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PHEV versions of the Audi A8 and Q5 launched in the US

Joining the flagship sedan model line, the Audi A8 TFSI e serves as the first plug-in hybrid variant of the A8 in the US. Accompanying its flagship sedan, Audi also launch the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant of its bestselling SUV, the Audi Q5, with addition of an electric motor coupled with a traditional TFSI gasoline engine.

Blending premium design, comfort and efficiency, the A8 TFSI e is powered by a 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 engine paired with an electric motor integrated into the torque converter of the eight-speed automatic transmission, helping ensure a balance of power and efficiency. With a manufacturer-estimated combined maximum output of 443 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the A8 TFSI e can accelerate from 0-60 in approximately 4.9 seconds, almost a second faster than the standard A8 V6 thanks to the hybrid components.

The exterior of the A8 TFSI e is differentiated through its unique light signature in the front bumper and standard 19-inch wheels. The plug-in hybrid also receives an MMI display with electric-specific driving screens, including charging information, and additional consumption statistics to help drivers maximize the efficiencies of the hybrid system. The Audi virtual cockpit is also updated to display battery data and range statistics. Similar to the fully electric Audi e-tron, the A8 TFSI e has a standard boost function that maximises its power outputs for additional performance over a limited time.

Supplementing the 3.0 TFSI engine and powering its electric motor is a lithium-ion battery pack, made up of 104 pouch cells combined in eight modules and can store 14.1 kWh of energy at a voltage of 385 V. The battery, which sits beneath the luggage compartment, works in tandem with the combustion engine as a hybrid.

Using paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, the driver can select from several different plug-in specific modes, including hybrid mode, purely electric mode and a hold mode to help reserve pure-electric driving for later scenarios. When the driver selects EV driving mode, an audible eSound is emitted to help ensure pedestrians are aware of the vehicle’s presence.

The Audi Q5 TFSI e is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine coupled with an electric motor that sits between the engine and 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, producing a total combined system output of 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The plug-in hybrid SUV performs nearly a second faster than the Audi Q5 to sprint from 0-60 mph at an impressive 5.0 seconds. The SUV is standard equipped with quattro all-wheel drive with ultra technology.

Offered as standard equipment on Audi TFSI e models, drivers have the option to adjust engine and battery usage with three capable modes specific to the plug-in system. Hybrid mode is activated automatically using route guidance in the MMI navigation system to optimise battery power over the route to help reduce fuel consumption based on a variety of data points including speed limits, types of roads, and the latest data from onboard sensors. The SUV automatically starts in EV mode, where the car is driven exclusively using the battery as long as the driver does not press the accelerator past a variable, perceptible pressure point. In Battery Hold mode, the battery capacity is held at the current level – this is useful if the driver anticipates a need for it later on their route.

In electric-only mode, using a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery, the Audi Q5 TFSI e has a range of 20 miles that gives buyers the option to drive free of tailpipe emissions. This mode can be selected for driving scenarios when an engine might not be needed, while other modes that balance efficiency between the powertrains when selected. As a result of the TFSI and EV powertrain state, the SUV is EPA rated at 65 MPGe.

The powertrain of the plug-in hybrid SUV is specially tuned to provide the driver the most versatile driving experience. The electric motor assists the combustion engine through the boost function to achieve a higher horsepower and torque output than the gasoline engine can achieve on its own. When the driver takes their foot off the accelerator, the TFSI engine can deactivate and coast using the battery. The combustion engine responds quickly to acceleration if needed, and is started back up nearly undetectably.

The climate control system uses a highly efficient heat pump that pools the waste heat from the high-voltage components. With 1 kW of electrical energy, it can generate up to 3 kW of thermal heating output for a more efficient climate system setup than found in the standard Audi Q5.

Prices for the Audi A8 TFSI e start at $94,000 MSRP while that of the Audi Q5 TFSI e start at $60,350 MSRP.

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