Audi’s first hybrid SUV: the Q5 Hybrid Quattro

3 Mar

By Matt McCarron

Audi has unveiled the Q5 hybrid quattro, making Audi the latest competitor in the hybrid SUV market. The Q5 will compete with Porsche’s Cayenne S Hybrid and BMW’s ActiveHybrid X6.

Audi’s Q5 hybrid quattro will have significantly less horsepower and torque than either the Porsche or BMW variants. The Q5 hybrid quattro is powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline engine and an electric motor. The two power plants together creates 245 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. This allows the Q5 hybrid quattro to get an estimated 33 mpg.

In comparison, the BMW ActiveHybrid X6 is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, producing a whopping 400 HP between 5,500-6,400 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque between 1,750-4,500 rpm. The added electric engine brings the total horsepower to 480. In terms of performance, the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid falls in between the BMW and Audi. The Cayenne S Hybrid is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine, producing 333 HP. The electric motor produces 47 HP, bringing the total to 380.

Audi Q5 hybrid quattro: Photo Courtesy of http://www.insideline.com

The Q5 hybrid quattro is the first hybrid SUV to be very dependent on electric power, in order to achieve a sporty vehicle that can have excellent fuel efficiency. The electric motor can drive up to speeds of 62 mph on electric-only power. The electric motor’s capabilities is made possible by a lithium-ion battery weighing only 83 lbs.

The Q5 hybrid quattro is equipped with an 8-speed tiptronic transmission, which has been extensively modified to handle the power of both systems without the aid of a torque converter. In addition to the tiptronic transmission, the Q5 hybrid quattro features five different driving modes. These modes are operated depending on the manner in which the driver is operating the vehicle. When the Q5 hybrid quattro is stopped at traffic light both the internal combustion and electric systems are deactivated. When the driver releases the brake pedal the vehicle beings to operate on electric power, which is available up to 62 mph. The driver can also select the driving mode they would like via a button on the center console or gear selector. The “EV” mode gives priority to the electrical system when in city conditions. The other two options includes “D” mode, which gives the vehicle it best fuel efficiency, and “S’ mode if the driver chooses to enjoy a sportier drive.

Although the Q5 hybrid quattro is just that, a hybrid vehicle. It also retains it’s purpose and versatility as a SUV. The Q5 hybrid quattro is capable of towing loads up to 4,409 lbs. The Q5’s body and chassis structure is also the lightest available on the world hybrid SUV market. It utilizes aluminum and hot-shaped steel on many areas of the body, providing the Q5 hybrid quattro with a body that’s both lightweight and very strong.

The Q5 hybrid quattro is scheduled to make its first appearance in foreign showrooms in the late part of this year. Pricing hasn’t been released. However, based on the MSRP’s of the two 2.0-liter gasoline versions, the Q5 hybrid quattro should fall in low to mid $40,000 range.

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