AUDI HAS REVEALED its latest green-tinged showcar, the A8 Hybrid, at Geneva today, showcasing a new petrol-electric hybrid powerplant that is expected to be added to the A8 range in 2011.
The A8 Hybrid concept packages a 2.0 litre turbocharged direct-injected inline four with an electric assistance motor, both of which are linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The petrol engine produces 155kW and 350Nm, while the electric motor puts out 33kW and 211Nm of torque. When both are operating simultaneously, a total of 180kW and 480Nm are available.
Power is supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the rear of the car, and ancillaries such as the power steering, airconditioner compressor and brake vacuum are now electrically-run rather than engine-driven.
The battery pack does intrude into boot space, however a full 400 litres of cargo volume is still available.
Despite weighing in excess of 1800kg and having a 2.0 litre engine as its primary source of motivation, the A8 Hybrid is still capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds and running up to a top speed of 235km/h.
Average fuel consumption is claimed to be just 6.2 l/100km on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 144g/km, and city traffic sees the A8 Hybrid using 20 percent less fuel than a petrol-engined model.
Fully-electric operation can be sustained for over two kilometres at speeds up to 65km/h, and regenerative braking enables the battery to be topped up while on the move. When coasting or at rest, the petrol engine shuts down to conserve fuel.
Audi has yet to announce precise launch dates for a production version of the A8 Hybrid, but the German automaker acknowledges the hybrid design study is "near-production" and industry pundits expect it to go on sale in Europe and the USA by late 2011.
So far there's no indication on an Australian release for the A8 Hybrid, and the car will likely be built in left-hand drive only.
Much of the technology showcased in the A8 Hybrid will transfer to Audi's upcoming Q5 Hybrid mid-size SUV, which was confirmed for a 2011 debut late last year and will be sold almost exclusively in the United States.
Specific details on the Q5 Hybrid have yet to be released, but expect much of its tech specs to echo those of the A8 Hybrid concept.