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Audi offers both mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology, without offering any self-charging hybrids. In truth, most of Audi’s regular combustion engined cars feature mild hybrid technology, and the level of assistance is so small that many people don’t consider these as hybrids at all, or even notice their operation. That’s why, for the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on the PHEV hybrids offered by the firm, which are dubbed TFSI e.
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Audi hybrids: current models
Aside from the mild hybrid technology fitted to most Audis, all other Audi hybrids are PHEVs.
Audi A3 Sportback
You’ll have to opt for the five-door Sportback model if you want your A3 to have a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, but if you do so, then you’ll have the choice of two. Both the 40 TFSI e and 45 TFSI e versions of the Audi A3 Sportback use the same basic hardware that include a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, an electric motor and a 10.4kWh battery, but while the 40 has a combined power output of 204hp, the 45 hikes the power up to 245hp. The 45 is a fraction faster as a result cracking the 0-62mph dash in 6.8 seconds rather than 7.6 seconds, but as a result, it’ll only do a maximum of 36 electric-only miles between charges, while the lower-powered car can theoretically manage up to 39 miles. The usual A3 virtues apply, such as sharp handling and decent practicality, but do bear in mind that TFSI e A3 do lose a fair bit of boot space to the batteries.
Upgrade the size of your Audi plug-in hybrid car, and you also upgrade the size of your combustion engine. You might worry if the much larger Audi A6 50 TFSI e made do with the same 1.4 engine as the A3, but the bigger car gets a 2.0-litre unit to supplement its electric motor, plus a bigger 17.9kWh battery, for a total power output of 299hp. That means it’s faster, with 6.2 seconds taken to get up to 62mph.
Audi A6 Avant
You don’t need the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes to guess that the estate-bodied Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e gets exactly the same powertrain as its saloon-bodied stablemate. The bigger body does mean a couple of the key numbers are slightly different, though. The 0-62mph dash takes a fraction longer at 6.3 seconds, the theoretical electric-only range drops to 40 miles, while the official fuel economy figure also drops to 202mpg. Where you gain, however, is in practicality, but even here, there’s a word of caution. The 405-litre boot you get in the Avant PHEV is better than the 360 litres provided in the saloon, but both figures are substantially down on non-PHEV versions of the A6 (565 litres in the Avant and 530 litres in the saloon) thanks to the way the batteries are packaged.
The Audi A7 four-door coupe is closely related to the Audi A6 underneath, so it's little surprise that the 50 TFSI e drivetrain gets another outing here. The figures are closer to the A6 Avant than to the A6 Saloon, with 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds, an electric-only range of up to 41 miles and an official WLTP fuel economy figure of up to 217mpg. The A7’s boot, meanwhile, splits the difference between its A6 counterparts at 380 litres, although that’s ultimately no bigger than you get in the much smaller petrol or diesel A3 Sportback. That said, the A7 isn’t short on style and glamour, with swoopy looks, that desirable badge and an interior that’s dripping with quality.
Another step up the size scale calls for another step up in plug-in hybrid hardware. The PHEV version of Audi’s flagship limousine, the Audi A8 60 TFSI e uses a 3.0-litre petrol engine in conjunction with its electric motor to deliver a combined power output of 463hp, making it capable of seeing off the 0-62mph dash in 4.9 seconds. It’s available in both standard wheelbase and long wheelbase formats but your choice has pretty much no bearing on the official WLP figures, which stand at 36 miles of theoretical electric-only range and fuel economy of 149mpg.
Remember back at the beginning of this article when we mentioned that the A3 Sportback had two plug-in hybrid variants? Well, as we take a few steps back on the size scale of Audi’s models to talk about the firm’s range of plug-in SUVs, it’ll come as little surprise that the Audi Q3 shares its hybrid drivetrain with the A3, although only the more powerful 45 TFSI e version is offered in the Q3. As a reminder, that means a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, an electric motor and a 10.4kWh battery combine to deliver 245hp, although the Q3’s bulkier body means it’s a shade slower (0-62mph in 7.3 seconds) and the electric-only range is slightly shorter (up to 34 miles). However, with a more fashionable SUV body, the Q3 more than makes up for that in style.
Audi Q3 Sportback
Having just talked about the Q3, we won’t dwell too long on the Q3 Sportback. It’s all but identical, only with a slightly swoopier roofline for a bit of added visual drama, so it’s no surprise that the drivetrain and all the important numbers are all but identical. Still, worth considering if you want your plug-in hybrid SUV to appeal to your heart even more than it appeals to your head.
Just like the A3 shares with the Q3, the PHEV version of the Q5 SUV sees the return of the same 50 TFSI e drivetrain found in the A6 Saloon and Avant, plus the A7. Despite the car’s bulkier body, the 299hp drivetrain gets it to 62mph from a standstill a fraction quicker than in its sister cars at 6.1 seconds, but the Q5 does lose out a little on economy according to official WLTP figures, with an electric only range of up to 38 miles and fuel economy of up to 188mpg.
Audi Q5 Sportback
Just like with the Q3 a minute ago, there’s little point dwelling on the Q5 Sportback for too long, considering it’s identical to the Q5 we’ve just talked about except for a slinkier roofline. Power and performance are identical to its more conventionally shaped sibling, although according to official figures, it does lose one mile in potential all-electric range and 12mpg in maximum average fuel economy. It also loses a smidgen of rear headroom.
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