Great driving report here with a pre-production prototype of the upcoming Audi Q5 hybrid. A must read!
Displacement, by the way, is the expected 2.0-liters of Audi’s venerable 211-hp 2.0T FSI. That engine already sees duty in Audi’s range A4, A5 and Q5 models though some significant modifications were made to the unit’s support system, optimizing it for hybrid duty. Audi says the turbocharger has been fine-tuned for specific demands but the most significant change is the replacement of all ancillary units such as air-conditioning and power steering in favor of electrically operated units. The move lowers frictional loss and, more importantly, allows for operation of these items even when the 2.0T engine is not running.
Paired with the 2.0T is Audi’s 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, also been modified for hybrid duty. In fact, changes here are some of the most defining in the comparison of the Audi hybrid drive system with other hybridized Volkswagen Group cousins such as the Porsche Cayenne, the Volkswagen Touareg and even the Q7 hybrid prototype we tested back in 2007. Most notable is the lack of torque converter, replaced by an electric motor that is coupled and de-coupled with the motor by a multi-plate clutch.
This more compact design allows hybrid configuration to more readily fit into the smaller Q5 engine bay and contacts at Audi confirm this enables the system to be fitted to any Audi (or VAG product) based on the company’s modular longitudinal platform (MLB) with relative ease. Expect A8 hybrid orders (for Europeans at least) to begin in 2011 and an A6 hybrid will follow shortly afterward.