As you know already, A8 Hybrid Concept debuted last year at Geneva Motor Show. Well, now Audi is introducing the final production version of its frugal four-cylinder limousine, which goes on sale in 2012.
As expected, Audi made very few changes to the production model such as the smaller (18″ instead of 21″) but same design alloy wheels and the more conventional looking engine cover.
The Audi A8 hybrid will take its power from a gasoline engine – a 2.0 TFSI – and an electric motor develop peak output of 180 kW (245 hp) and 480 Nm (345.03 lb-ft) of torque. Coming with the power of a six-cylinder model, the fuel consumption of a four-cylinder version, its average fuel consumption is below 6.4 liters per 100 km (36.75 US mpg). The sedan can travel at speeds of up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) on electric power alone, and cover around three kilometers (1.86 miles) with zero local emissions at a constant speed of 60 km/h (37.28 mph). It reaches 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.7 seconds from a standing start and has a top speed of 235 km/h (146.02 mph).
The permanent magnet synchronous motor is mounted in the space usually occupied by the torque converter in front of the modified eight-speed tiptronic. A multi-plate clutch that operates in an oil bath connects or disconnects the electric motor and the TFSI engine. The clutch operates ultra-precisely and gently in all situations. The highly comfortable and fast-shifting hybrid transmission guides the torque to the front wheels; with its wide gear spread it contributes to the efficiency of the Audi A8 hybrid.
Located in a crash-proof area in the trunk, the lithium-ion battery weighs 36.7 kilograms (80.91 lb) providing 1.3 kWh of nominal energy and up to 40 kW of power. Two different methods are used to air-cool the battery, depending on need: with air blown from the passenger compartment by a fan and via a separate cooling circuit coupled to the automatic air conditioning system. The battery is thus kept within the temperature window required for it to perform to its full potential over a wide range. The electric motor and the compact power electronics which serve as a controller between the electric motor and the battery are water-cooled.
According to the manufacturer, the Audi A8 hybrid can drive at up to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) purely on electric power and has a range of up to three kilometers (1.86 miles) at a constant 60 km/h (37.28 mph). This gives the driver the choice of three modes:
– the EV characteristic map gives priority to the electric drive
– the D mode efficiently controls both the engine and the electric motor
– the S mode and the tiptronic gate are designed for a sporty driving style
The hybrid sedan has five operating states: with the TFSI engine alone, with electric drive only or in hybrid mode; recuperation and boosting are also possible. Two displays show the driver all operating modes in detail.
Finally, the A8 Hybrid sports some subtle differences over the standard model including the 18-inch turbine rotor-style alloy wheels as standard and 19-inch optional. Also, it is offered with special badges on the outside, an available, exclusive Arctic Silver finish and a bespoke instrument panel.
Rumor say that it will have a starting price of $90,000. However, the official pricing and availability are expected to be announced at next month’s 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, so stay tuned for more details.