Until now Audi has pretty much limited hybrid technology to its concept cars such as its A1 Sportback, e-tron Spyder and metroproject quattro. That is set to change with the upcoming Q5 hybrid quattro – the company’s first hybrid model with two drive systems. Audi claims the vehicle will have power comparable to a V6, coupled with fuel consumption like that of a four-cylinder Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) turbodiesel engine vehicle.
The Q5 hybrid quattro’s 2.0 TFSI gasoline engine and electric motor combine to provide a system output of 180 kW (245 hp) and 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft) of torque. It is able to go from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.1 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph). On electric power it can reach a top speed of 100 km/h but its range in electric-only mode is a meager three kilometers (1.86 miles) traveling at 60 km/h (37 mph).
The permanent four-wheel drive vehicle’s consumption of under seven liters per 100 km (33.6 US mpg) in the normal cycle (NEDC) corresponds to CO2 emissions of less than 160g/km (258 g/mile), while Audi says its 75 liter (19.8 US gallon) tank yields a range comparable to that of a TDI.
Combustion engineThe 2.0 TFSI 4-cylinder engine combines direct injection with turbocharging and has an output of 155 kW (211 hp) and maximum torque of 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). To make space for the disk-shaped electric motor, a largely modified eight-speed tiptronic serves the power transmission without the aid of a torque converter.
A so-called hybrid manager controls the transitions between operating modes and, when the 2.0 TFSI is turned off, an electric pump maintains the oil pressure in the hydraulic system to safeguard the vehicle’s start-stop feature.
Electric motorThe electric motor is integrated in the cooling circuit of the engine and outputs up to 22 kW (45 hp) of power and 211 Nm (155.6 lb-ft) of torque. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery system consisting of 72 cells that weighs 38 kg (84 lb) and is positioned in a crash-safe area under the loading floor.
At low temperatures it draws temperate air from the vehicle interior by way of a fan but, if its temperature exceeds a certain limit, a separate refrigerant circuit kicks in that is coupled to the main climate control system but uses a separate evaporator. Audi says this heavy-duty active cooling system distinguishes the Q5 hybrid quattro from many other hybrids and significantly contributes to the high electrical availability of the system.
Operating modesThe Q5 hybrid quattro’s parallel hybrid system allows the vehicle to travel in no less than five different operating modes: combustion engine alone, electric drive alone and hybrid mode, as well as recuperation and boosting modes. In recuperation mode the electric motor acts as a generator and recovers energy when the driver releases the accelerator, while in boosting mode the electric motor operates together with the combustion engine for quick acceleration.
Using a button on the center console or a selector lever the driver can switch between EV, D and S programs. EV mode gives priority to the electric drive in the city, while the D mode employs both motors for optimal fuel consumption and the S mode is designed for sporty driving.
InteriorInstead of the tachometer, the Audi Q5 hybrid comes with a power meter in the dash that indicates the total output of the hybrid system as a percentage. A second scale divided into color segments shows at a glance what share of power is being derived from the electric or combustion motors, while a third instrument shows the current charge level of the battery.
The car also features a WLAN hotspot, which provides an Internet connection for up to eight devices. Using an antenna on the roof the system provide a connection of up to 7.2 MBps using UMTS.
The Audi Q5 hybrid quattro is due to land at dealerships before the end of the year and will be offered in an exclusive color called "Polar Silver." Pricing is yet to be announced.
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