In my opinion PHEVs often offer the best balance of performance and fuel efficiency within their model range.

The PHEV variant of the Audi Q5 we tested, officially named 55 TFSI E Quattro Sportback, is a combination of excellent fuel efficiency, good looks, solid performance, and updated cabin tech. All these features easily puts it ahead of rivals in the PHEV segment.

Like in the standard Q5, it’s the four-cylinder 45 TFSI that provides a nice balance between economy and performance, and Audi claims 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds.

The Sportback is just 7mm longer and no wider than the standard Q5. It also has the same 2.8m wheelbase and an identical 0.30Cd drag coefficient. The chopped roof only means a loss of 40 litres of boot, and with the rear seats folded, there’s an impressive 1,480 litres of cargo space.

The Sportback is designed to be the Q5’s slightly more driveable sibling. That means there’s a adaptive air suspension included on the top specifications, sportier than the standard one.

The air suspension setup also brings with it five ride-height settings, with the ability to increase ground clearance by as much as 45mm in the allroad or offroad drive modes. At speeds, the whole car is lowered by 15mm to improve efficiency and handling.

The Q5 PHEV delivers exceptional fuel economy relative to its siblings. But its biggest advantage is that it can go 20 miles in electric-only mode, and even farther if you keep your foot light on the accelerator.

The interior continues the sophisticated elegance of the Q5’s exterior, being very familiar to anyone that drove the facelifted Q5 SUV.

The 10.1-inch central infotainment unit is a slightly touchscreen,  simple climate control panel with physical buttons and knobs. Good stuff. 

There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and the 12.3-inch ‘Virtual Cockpit Plus’ is also included on all models. Audi usually excel at interiors, and this is no different. The materials are top quality, the only letdown is the plastic covers on the back of the front seats.

The gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit, and it changes smoothly.

The rechargeable hybrid Q5 battery evolves in 2021 with an increased capacity, so that electric autonomy is around 60 km.

The Q5 PHEV glide smoothly over a variety of road surfaces and is unruffled even on gravel. It takes curves and corners nimbly, although the extra weight of the hybrid battery is noticeable compared with its lighter gas-powered siblings.

The Q5 is quiet, comfortable and hits all the bases it needs to for family life. 

There’s huge amounts of rear legroom back, but the plastic used is not inline with the rest of the materials. Shame. The trunk of the Q5 Sportback peaks at 510 l under the luggage cover. That’s 40 l lost against Q5.

The combination of excellent fuel efficiency, sleek looks, peppy performance, and updated cabin tech easily puts the 2021 Audi Q5 55 TFSI E Quattro ahead of its PHEV rivals.

Audi Q5 Sportback TFSI e 50 quattro S tronic (220 kW)
Engine typeInline 4-cylinder engine
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression1984 / 82.5 x 92.8 / 9.6
Max. power output in kW (hp) / at rpm195 (265) / 5250 – 6500
Max. torque in Nm (lb-ft) / at rpm370 (272.9) / 1600 – 4500
Top speed in km/h (mph)239 (148.5)
Acceleration, 0-100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) in sec6.1
Fuel consumption (combined) in l/100 km2.0 – 1.8
Combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km19.6 – 19.3
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km45 – 42
Unladen weight according to EU (excluding driver) / (including driver) / gross weight limit in kg (lb)2075 (4574.6) / 2150 (4739.9) / 2660 (5864.3)