Talking non-stop about hybrid power and even zero emission vehicles, premium automotive brand Audi painted a rich picture for electric propulsion in a future line-up. Promoting e-tron and even prepared to display a bold ultra light Urban Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the environmentally conscious luxury car fan has probably become unsettled that an electric-assist production car had yet to come to materialize.
Finally, the promise of the Audi A6 hybrid brought partially electric propulsion to German luxury car line. Introduced for Europe and recently announced for the United States, the Audi A6 hybrid is eagerly anticipated for what will be an expanding product selection of vehicles. Audi’s second production vehicle inflates not only the hybrid car portfolio but expands to the A8 flagship promising more than 36-mile per gallon driving.
Moving the big 2012 Audi A8 hybrid sedan is the same gasoline/electric powertrain combination being demonstrated on the newly released hybrid-equipped A6. Main power will be sourced from the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder gasoline engine. Along producing 211 horsepower, the TFSI engine works in concert with a 40-kilowatt electric motor. A permanent magnet synchronous motor, the electric assist unit for the Audi A8 hybrid is packaged securely between the two-liter engine and the eight-speed tiptronic transmission. Combined, the gasoline and electric powerplants generate a sufficient amount of momentum to move the over 202-inch long sedan. The Audi A8 hybrid maximum performance output is 245 horsepower with a total 345 pounds-feet of torque.
Though horsepower may not be as impressive as the 4.2 liter V-8 or the 6.3 liter W-12 powerplants, the 2012 Audi A8 hybrid’s configuration is calibrated for robust fuel economy. Burning less than 6.4 liters per 100 kilometers, the Audi A8 hybrid’s fuel consumption for an American road translates to 36.75 miles per gallon in average driving. Compared to the current V-8 powered Audi A8 sedan, the hybrid model delivers average gas mileage allowing the large four-door to roll 14 miles longer after every gallon of gasoline.
Thanks to the heavily modified 8-speed transmission of the Audi A8 hybrid, a special wet, multi-plate clutch acts as an intelligent conductor between the two power units. Using ideal coordination between the TFSI engine and the electric motor, the Audi A8 hybrid operates under five operating modes. Of these propulsion options is an electric only mode that draws power directly from a lithium-ion battery. Through acceleration, the Audi A8 hybrid can be pushed to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) purely on electric power. At speeds of 60 kilometers per hour (37.3 miles per hour), battery capacity will allow the sedan to move 3 kilometers (1.86 miles per hour). A water-cooled lithium-ion battery, the electrical storage for the powertrain is climate-controlled for optimal performance.
With all the changes performed out of sight, this latest hybrid is nonetheless a typical 2012 Audi A8 sedan. Unique touches to the Audi A8 hybrid (for the most part) is low-tone at first glance with only ‘hybrid‘ badges immediately informing observers. Astute Audi fans will be able to identify some A8 hybrids through an optional Arctic White colour available only on the 2012 hybrid sedan model. Turbine blade design 18-inch and optional 19-inch alloy wheels spin will exclusively spin the A8 hybrid sedan‘s tires. The Bose audio system, three-zone automatic climate control and LED headlamps are standard equipment catered not only for luxury enjoyment but also to optimize the A8 hybrid’s energy usage.
Announced only for European markets for sometime in 2012, this ultra-efficient Audi A8 hybrid could be in the United States in just a matter of time due to stricter CAFÉ fleet fuel economy standards.
Information and photo source: Audi AG