Hybrids & Electrics

Is the 2020 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid as Fast as an SQ5?

The Audi Q5 has been the brand’s top-selling model for years, so it only made sense for them to come out with a hybrid version of it. After all, it’s been Audi’s goal to release 30 electric models by 2025, with 10 of them being plug-in models, and the Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid is one of them. Aside from being very fuel-efficient, the Q5 PHEV surprisingly has a lot of horsepower, so we had to wonder if it’s as fast as the brand’s SQ5.

The Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid offers smooth performance

The Audi Q5 PHEV was introduced earlier this year and is based on the second-generation Q5 platform that debuted in 2018. There’s not much on the outside to delineate it from its gas-only counterpart as the main difference is under the hood. Powering the Q5 PHEV is a turbo 2.0-liter engine that’s mated to an electric motor which is then connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This combination is good for 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and the power is sent through all four wheels via the brand’s Quattro system, which is standard on all three of the Q5 PHEV’s trim levels.

As far as the plug-in part of the equation, the Q5 PHEV is capable of driving on all-electric mode for up to 20 miles before the charge runs out. And when it does, Audi says that the Q5 PHEV is able to achieve 65 MPGe in combined driving, which is far better than the conventional Q5’s combined rating of 27 mpg. But the real story here is that power rating. The Q5 PHEV has 114 more horsepower and 96 lb-ft more of torque than the gas-only Q5, which puts it into SQ5 territory.

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front shot of a white audi Q5 plug-in hybrid
2020 Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid | Audi

Is the Audi Q5 Plug-in Hybrid as quick as the SQ5?

Being one of Audi’s performance-oriented “S” models, the Audi SQ5 has always been the “Mr. Hyde” to the Q5’s “Dr. Jekyll.” But the introduction of the Q5 PHEV makes it a little bit of a wild card. It’s quicker and more fuel-efficient than the regular Q5 and, believe it or not, it’s just as quick as the SQ5. That’s right, this plug-in hybrid can get up to 60 mph in 5 seconds, which is about a full second quicker than the regular Q5 and on par with the SQ5. According to Car and Driver, the SQ5 is able to get to 60 in 5.1 seconds, which means that the Q5 PHEV is more fuel-efficient and just as quick as the SQ5.

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electric plug plugged into audi q5 plug in hybrid
2020 Audi Q5 PHEV | Audi

Is it better to buy an Audi Q5 PHEV over the SQ5 then?

Now that we have seen the power and performance between the two vehicles, we can look at pricing. The base Q5 Premium model retails at around $43,000, while the Q5 PHEV Premium model carries an MSRP of $52,900, so you’re paying about $10,000 for the hybrid powertrain. On the other hand, the SQ5 starts at $52,900 as well, however, with all the options, it can get well into the $60,000 range.

We admit that the Q5 PHEV seems a bit oddly placed as it not only adds a more fuel-efficient alternative to the Q5, but it’s just as quick as the SQ5 and costs about the same amount. In that case, we would likely advise that the Audi Q5 PHEV is probably the best way to go when it comes to getting the balance of both fuel efficiency and performance. Oddly enough, if you find yourself choosing between the Audi Q5 line, then we would actually recommend the hybrid over the performance variant, which we would likely never do.