The new Audi Q5: Concentrated hi-tech for maximum efficiency
Audi is maintaining its successful efficiency strategy: the new Audi Q5, the sports car in the SUV category, is its latest model to combine high performance with low consumption. This progress is underpinned by an extensive package of hi-tech solutions ranging from energy recuperation to engine downsizing.
Audi is bringing the new Q5 onto the market equipped with three powerful, sporty engines – one turbo FSI gasoline version and two TDIs, all of which are state-of-the-art units featuring turbocharging and direct fuel injection. The perfect interplay of these two technologies paves the way for downsizing, which involves using supercharging as a means of trimming engine capacity. This enables the Q5 to achieve CO2 emissions of less than 200 grams per kilometer (321.87 g/mile).
The new 2.0 TFSI, the successor to the engine that was voted "Engine of the Year" four times in a row, is an object lesson in efficiency. The performance of this four-cylinder engine, which develops 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque, puts it in the same league as conventional six-cylinder engines. Yet its fuel consumption averages only 8.5 liters per 100 kilometers (27.67 US mpg) – giving it a clear advantage over its competitors.
Audi has yet again made huge advances in gasoline direct injection, which it supplies badged as FSI. The Audi valvelift system (AVS) regulates the valve lift in two stages, gives torque an extra boost and improves fuel efficiency by around five percent. The 2.0 TFSI has featured this technology ever since being launched.
The TDI – the most successful efficiency technology in the world
Audi put the TDI principle into passenger car production almost 20 years ago, at a time when it was a landmark development for the entire automotive industry. The TDI has long since become established as the most successful efficiency technology in the world, and Audi has gradually extended its lead in this field.
The TDI engines fit in with Audi's downsizing strategy. The four-cylinder diesel develops an impressive 125 kW (170 hp) from its two-liter engine. It delivers 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque and covers 100 kilometers on an average of just 6.7 liters of fuel (35.11 US mpg) in the Audi Q5. The top diesel in the Q5 is the 3.0 TDI, a V6 with an output of 176 kW (240 hp) and a massive 500 Nm (368.78 lb-ft) of torque. Its average consumption over 100 kilometers is just 7.5 liters (31.36 US mpg).
The high torque values at low revs have allowed the engineers to select slightly higher transmission ratios without undermining dynamic performance. The peak torque is achieved at a very early point on all engines in the Audi Q5 – the 2.0 TFSI, for instance, already achieves its 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) at 1,500 rpm, barely above idle speed. The Q5 thus handles supremely well at low revs – with correspondingly good fuel efficiency.
The modular efficiency platform
Audi uses a whole raft of new technologies that are referred to by the umbrella term of "modular efficiency platform" both in the Q5 and in a number of other models. A new vane pump for the power steering delivers only as much oil as is necessary at any given operating point. The automatic air conditioning's cooling circuit, too, operates extremely economically. The oil pump is regulated by the volumetric flow and therefore always operates on demand. Systematic fine-tuning has reduced the internal friction of all engines.
Temperature management is another new technology. Part of the coolant circuit is isolated during the warm-up phase, helping the engine to reach its operating temperature faster – this, too, boosts efficiency. The saving in everyday driving is considerable because this form of use involves a high proportion of short trips.
All versions of the Q5 – as well as all engine versions of the A4 Sedan and A4 Avant – recover energy while coasting, in other words during braking and freewheeling. The alternator is then able to convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy that is stored in the battery. The battery releases the energy when the car accelerates, reducing the engine's workload.
Each of these measures from the modular efficiency platform boosts fuel efficiency by between one and four tenths of a liter over 100 kilometers. The combined effect of these measures is to improve overall fuel efficiency by around 15 percent, or about 30 grams of CO2 per kilometer (48.28 g/mile).
Audi is forging ahead with its efficiency strategy in every area of the vehicle. The Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI, which comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, features a shift indicator in the driving area; this recommends the most economical gear to the driver. The new, refined navigation system also promotes efficient driving. The MMI navigation plus system can work out the most fuel-efficient route for the driver.
Audi fits the new seven-speed S tronic – a state-of-the-art dual-clutch transmission – on the three most powerful engine versions. With its lightning-fast, ultra-convenient gearshifts it is extremely sporty in response but also highly effective, with a broad spread of ratios from the lowest to the highest gear. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is currently the most efficient transmission technology.
The Audi Q5, the sports model in the SUV category, also redefines the benchmark for handling. The new reduced rolling resistance tires play a major part in its dynamic handling. They are virtually indistinguishable from conventional tires when it comes to lateral stability and stopping distance, but significantly reduce rolling resistance and therefore fuel consumption.
The exterior is another decisive factor. The basic version of the new Audi Q5 achieves a drag coefficient of just 0.33 – the best in its field of competitors. This is due not only to its basic aerodynamic form but also to technical features such as the underbody panel. The frontal area measures just 2.65 m2 (28.52 ft2) owing to the relatively low body; this, too, promotes a favorable airflow around the car. Although this is scarcely noticeable in consumption figures calculated on the test rig, it has a major effect when driving down the freeway.
Audi relies on a concept of holistic optimization of energy and has already proved on multiple occasions that efficiency and sportiness are not mutually exclusive. This was most recently evident in the impressive third victory of the R10 TDI at the Le Mans 24 Hours. In the toughest endurance race in the world, every drop of fuel matters – and as Audi once again demonstrated, whoever uses less will come out in front.