In-depth reviews

Audi A8 hybrid review

The flagship Audi A8 60 TFSI e is a great showcase for how well suited plug-in hybrid power is to luxury limousines

Audi A8 TFSI e
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£88,125 - £115,625
Fuel Type:
Hybrid Petrol

Pros

  • Smooth and quiet on the move
  • Decent range in electric mode
  • Luxurious and high-quality interior

Cons

  • Mercedes S-Class rides slightly better
  • No stronger regen braking mode
  • Not involving for the driver
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid36 miles134-149mpg40-48g/km

Pure-electric luxury executive limousines are few and far between right now, with the Mercedes EQS being the only real option if you’re after a truly opulent EV. However, more and more plug-in hybrids have appeared in this class in recent years, and in response to increasing competition, the Audi A8 TFSI e has been facelifted for 2022.

This A8 competes directly with the plug-in hybrid versions of the latest Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series – although the latter is being succeeded by a new model later in 2022. The car's '60 TFSI e' powertrain comprises a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor, with a total power output of 456bhp and 700Nm of torque – enough to push the 2.3-tonne saloon from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. Power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

While the previous plug-in A8 used a 14.1kWh battery, the updated version sees battery size increased to 17.9kWh, boosting the car’s electric driving range from 29 to 36 miles when fully charged, as well as improving fuel economy and CO2 emission figures. That’s significantly less than the Mercedes S 580 e can cover on electric power, but certainly on par with the range of the BMW 745e. During our initial test, temperatures were hovering around two degrees Celsius, yet the car still managed nearly 30 miles on electric power alone.

On the move, the electrified powertrain plays to the A8’s strengths, allowing you cruise around with the engine off in near-silence. The tranquillity of the cabin isn’t punctured even when the engine kicks in, as it only emits a distant, rather muted rumble. It’d be nice to have a stronger ‘B’ mode for the regenerative braking, to feed more energy back into the battery, but the car’s adaptive system does work intelligently and the switch between regenerative and traditional friction braking is smooth enough.

With the help of a dashboard indicator, you can be gentle enough with the accelerator to avoid waking the petrol engine, too. An EV mode instructs the car to prioritise battery power, but in general it's better to leave it in Hybrid mode and let it work out the best combination of sources to keep moving as efficiently as possible.

To help the car do this, sat nav, live traffic and topography data are all called on. You can also prioritise the petrol engine if you want to save battery power for urban running later in your journey, using Hold mode. Elsewhere, the A8 is as impressive a large luxury car as it has always been, remaining uncannily quiet inside regardless of which power source you're using, how fast you're travelling or what type of road you're passing over. In terms of ride quality, the soft suspension means there’s some body lean in corners, but it's well controlled. The A8’s adaptive air suspension dealt with imperfections on the largely smooth German tarmac we tested it on very well.

Interior materials are pleasingly luxurious throughout, and the updated infotainment setup offers superb resolution and responsiveness. The rather slick system comprises two central touchscreens – one 10.1-inch screen you can control the media functions from and a smaller 8.6-inch screen below that’s just for the climate control. Plus, you get a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display behind the wheel. The cabin overall is short of flourishes, but the execution is exceptionally precise.

A few niggles aside, the plug-in hybrid A8 seems entirely fit for purpose as a hugely comfortable, refined, classy and (relatively) environmentally friendly way of transporting VIPs and dignitaries around. For a more detailed look at the car, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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