The Audi Q5 is the German automaker’s best-selling vehicle in the United States, offering four main qualities favored by its customers; luxury, comfort, performance and sportiness. In the compact luxury crossover SUV category, it is second in sales only to the Lexus LX.
The Second Gen Q5 was released in 2018, so the 2021 Q5 is basically the same car with a moderate facelift instead of a new design, and it comes with some technology updates. The plug-in hybrid version was added to the Q5 family last year, so there aren’t many changes to this year’s model.
This cutting-edge vehicle’s dynamic driving performance is aided by a lower center of gravity, which comes from its battery’s low position within the chassis, under the rear cargo area. The Q5 PHEV is Audi’s premiere hybrid vehicle. Says CEO Hans-Jürgen Abt: “For us, this Q5 represents a real first.” The automaker is introducing A7 and A8 hybrids as well, and intends to electrify at least 30% of its US product line by 2025.
Joel Sam Santhosh, reviewer for Carindigo.com: “The Audi Q5 is the midsize luxury crossover from the brand, and in the Q5 lineup, the PHEV variant is dream model everyone should have an eye on. The Q5 from Audi was introduced in 2009 and hybrid model came a couple of years later. The PHEV model is the best of both worlds offering the range of an IC engine while being environmentally friendly as a battery electric vehicle.”
Audi offers three 2021 Q5 PHEV trims: Premium (MSRP: $51,900), Premium Plus (MSRP: $55,800) and Prestige (MSRP: $61,700).
Able to drive without tailpipe emissions in EV Mode, the PHEV is eligible for $6,712 in potential Federal Tax Incentives.
Outside, this year’s Q5 is slightly longer, with an extra 0.75 inches due to larger bumpers. OLED lights have been added which drivers can program with a choice of Audi “signatures.” Matrix-designed LED headlights (on the Prestige trim) offer a daytime running light signature (DRL) and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals. Thinner and wider, a sportier honeycomb structure in the Singleframe grille provides the Q5 with a more aggressive look. The PHEV’s 2 side intakes have become tall trapezoidal inserts providing a rakish, more powerful look. Two new paint colors are now available: District Green and Ultra Blue.
Inside, a 10.1-inch touchscreen is now standard equipment, coming with Audi’s latest MIB 3 infotainment system. It runs quicker and is easier to use. You can navigate the MMI touch display with either your finger or the sound of your voice while driving. Apple CarPlay is now wireless. The car comes with a “functions on demand” system that allows you to pay for upgrades – such as a navigation system – by downloading it via an over-the-air update.
You can connect your Q5 PHEV to the internet with available Audi connect, an intuitive system that integrates sought-after information like Google Earth, weather conditions and traffic information. The Audi Q5 offers standard Audi connect CARE assistance and security services as well as a complimentary 6-month trial of available Audi connect PRIME and Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers with Audi connect PLUS online services.
Cargo space stays as expansive as the previous year, offering 53.7 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.
The 2021 Q5 PHEV uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine paired up with an electric motor which is powered by a 14.1kWh battery pack. This hybrid combo produces 362hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Audi says the PHEV reaches 60mph in 5.7 seconds. The car’s all-electric EPA-rated range is 19 miles.
Says Driving.ca.com reviewer David Booth: “Germany finally produces a hybrid that can compete with the best of Toyota. When it comes to melding electric and fossil fuel motors, to get on par with the Japanese giant is quite a statement. The machine in question is Audi’s latest Q5, the 55 TFSI e. It’s not just a hybrid, but a plug-in hybrid. More importantly – or at least justifying that rather dramatic opening line – it’s not just a plug-in hybrid, but the smoothest-running, most sophisticated and impressively silent plug-in hybrid I’ve yet tested.”
Test drivers have said that when the gas engine combines with its electric motor, it’s as impressively quiet as the e-motor running on its own. They also say that the car offers excellent power and quickness in either Pure Electric Mode or Hybrid Mode (gas engine and e-motor working together). Like the very best of the PHEVs released nowadays, the 2021 Q5 plug-in hybrid defaults to its EV mode. Meaning it wants to get you used to driving with the e-motor alone, which will generate savings on gas purchases and give you a quieter ride. The Q5 PHEV’s Battery Save Mode works during long highway trips to keep the battery charged for when you reenter urban areas.
An integrated heat pump uses the battery’s heat to efficiently warm the cabin. And an onboard 7.7kW charger enables the plug-in’s battery to replenish from empty to 100% in just 2.4 hours with a 240-volt outlet.
Standard driver assistance features include:
• Audi side assist offers blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings
• Lane departure warning
• Audi pre-sense rear (part of Audi side assist) uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to help detect an impending rear-end collision, and can initiate preventative measures
• Parking system plus helps make parking easier with front and rear proximity acoustic parking sensors
• Standard Rear cross traffic assist informs the driver of approaching vehicles
• Available Adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist
Though the 2021 Q5 is still waiting for safety test results, the 2019 Audi Q5 earned a 5-star rating from the NHTSA. It barely missed a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS due to headlamps that failed to meet the agency’s deadlines, but other than that, its safety marks are considered high level.
Says physicist and EV reviewer Blagojce Krievevski of ElectricCarsReport.com: “Combining sporty driving performance and SUV versatility, the 2021 Audi Q5 model line continues to set a new standard in the luxury SUV segment. The updated Q5 models, including the plug-in hybrid, combine sharper design with excellent every day usability and offer a larger array of infotainment and driver assistance features to cement their position as the brand’s bestselling SUV lineup.”
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