Audi’s electrifying A8

24 October 2019

AUDI has finally caught up with its German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz by creating a hybrid version of its flagship executive A8 saloon range.

Taking the name of A8 60 TFSIe quattro, it combines a three-litre turbocharged petrol engine with a 125bhp electric motor to generate 445bhp of power.

This makes for impressive performance plus the advantages of an eight-speed automatic transmission system and the grip of four-wheel drive.

Critics would argue that it is merely a sop to the clamour for electrification, bearing in mind that the petrol engine alone is twice the size of that of most other cars.

This means that the huge saloon can race to 60mph in under five seconds and is so immensely powerful that the top speed has to be electronically limited to 155mph even in heavier long wheelbase limousine form.

However, the environmental effects of such prodigious performance are mitigated on paper by the vehicle’s ability to travel 25 miles on purely electric power.

The 14kWh battery takes two and a half hours to charge by means of a high-capacity charger, putting it on a par with the rival BMW 745 Le xDrive and Mercedes S 560e models.

Audi claims that one of the advantages of its offering is that it can travel faster in fully electric mode, although the idea of battery power is to become emissions free in speed-restricted urban areas.

The A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro, which measures 5.30 metres with its extended wheelbase, will be available to order in the UK later this year, with standard wheelbase models joining the range a few weeks later. First deliveries for both models will begin soon after in early 2020. They join the Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro, Q5 50 TFSI e quattro and Q5 55 TFSI e quattro SUVs which have already been available on the market since September, signifying the start of the brand’s commitment to its electrification strategy.

Prices have yet to be announced but the rival Mercedes-Benz is about £100,000.