Audi's 2023 plug-in Q5: The king of suburbia
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Audi's 2023 plug-in Q5: The king of suburbia

Audi's 2023 plug-in Q5 builds on its already rock-solid rep

Although Audi may not carry out local assembly in Thailand like rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it still offers a wide mix of models covering all segments, including hybrids and electric vehicles.

One of the most popular Audi models in Thailand is the Q5 compact crossover, which is offered as a plug-in hybrid with two bodystyles -- standard and sportback.

In this review we drive the 2023 Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Black Edition, which competes against other European crossovers including the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60, as well as the Lexus NX.


The Q5 comes with an aggressive, large radiator grille that you'd expect from an Audi and may look more dynamic than larger models like the Q7 with its crouching stance, but in general its design is quite mellow.

While it certainly doesn't stand out from the crowd, the Q5 still has that expensive, elegant look that many luxury car buyers look for.

The base model comes with chrome S line exterior package and 19in wheels, while the S line Black Edition we tested gets sportier 20in rims and glossy black garnishing as well as interior styling upgrades.

The cabin, also with the S line package, features Nappa leather upholstery, sports seats with diamond-cut stitching and D-shaped steering wheel, as well as high-quality metals and craftsmanship. Controls are easy to reach and use without having the take your eyes off the road, while the driving information is laid out in a manner easy to digest.

Build quality is something you would expect in an Audi and the Q5 is a good example. The doors close with a solid clunk and touch points for the interior is solid as well, whether it's the console and door panel padding or various switches and knobs.

There's a large 12.3-inch digital driver display (Audi Virtual Cockpit) and a 10.1-inch centre touchscreen, which appears undersized when compared to the larger driver display. A small upgrade to 12.3-inches would surely be appreciated by Audi customers.

The Black Edition also gets a Bang & Olufsen sound system and four USB ports, but Audi has not thrown in a wireless charger for this model, which is pretty ironic considering this is a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

While Audi seats are well-known for high comfort levels, the sports seats offered in the Q5 makes you wonder whether comfort seats might be more suitable (it's just a crossover). Nevertheless, both front seats are powered and come with lumbar adjustment.

The rear seat backrest comes with reclining and folding mechanisms, which are likely to be used often due to the limited luggage compartment area in the Q5 plug-in hybrid. As the battery is located on the trunk floor, the luggage area has been reduced from the standard 500 litres to 465 litres, with no underfloor storage left. By folding the rear seat backrests you now get 1,405 litres of space.

In terms of safety there is Audi pre sense basic, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert as well as Audi Parking Aid.


Apart from the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, there's also an electric motor that teams up to pump out a combined 367hp and 500Nm, which is transmitted to all four wheels via a 7-speed S tronic transmission and Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Thanks to the 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Q5 is able to run in electric mode for up to 54km (WLTP). A small EV switch on the centre console allows the driver to manage how the electricity is managed as well.

The battery can be charged in two-and-a-half hours via a wallbox, but it also charges using the engine while on the road, saving the energy for later use (for example in downtown traffic). However, this results in higher overall fuel consumption.

There are the usual Audi drive modes that the driver can pick via the Drive Select switch. With electric assist, the Q5 provides the driver with quick response and pretty quick acceleration, hitting the 100kph mark from standstill in 5.3sec, going on to a top speed of 239kph.

The electric-hydraulic steering (with manual reach and rake adjustment) offers decent precision and feel for quick cornering, while brakes are responsive enough for high-speeds.

The ride quality is an area where the Q5 shines. Audi says that the suspension for the 2023 model has been softened to improve ride comfort and it's pretty easy to feel the difference. The Q5's suspension soaks up road vibrations super effectively, resulting in a silky smooth ride. The low wind noise, even at high speeds, also contributes to a high comfort level for occupants in the Q5.


The Q5 55 TFSI e quattro S line Black Edition is a great example of an all-rounder from Audi that offers customers the core strengths of the brand along with usable EV range from its plug-in hybrid technology.

Pros: Smooth performance, solid build, high-quality interior
Cons: No wireless charger, small luggage compartment

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