Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology can be a tricky thing: with two power sources being equally important, it’s all about getting the balance right and making sure the powertrain gets the best of both worlds where appropriate.
The Audi Q5 50 TFSI e S line (to give it the full name) looks really familiar. And yes, the body shape is classic Q5 SUV. But we’re blown away by how clever the highly finessed PHEV technology underneath this car is.
The Q5 is the first EV to employ Audi’s Ultra quattro technology, which is much more proactive and can even decouple the rear axle for improved efficiency. The PHEV system has a predictive efficiency assistant (PEA) that can adjust the regenerative braking according to different factors, including how close you are to the vehicle in front or even whether there’s a roundabout coming up. All without the driver having to do a thing.
Then again, the Q5 can also give the driver gentle reminders to improve their driving style, like a haptic touch on the throttle if you’re accelerating when it would save fuel/increase charge to actually coast.
There are still various modes you can select manually, but this car is at its best when the tech is left to make the big decisions. For example, when a route is selected in the sat-nav, the car analyses what lies ahead and the management computer decides how best to use the available electric charge to assist the petrol engine in getting there.
Runners Up: Mazda CX-60, Mitsubishi Outlander
AUDI Q5 50 e TFSI S LINE
ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four with 14kWh plug-in battery and electric motor
GEARBOX: 7-speed dual-clutch, AWD
CONSUMPTION: 1.7l/100km, EV range 57km