First Drive: Audi A6 Hybrid
But mass-market electrification arrives first with this A6 hybrid, due in Germany next winter ahead of a 2013 UK launch. Seemingly designed to offer a balance of performance and economy, it’s not an out-and-out eco warrior, but it gives a sporty option for drivers wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.
The parallel hybrid system features a 209bhp TFSI petrol engine, an unusual choice against the diesels used by forthcoming products from Volvo and Mercedes, and a disc-shaped 54bhp electric motor. As such, it’ll travel up 62mph or 1.86 miles without burning any fuel, or combine both for a not-too-shabby 245bhp and 435lb-ft.
It drives like a V6 petrol – smooth and almost silent, switching seamlessly between its various power sources, and manages to look only subtly different to its conventional siblings. On the outside, only the 18-inch turbine wheels and hybrid badging set it aside from the rest of the range, with a power gauge replacing the rev counter as the only clue inside.
Unfortunately, its biggest challenge is Audi’s brilliant diesel powertrains. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but the hybrid is unlikely to undercut the popular, lower-emission oil burners in the A6 range and can’t match them on CO2 emissions either. Factors that are likely to make it a smaller seller.
The A6 hybrid makes a lot of sense for Audi’s volume markets in China and the US, where petrol is still the more popular fuel in this segment. In Europe, CO2-based tax is likely to push sales in favour of the equally capable, probably cheaper, diesel variants instead.
Sector: Large Executive
Type: Petrol-Electric Hybrid
Electric range: 2 miles
CO2 emissions (tailpipe): 146g/km
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