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BMW and Mercedes-Benz have offered plug-in hybrid versions of their core models for a few years now, but equivalent Audis have been conspicuous by their absence. That’s about to change, however, as Audi has revealed new plug-in versions of its Q5, A6, A7 and A8, each combining a turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. At the same time the marque has chosen to drop the ‘e-tron’ branding from the sole plug-in model it previously sold, and from now on will only apply that badge to its full electric models.
The A6, A7 and Q5 will all be offered with a choice of two plug-in hybrid options internationally. Entry-level 50TFSIe models make use of a 2-litre four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor mounted within a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Total output is rated at 295bhp, deployed via Audi’s latest ‘quattro Ultra’ four-wheel-drive system, which can completely decouple the rear wheels from the drivetrain at opportune moments to reduce mechanical drag and improve efficiency.
The 55TFSIe models, meanwhile, build on the same hybrid technology package but exchange the four-cylinder engine for a 3-litre turbocharged V6. Power is a more substantial 361bhp, backed up by 500Nm of torque, while the more traditional quattro all-wheel drive system is used, giving a default 40:60 torque split front to rear. The 50 and 55 variants all share a 14.1kWh battery pack, with estimated electric-only ranges set at around 40km on the WLTP cycle.
The 55TFSIe shares its V6 set-up with the aforementioned models, while a more potent 60TFSIe development of the same powertrain produces 442bhp with a generous 701Nm of torque. This high torque figure explains the use of an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic here rather than the dual-clutch transmission, as the former is able to handle the higher torque loads.
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The A8 can only be had in hybrid form with the long-wheelbase body, and the 55TFSIe models will only be available in S-Line trim, but otherwise these new powertrain options will all slip into the same trim hierarchy as the standard internal-combustion cars. The only visual difference will be a second ‘filler cap cover’ on the opposing side of the car, behind which is the socket for electric charging. Final specifications, pricing and availability for international markets have not yet been confirmed, but we suspect they’ll fall in line with Audi’s other numerically ordered models.