Plug-In Hybrid Is The Best Audi Q5 You Can Buy

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Not only is the new Q5 55 TFSI e efficient, it's also quicker and more powerful than the SQ5.

Say you're in the market for a compact luxury crossover, and you've settled on the Audi Q5. Now you'll have to choose which powertrain you want. In standard 45 TFSI spec, Ingolstadt's mid-range sport-ute comes with a 2.0-liter turbo four. Then there's the SQ5 performance model, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. But the one you'll want is the new Q5 55 TFSI e, which the EPA has rated at 26 miles per gallon on the combined cycle - or the equivalent of 65 mpg with the electrical component of the powertrain taken into account. And it'll go for 20 miles on electric power alone.

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That's pretty impressive, considering that the standard Q5 45 TFSI gets a combined 24-mpg rating from the same US Environmental Protection Agency, and the SQ5 gets only 21 mpg. What's more is that this, the first plug-in hybrid in the Q5 lineup, is also the most powerful and quickest-accelerating member of Audi's mid-size crossover family.

The base Q5 45 TFSI deploys 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque to return a 5.9-second 0-60 time. The SQ5, meanwhile, packs 349 hp and 369 lb-ft for a 5.1-second sprint. But the electrified Q5 55 TFSI e boasts 362 hp and 369 lb-ft for a 5.0-second run.

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Even more interesting is that Audi has priced the plug-in hybrid version exactly the same as the performance-oriented SQ5, both models starting at $52,900. But with slightly better performance, more power, the same torque, and far better fuel economy, the Q5 55 TFSI e seems like the pick of this particular litter, and makes us wonder what exactly is the point of the performance model. So don't be surprised to see a more potent SQ5 - with or without a hybrid assist - emerge in the near future... and maybe, just maybe, an RS Q5 to top the range and better challenge rivals like the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63.

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