Audi A8 plug-in hybrid: second ecological mandate

The redesigned Audi A8 focuses more than ever on its plug-in hybrid version. For his second term, this minister’s car promises an even more economical and environmentally friendly program. Promises fulfilled for this first test.

The flagship of the range, the Audi A8 has a duty to set an example. Despite knowing the closed circle of luxury cars, the limousine should consider improving its image by showing sobriety. This is the only possible way out to avoid being caught by the authorities and to allow the brand with the rings to pass under the controls. But also to sell the models, appreciated by customers who are fond of tax optimization: from a market share of 38% in 2020, the PHEV version accounted for 90% of total sales last year! And it is likely that the purchase intentions will not change in the face of the prohibitive sanction.

new promises

For this second version, the Audi A8 60 TFSI e offers a slight makeover, just to mark the break with the previous half generation. As usual, the changes are very good and we notice more the sharper appearance and the signature of the rear light can now be customized to the purchase. The A8 also plans to repolise the façade with a partially chrome grille and equally striking side vents.

Audi A8

Strengthening its image is what it is also doing with its new “green” program: investing in “clean” energy and promising an even more favorable carbon footprint. The 14.4 kW battery is sufficient to enable it to meet the requirements of the WLTP standard when declaring its resources: 45 g / km of CO2 and 2.0 l / 100 km at most, in this version of the Firmament Blue-covered Limousine that would not look out of place in a minister’s suit. These extremist and promising performances are the result of a 54 km of electrical autonomy, quite favorable for a 2,340 kg machine in operation without driver or passengers. Under the hood is the 3.0L V6 biturbo which, together with the electric motor, increases the power of the tandem a 462 hp for 700 Nm of pair.

A more favorable overall balance

More than its electrical autonomy (it will take an average of about 44 km in most situations), we have focused mainly on its energy balance in default hybrid mode, on an extra-urban journey, with the function of docking to navigation on board. This principle of operation allows the system to manage all the load throughout the journey, to optimize consumption to the maximum. However, this system still depends on the navigation on board, so it will be necessary to activate it, in front or at the bottom, to take advantage of it. If you use Waze or any other mobile browsing, management can’t do its job.

Plug-in hybrid

If there are a few hesitations, if not choices that we would not necessarily have adopted in “manual” driving, the system is always cautious. Especially in mountain ports, where the steepest slopes can be tackled with the sole power of the 135 hp electric motor at the peak so as not to increase consumption. While managing to accumulate and maintain a small reserve to finish the trip without emissions. After a journey of about 180 km, the limousine had an average of 6.4 l / 100 km.. A remarkable score!

But we will point out that if the slope was demanding, the descent of the neck and the rest of the route was especially favorable to hybrid mechanics, with an electric machine utilization rate of 45% throughout the route after the plant. display. We consider, according to our theoretical calculations, an average close to 7.0 l / 100 km in normal times, when we should have almost 8.5 l / 100 km with an empty battery.

For lovers of eco-friendly driving, the Audi A8 does not have a selectable B mode in the center console or in the gearbox control. This requires relying on automatic management, which warns the driver to relax depending on the situation by vibrating the accelerator pedal. It’s confusing, but we find ourselves obeying without lagging behind because the system is so playful: regenerative braking modulates the deceleration force according to the descent angle or switches to freewheel mode (real) when possible. . These are the secrets of its consumption in this type of extra-urban travel, which also has the advantage of maintaining tranquility on board.

In the end, we get to forget the V6, with quiet notes and muzzle by the impeccable soundproofing of the A8. If necessary, it can be present with a 0-100 km / h in 4.9 if a kick-down of 80-120 km / h that we have timed in 4.12 s, response time of the box sometimes asleep asleep included. But this is not the credo of such a sedan that pampers its passengers with all the necessary comfort and a pleasant adaptive cushioning if not to present a real magic carpet effect. In curves, it takes advantage of the optional four-wheel steering system (€ 2,230) that allows you to make you forget your curved sizes. The steering angle of the rear wheel is less impressive than in a Mercedes S-Class, but it still lowers the turning diameter to 12.5 m. This is almost as much as a smaller Audi A6 (12.1 m).

A Business class interior

Inside, the Audi A8 does not change fundamentally and remains within the standards of the brand. It is true that stretched leather, veneers and finishes do not suffer any criticism. This is not entirely the case with general ergonomics, without this being a nuisance for drivers who will quickly get used to it. However, the cabin may lack some rhinestones and shine for fans of the genre at this level of the range. With the treatment of their materials, the BMW 750e xDrive or the Mercedes S-Class 580e know how to prove that they belong to a separate caste. A matter of nuance, such as distinguishing a Business class from a first class in aviation.

But there is something for everyone, be it the often important rear passengers or the driver who benefits from all the latest technological discoveries of the brand. In particular, digital lighting, which can display welcome animations on a wall or a bright carpet on the road to better understand the width of the lanes. In short, the Audi A8 depends on attendance, but the options policy has something to refresh: even with the finish Avus Extended high-end, you will have to pay € 3,540 for the Digital Matrix LED headlights, € 790 for the acoustic glass, € 470 for the heated steering wheel or € 600 for the rear control panel. And this even in the L version with the wheelbase extended 13 cm, where everything happens in the rear.

On the other hand, the sedan puts the package as standard in terms of recharging: make the most of the 7.3 kW AC onboard charger, the Rings brand offers a T2s / T2 Mode 3 charging cable for charging stations, as well as an EF / T2 cable for charging in a domestic outlet with a maximum power of 1.8 kW (or 3.6 kW with a reinforced dam). But the ICCB module of this cable also allows the connection of an adapter to connect to a P17 socket, in the spirit of what the Juice Booster cable offers. However, there is no space in the trunk to store them. On the other hand, it does not have a Combo-CCS fast charging systemwith limited interest, however, as is the case with the S-Class.

The last before the great substitute

For this restyling, the Audi A8 promises even more savings. And its various technical innovations allow it not to deceive those who will choose this limousine. A transitional mandate of a handful of additional years, which allows you to make the most of electric motor in a padded cocoon, before the arrival of the great replacement: an all-electric Audi A8 e-tron that the Grand Sphere implicitly foreshadows Concept.

No doubt you should still be more successful in your seduction campaign than before, especially because customers will be much more tempted to block the sanction. From € 116,500 (€ 123,100 for the limousine version in our test) and taking into account the ecological taxes and the weight equation, the 60 TFSI e entry version is € 6,000 more expensive than the equivalent of 50 TDI. But the trend is reversed with the top of the range, and therefore the highest level of CO2 emissions: with its € 15,506 penalty and € 2,950 weight tax, diesel is more expensive than l ‘rechargeable hybrid, without the promises of 100% electric developments. modality, nor all other small tax agreements.

  • Relative agility of the chassis
  • Technology demonstrator
  • Very correct hybrid fuel consumption

  • Some hesitation from the box
  • No cable storage
  • Lots of options even at the top of the range

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