The Audi Q5 is set to become Audi’s first full hybrid when it is launched at the end of 2012, and the first of what the company promises will be a number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. As with any good hybrid, the Audi Q5’s system can operate via the electric motor, gasoline engine or a combination of both power sources. As such, it combines a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with an electric motor. The gas engine produces 211 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque at 1,500 r.p.m., while the electric motor chips in with another 45 hp and 156 ft-lbs of torque. As a result, the system boasts a netsystemoutputof 245hp and 354 ft-lbs of torque when both power sources are giving their all. Audi says the vehicle achieves a European test cycle average of 7.0 litres per 100 km.
The electric side gets its power from a 1.3-kWh battery thatoperatesat266volts.Itsits in the spare tire well where it does not eat into the usable trunk space -at 29.1 cubic feet with the seats up and 57.3 cu. ft. when folded flat, the Hybrid has the same capacity as its gas-only sibling. The battery relies on regenerative braking to keep it topped up. Down the road, a plug-in derivative willbeadded.
Where the hybrid system differs from most is the fact it’s teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission (complete with paddle shifters) rather than the usual motorboating continuously variable transmission many find so objectionable. In order to do its thing, there are two clutches built into the system (the electric motor replaces the traditional torque converter). The front clutch allows the electricmotortobedecoupled from the engine so the Audi Q5 can run on electricity alone. The second clutch disconnects the electric motor from the rest of the drivetrain -it is required so that the electric motor can be used to fire the engine to life when needed.
The net result is a system that is exceptionally well integrated. During the test drive, the system remained invisible to me as it switched between electric, gas and gas/electric modes. The gas engine comes to life without the usual stumbling hiccup. Even the idle stop function is seamless -the main electric motor spins the engine to life and matches its r.p.m. with the rest of the system. Likewise, the regenerative braking is effective and boasts some true brake pedal feel.
Out on the road, I managed to coax the Hybrid up to 90 km/h on electric power alone (it is capable of reaching 100 km/h). Audi says a fully charged battery gives the Audi Q5 an electric-only driving range of three kilometres when driven at 60 km/h.
The Audi Q5 is more than ready for market. It is frugal, boasts surprising flexibility from the electric side and cedes nothing in terms of its performance and handling when compared with its regular gas-only counterpart.
Anie Bates writes articles for Automative. He has vast exposure in writing for automotive products like Audi Q5 , New Cars, New Car Deals and many more. Visit www.ukcarbroker.co.uk for more details.
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