“Audi has a long and distinguished history in the executive class, but what is less well known is that we also developed our first petrol-electric hybrid car for this segment over thirty years ago,” says Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle.
“We’re bringing to bear the three decades of formative experience in hybrid production that began with that Audi duo model back in 1989 in this latest, state-of-the-art TFSI e model. In the UK, we have also combined the impressive efficiency which secures the TFSI e a very competitive taxation position of as little as 10 per cent BIK for company car drivers and no VED in the first year with the kind of exceptional specification offer our customers have come to expect from us, particularly in the Vorsprung version.”
The new A6 50 TFSI e features a 2.0 TFSI engine with 249 bhp of output and 272 lb ft of torque coupled with a 105kW electric motor delivering peak torque of 258.1 lb-ft. In unison, the pair provide 295 bhp of ‘system power’ and 332 ft lb of ‘system torque’.
Together with the separating clutch, the electric motor is integrated into a seven-speed S tronic transmission which can deliver output to either two wheels or four depending on the driving situation – the quattro on demand system uses a multitude of data to determine if it should prioritise efficiency by decoupling the rear axle to reduce drag, or support maximum agility by engaging all-wheel-drive, as required. The latter takes around half a second, ensuring that quattro is always immediately at the driver’s disposal.
When the petrol engine and electric motor are both fully invested in the propulsion process the sprint to 62mph from rest in the A6 50 TFSI e can be dispatched in just 5.5 seconds, and when the motor is singled out WLTP testing has confirmed that, depending on specification, up to 34 miles can be covered purely electrically. When the petrol engine is factored into the equation, the WLTP test registers combined emissions of as little as 35g/km, again depending on specification. In electric-only mode the plug-in hybrid can cruise at speeds of up to 84mph, making progress particularly unruffled even on the motorway, and if that motorway happens to be an autobahn intervention by the petrol engine can enable the driver to see speeds of up to 152mph.
Autonomous – drive management and predictive operating strategy
Drivers can choose between the three drive modes “EV” for all-electric driving, “Hybrid” for the efficient combination of both drive types and “Hold” to conserve the electrical energy available at any given time.
In “Hybrid” mode, the predictive operating strategy ensures maximum efficiency and the highest possible proportion of electric driving. It controls the drivetrain so that the last stage of the journey before reaching a destination can be covered in all-electric mode and the battery is primed for intervention beforehand via the combustion engine where necessary. The predictive efficiency assistant is responsible for anticipatory planning at each stage of the journey, and can refer to a large amount of information during the decision-making process, including navigation information, online traffic events, customer driving characteristics and data from vehicle sensors such as the camera and radar. It coordinates the interplay between the engine and motor and decides when the conditions are right to initiate freewheeling with the engine deactivated and coasting recuperation.
Charging equipment and charging management
At the journey’s end, the A6 50 TFSI e can be plugged into a domestic AC 7kW wallbox using the Type 2 cable supplied, and around two and a half hours later the lithium iron battery mounted under the rear floor of the car will have been replenished (charging via an AC 2.3kW 3-pin socket takes approximately seven hours). By downloading the myAudi app, which is freely available on iOS and Android platforms, the driver can preset the most cost-effective home charging schedule for the car that takes advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity supply periods, and can also remotely activate and adjust the climate control via a smartphone or tablet to ensure that their car is not only fully charged but also perfectly heated or chilled when they return to it.
Charging is also possible at public charging points with an output of up to 7.4 kW, in which case the recharge process can be completed in upwards of 2.5 hours. The myAudi app can also help here by locating charging points across the country, and also by giving remote access to a sophisticated route planner. This can factor criteria such as the battery’s specific state of charge and the density of traffic in real time into its route guidance and use this to pinpoint exactly where and when charging should ideally take place on any given journey. The myAudi app can also facilitate usage of charging points as part of the e-tron charging service, which is also available to owners of TFSI e models. In many cases it can be used to activate charging as an alternative to the payment card held by subscribers to the service, which grants access to numerous charging points operated by a total of 18 suppliers across the UK, and amalgamates all costs incurred in one simple monthly invoice to eliminate complexity.