First Drive: Audi A8 L 60 TFSIe
Plug-in power shows a more efficient side to Audi’s flagship, thinks Martyn Collins.
SECTOR: Luxury Limousine PRICE: N/A FUEL: N/A CO2: N/A
With rivals from BMW and Mercedes able to offer plug-in hybrid versions of both the 7-Series and S-Class, and Audi’s current emphasis on hybrid models, it is no surprise that the latest addition to the range-topping A8 is a plug-in hybrid.
The hybrid drivetrain is largely the same as the Q5 and A7 that Fleet World has already driven, although this time, rather than a 2.0-litre TSI petrol, there’s a 315bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol combined with a 14.1kWh battery pack and a 94kW electric motor. Both of these equal a scarcely believable 450hp, plus acceleration to 62mph takes just 4.9 seconds and yet this A8 can travel up to 29 miles on electric power alone.
Outside, like the other Audi hybrids, just the subtle TFSIe badges give the game away. On the inside, the only differences from standard are the electrical range and consumption gauges.
Starting off in complete silence is an odd experience in such a big car and despite the extra weight of the A8, performance is impressively swift. The level of comfort remains unchanged, despite the extra weight. In fact, the hybrid version could be the most refined version of the biggest Audi saloon – thanks to the silent running around town with the electric motor.
Only on the motorway does the A8 smoothly change power, the giveaway being the rev counter. Then, the battery provides extra poke when needed via Audi’s electric drive meter. Vibrations from the throttle pedal subtly tell you when to control your throttle inputs.
Exact MPG and CO2 figures are yet to be finalised for the UK, but there are likely to be enough savings to make the Audi A8 60 TFSIe the pick of the range for business buyers.
FW RATING: 4 out of 5