Audi is aiming to showcase how its products can offer the best of both worlds, backing up the reveal of its all-new RS7 performance liftback with the more eco-friendly A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro plug-in hybrid.
Dubbed by the marque as "the Gran Turismo among the plug-in hybrids", the A7 55 TFSI e quattro shares its petrol-electric drive system with the recently-revealed Q5 55 TFSI e quattro – which teams a 185kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with a 105kW/350Nm synchronous electric motor, together driving all four wheels.
System outputs are rated at a hefty 270kW and 500Nm, good for a 0-100 dash of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. Audi says peak torque is available from just 1250rpm, while the all-electric range from the A7 PHEV's 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery is quoted at "more than 40 kilometres" on the WLTP cycle.
In EV mode the A7 55 TFSI e quattro is also capable for speeds of up to 135km/h, which the company says makes "emissions-free highway driving easy", with combined fuel consumption rated at just 1.9-2.1L/100km.
The battery is stored below the boot floor, though the company stresses there's no step in the luggage compartment surface as a result, with maximum load capacity quoted at 1235L with the rear seats folded.
Drivers can select from three drive modes that tailor the powertrain according to the operator's needs and preference – EV mode, Battery Hold mode and Hybrid mode.
Audi says the A7 PHEV will default to EV mode on startup, which will operate solely with electric power unless the driver depresses the accelerator past "a variable, perceptible pressure point".
The second option is Battery Hold mode, which preserves battery capacity at the current level so the defined distance can be covered in EV mode – for example, relying solely on petrol power on the freeway to save electric charge for city driving.
Finally, Hybrid mode is activated via two methods, manually toggling the drive mode or automatically with route guidance in the navigation system.
In this profile, the A7 55 TFSI e will shuffle between EV and combustion power, or use both together, to keep fuel consumption as low as possible. Under certain circumstances the A7 PHEV will also coast, or 'freewheel' by switching the engine off under low engine load and recover up to 35kW via recuperation, while regenerative braking can recover a maximum of 80kW.
The navigation tie-in is in conjunction with the vehicle's predictive efficiency assist technology, which uses navigation data to determine where the A7 PHEV should prioritise EV operation during a journey.
"A haptic pulse from the active accelerator pedal and an optical signal in the driver information system display as well as the optional head-up display provide additional support for the greatest possible efficiency," Audi explains.
"The active accelerator pedal has both a haptic pressure point that signals the end of electric-only driving and haptic feedback that signals the driver to take their foot off of the accelerator."
As for charging, the A7 PHEV will be available with a Type 2 plug for public charging terminals as an option in Europe, with the maximum charge capacity rated at 7.4kW. Hooked up to a 400V three-phase industrial outlet, the battery will charge in around 2.5 hours.
Using a conventional 230V household outlet, the A7 55 TFSI e's battery can be fully replenished from empty in approximately seven hours.
Buyers will be able to track vehicle status and range using the myAudi smartphone app, while also having the ability to pre-climatise the cabin, plan routes using charge network maps, and heat up elements like the windscreen, mirrors and rear window before you even get to the car.
For Europe, the A7 55 TFSI e quattro will have a 'comprehensive' level of standard equipment, including the S line exterior package with black styling package, privacy glass, HD Matrix LED headlights, sports seats, four-zone climate control, convenience key, Audi Virtual Cockpit, PHEV-specific displays, 19-inch multispoke alloy wheels and red-painted brake calipers front and rear.
Pricing in its home region will start at €77,850 ($125,378) when it hits the European market later in the third quarter of 2019.
We're waiting to hear back from Audi's local division regarding Australian availability and timing for the A7 55 TFSI e quattro, so stay tuned for a response.
However, Audi Australia previously ruled out the Q5 55 TFSI e for out market as it focuses on the rollout of electric vehicles.
"While we are evaluating how the expanding Audi PHEV range will best fit into the Australian market, our shorter-term focus remains on the 2020 launch of our first all-electric vehicle, the e-tron SUV," Shaun Cleary, corporate communications manager for Audi's local arm.
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