The 2013 model year is a big one for the Q5. Audi’s popular compact crossover will roll into showrooms with new engines, including a 3.5-liter V-6 — and a turbodiesel in Europe — and a refreshed exterior and cabin. But the big news is the Audi Q5 Hybrid, the German OEM’s first mass-production hybrid vehicle.
The hybrid is powered by Audi’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 40 kW electric motor. The pair will combine to produce 245 hp at 354 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s enough power to get the average fleet driver from zero to 60 in seven seconds or tow up to 4,400 pounds. The official fuel economy numbers are not yet in, but Audi is predicting a combined 30 mpg.
The lithium-ion battery pack will be stowed under the cargo hold, taking the place of the now-absent spare, so maximum cargo capacity remains just under the 60-cubic-feet mark. With that amount of room and two tons of towing capacity, this small SUV is working hard to live up to its “sport sedan with a backpack” tagline.
The aforementioned refresh includes a slight reworking of the grille and the addition of xenon headlights with available LED daytime running lights. The roofline is flatter than last year’s version but the overall dimensions are unchanged. The Q5 rides on 19-inch chrome alloy wheels; 20-inchers are optional. Further accouterments include a massive sunroof (power in the front, static over the rear seats) and a roof rack to complement the Q5’s signature aluminum roof rails.
The interior maintains its layout and adds a few new color schemes and upholstery options to accompany the leather-and-walnut trim. The rear seats recline and there’s plenty of legroom for all five passengers. Audi’s MMI infotainment interface controls the hard drive-based audio system as well as the navigation, which is powered by Google Maps.
On the road, the Q5 continues to promise a superior driving experience. Audi retuned and recalibrated the suspension and electric power steering for 2013, and testers praised the hybrid’s sure handling, low-end torque and cornering.
The new Q5s will hit showrooms in waves. The gas-powered 2.0T and 3.0T will be available in the fall and the hybrid should be home in time for Christmas. But it could be a pricey stocking stuffer: Audi hasn’t put a price tag on the Q5 Hybrid, but Edmunds.com is predicting a starting MSRP in the $42,000 range.