is within easy reach and every seat, front or back, provides optimal comfort. The rear passengers are treated to ample legroom and headspace, making the Q5 as accommodating for a family road trip as it is for a solo journey. You’ll also find sliding rear seats with the added flexibility of 40:20:40 split adjustment, and the three-zone climate control has a rear digital display which is always a nice touch.

The central infotainment screen is on the smaller side, measuring 10.1 inches and offering MMI navigation plus, wireless Apple Carplay and wireless Android Auto, digital radio DAB+, and the Audi sound system with 10 speakers and 180 watts including a subwoofer.

Meanwhile, the driver gets a digital driver display (Audi virtual cockpit) and there’s Audi Connect Plus which connects the Q5 to the online world for updates to navigation, entertainment, and security and assistance functions.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e rear design
Audi Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

Does the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Look Good?

The Q5 is instantly recognisable, encapsulating Audi’s design philosophy that marries aggression with elegance. Whether in the standard SUV silhouette or the sculpted Sportback version, its contours and lines are a proud evolution of the original Q5 launched in 2008.

The S line exterior package takes the design narrative further, with distinct S bumpers, a pronounced grille, and a tailgate spoiler, hinting at the potential that lies within. The 20-inch Audi Sport alloy wheels accentuate the vehicle’s side profile, with a five-spoke cutter design providing a striking contrast to the red brake callipers lurking beneath.

There’s a reason why the Q5 has been one of the most popular SUVs of all time, and its subtle yet well-proportioned exterior design evolution is a key factor in that success.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e review feature
Audi Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

How Does the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Drive?

Beneath its conservative design lies the heart of its progressive powertrain—a 2.0-litre TFSI engine that collaborates harmoniously with an electric motor. Their partnership delivers a performance that rivals an S Q5, accelerating from 0 to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds. The acceleration doesn’t have much audible theatre, per se, but that’s not what this car is about. Its true genius lies in its duality.

Despite such impressive performance credentials, the vehicle’s ability to travel up to 55km on quiet, emission-free electric power is very pragmatic. Driving around urban environments is pleasant and silky, and if you primarily use your Q5 for commuting or school runs, this hybrid powertrain would benefit you the most.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e driving on road rear end
Audi Q5 Sportback 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

Through the winding roads of the Gold Coast hinterland, with its varied terrains and dynamic elevation changes, the Q5 handled everything I threw at it. The electric motor’s immediate torque, combined with the beef of the 2.0-litre TFSI engine, propelled the Q5 forward effortlessly without any noticeable stutters on powertrain transitions.

The option to seamlessly switch between driving modes – especially the purely electric mode – added a layer of tranquillity to the drive. You could silently cruise through serene sections of forest, you both powertrains harmoniously through fun patches, and even set the combustion engine to charge the battery so you’d be good for the discrete entry to dinner.

The revered Quattro all-wheel-drive system (now fortified with ultra technology) ensured peerless grip, making the SUV feel planted even on unsealed roads. The intricate balance between sportiness and comfort was palpable. You do get a sense of the increased weight under braking and tighter corners, but there is so much power and grip on tap is never enough to dull the driving experience.

Audi q5 55 tfsi e badge
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e | Image: Camber Collective

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e is the sum of its parts: sporty performance, luxurious comfort, pragmatic body style and electric sustainability, all in one package. Whether cruising the city streets or exploring the undulating terrains of the Gold Coast hinterland, its versatility is genuinely commendable.

For a new car release, it isn’t going to steal the headlines, as it doesn’t emphatically ‘wow’ you in any particular area, but that’s fine. A plug-in hybrid Q5 is like your favourite pair of Levis, only they’re now better in every way.

With electrification becoming the norm, hybrids like these offer a pragmatic bridge towards a fully electric future. Audi has proven that with the right blend of innovation, design, and engineering, it’s possible to cater to both performance enthusiasts and environmental advocates. It’s Audi’s Goldilocks car with a Goldilocks powertrain, and for fans of the format, it’s a powertrain worth stepping up to.

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