It’s not a secret that Audi is working on a complete overhaul for the popular Q5 crossover. It is supposed to debut sometime next year and we have already spied several prototypes hinting at a new design language. There will be huge changes under the skin as well and basically, every engine will be electrified. This likely also includes the powertrain in the range-topping RS Q5, which could be of the type plug-in type.
We have new spy shots coming from our friends at Motor.es, which we believe show a plug-in hybrid prototype. This is obviously the new Q5 – we can tell that by the design of the front fascia – and there is a charging port on the rear right quarter panel of the vehicle. The prototype is fully camouflaged and it is difficult to see the small details, though our colleagues at Motor.es believe this is indeed an RS-branded machine.
Gallery: Audi RS Q5 PHEV spy photos
Nothing can be confirmed at this point, but the photographer who took the photos in Southern Europe (attached above) told us the sporty crossover was testing together with two other Audi RS vehicles – an RS4 and an RS7. You may question whether this is actually an RS Q5 but our man also told us the test vehicle had a very pronounced sound when accelerating, which is a strong hint this is indeed a performance model.
But what will power the new RS Q5? Motor.es speculates that power will be provided by an electrified version of the existing 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 unit. We expect, if true, the powertrain to focus on performance rather than efficiency and this could explain the fact it will likely be equipped with a small battery providing just about 12 miles (20 kilometres) of electric range. The electric motor, in turn, will help with the acceleration and will provide an instant boost when the pedal hits the floor.
Not much else is known at the moment and we don’t have power and performance numbers available yet. However, Motor.es reports the performance crossover is still in the very early stages of development and won’t be ready for a market launch before the second half of 2024. We expect to learn much more about it in the coming months so stay tuned.