Audi A8 hybrid engines, drive & performance
It’s easy to love the Audi A8 TFSI e's effortless performance and sublime refinement, but there are some small niggles
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The way the Audi A8 hybrid drives will be a secondary consideration to its refinement and comfort for many, but there’s still a market for driver-owners who like a larger vehicle. The good news is that the A8 doesn’t disappoint, and it has lots of power, but it’s not exactly thrilling either.
It’s one of the most refined and comfortable cars Audi makes, but keen drivers should look towards the BMW 7 Series for a big saloon that’s relatively light on its feet. For the ultimate in comfort and refinement, the Mercedes S-Class is still the car to beat – but the A8 has closed the gap further here in its latest iteration.
Audi A8 hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The A8 60 TFSI e is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a 134bhp electric motor, fed by a 14.1kWh battery and mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, as well as Audi’s trademark quattro four-wheel-drive system. Together, the petrol engine and electric motor produce 443bhp – enough for some pretty impressive performance figures from what is a large, heavy car.
Overall, the hybrid system works well; left to its own devices in Hybrid mode, the A8 is capable of shuffling between power sources almost imperceptibly – but sometimes this can be accompanied by driveline shunt and unwanted lumpy gearshifts, especially under harder acceleration off the line. Not a deal-breaker, but in a car pitched at this end of the market, mechanical lumps and bumps should really be filtered out.
Both the standard and long-wheelbase versions of the A8 manage 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and charge on to a limited top speed of 155mph – or 111mph on electric power alone. Put your foot down in hybrid mode and there’s effortless performance on tap; overtaking is easy and yet serenely silent. In all-electric mode, 0-37mph (0-60km/h) takes 6.9 seconds
The A8 hybrid isn't a sports car by any stretch, but it at least feels planted, safe and grippy, especially thanks to its great four-wheel-drive system. The driving experience remains largely distant, with the driver understandably isolated from what’s going on. It’s supremely relaxing, though – and that’s what cars like this are all about.
If you really must retain the capacity for fun in corners, the BMW 7 Series comes closest to feeling like a sporty saloon from the driver’s seat – but it’s still a massive luxury car that’s really meant for chauffeuring duties.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe flagship Audi A8 60 TFSI e is a great showcase for how well suited plug-in hybrid power is to luxury limousines
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe Audi A8 TFSI e competes strongly with its closest rivals when it comes to fuel-efficiency, range and charging speed
- 3Running costsIt's a relatively efficient plug-in hybrid, but the Audi A8 TFSI e is still an expensive car to buy, service and insure
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingIt’s easy to love the Audi A8 TFSI e's effortless performance and sublime refinement, but there are some small niggles
- 5Interior & comfortPlush materials, top-tier technology and acres of space make the Audi A8 TFSI e one of the most luxurious saloons around
- 6Practicality & boot spaceAs one of the largest cars in Audi’s range, the A8 TFSI e majors on space, if not ultimate versatility
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Audi A8 TFSI e is still too new for us to assess its long-term reliability, but it should be very safe