Audi has revealed the new A8 L 60 TFSI e plug-in hybrid, a new petrol-electric version of its flagship limousine which claims to use as little as 2.5L/100km.
Like the recently-detailed Q7 60 TFSI e, the new A8 PHEV (pictured in green) combines a 250kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine with a 100kW/350Nm synchronous electric motor and 14.1kWh battery pack.
The electric motor is integrated "with the clutch in the eight-gear tiptronic, which transmits the power to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive", according to Audi.
System outputs are rated at 330kW and 700Nm, good for a claimed 0-100 time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically-governed top speed of 250km/h. The A8 PHEV can also drive up to 46 kilometres per charge on the WLTP test cycle and reach speeds of up to 135km/h in EV mode. Fuel consumption, meanwhile, is rated at 2.5L/100km.
The A8 L 60 TFSI e comes with a selection of drive modes that tailors the two power sources to the driver's liking, including 'Auto', 'Hold' and 'EV'.
Each profile pretty much does what it says on the tin. Auto aims to maximise overall efficiency by shuffling between petrol and electric power as required. Hold will 'hold' the battery's charge for later in the journey, for example letting the petrol engine be the sole power source on the highway to save electric driving for urban environments.
Finally, EV mode is the default mode when the vehicle starts up, which is purely powered by the battery pack. The petrol engine will only be engaged when the accelerator pedal is depressed "beyond a specific resistance".
Above: Audi A8 L 50 TDI interior
The A8 PHEV can also use navigation data to determine when it's most efficient to switch between petrol and electric motors – e.g. speed limits, road types, and gradients – while a coasting function can switch off the petrol engine under low load and recuperate up to 25kW of energy.
"The electric motor also performs all light and medium brake operations up to 0.3 g, which make up more than 90 percent of all brake operations in everyday customer driving," Audi says in its media release.
"It only works together with the hydraulic wheel brakes in case of heavier decelerations. Thanks to sophisticated fine tuning, the transition, also known as “blending,” between the electric and hydraulic brakes is virtually imperceptible; the brake pedal can always be modulated precisely and provides good feedback."
Audi claims the A8 L 60 TFSI e can recover up to 80kW of power while braking.
Other model-specific touches for the PHEV model include hybrid displays for the standard Virtual Cockpit and optional head-up displays, along with the dual-screen MMI touch response infotainment system on the centre stack.
The A8 PHEV also has a "synthetic e-sound" system fitted as standard to alert pedestrians and cyclists of the vehicle's presence in city traffic, in accordance with new European legislation. Audi's 'acoustic vehicle alerting system' plays a distinct sound at speeds up to 20km/h and "gradually fades out" as the vehicle's speed increases above that, played by a loudspeaker in the right wheel arch.
Using the myAudi smartphone app, owners of the A8 L 60 TFSI e can access various Audi connect functions like checking battery charge and range status, start the charge process, pre-entry climate control, and pre-entry heating for the steering wheel, seats, mirrors along with the front and rear windows.
Priced from €109,000 ($177,539) in Germany, the Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro comes with its own LED daytime-running light signature incorporated into the front bumper, a unique diffuser insert and 'chrome clasp', and model-specific 19-inch alloy wheels in aero-optimised five-arm turbine design.
Options include a heated footrest with foot massage function, along with a range of available driver assist and headlight options – including HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lights, and the option of OLED rear lights with entry/exit sequences.
The Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e is available to order in Europe now, with European deliveries to commence during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Speaking with CarAdvice, the company's local division is unable to confirm plans for any of the new plug-in hybrid models offered globally, though the Australian electrification strategy will commence with the e-tron SUV next year.
"At this stage, we don’t have concrete plans to tell you about for the A8 L 60 TFSI e, but these ‘e’ PHEV models are part of our consideration for future rollout of electrification in Australia," said Shaun Cleary, corporate communications manager for Audi Australia.
"However, the e-tron SUV, our first full electric vehicle, remains our priority ahead of its arrival in 2020."
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest.