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by David Zalstein

The Audi A6 L e-tron concept has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show combing Audi China’s best selling model with the company’s plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology.

The Audi A6 L e-tron is an engineering study in the luxury class with Audi aiming to show what a Chinese-produced ‘New Energy Vehicle’ could look like.

The A6 L e-tron sees a 155kW 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine join forces with a 70kW electric motor. The e-tron technology allows for three power options: internal combustion power only, electric power only, or a combined hybrid mode.

The Audi’s electric-only mode will see travel of up to 80km possible at a constant speed of 60km/h. As well as boosting power output to provide strong acceleration, the system also recovers energy during braking.

The exterior styling of the Audi A6 L e-tron fits with previous e-tron concept designs – e-tron, e-tron Spyder, R8 e-tron, and more recent A1 and A3 e-trons – and is highlighted by a single-frame grille with thin cross-bars, rear bumper garnish and silver 21-inch multi-spoke wheels.

Inside remains mostly unchanged from the production A6 except for the standard tachometer being replaced by a ‘powermeter’ that indicates total drive-system power on a scale of zero to 100 per cent.

Other features include an operating state indicator, lithium-ion battery charge indicator and an energy flow indicator. A large MMI monitor also displays a bar diagram of average fuel economy and indicates the amount of recovered energy over five-minute intervals. The hard drive for the navigation system on the Chinese concept has also been reconfigured to recognise 29,000 Chinese characters.

A production version of the Audi A6 L e-tron would follow on from Audi’s previously launched electric-assisted models: the Q5 Hybrid Quattro, A6 Hybrid and A8 Hybrid.