Audi A8 hybrid performance, engine & drive
It’s easy to love the Audi A8 TFSI e's effortless performance and sublime refinement, especially when cruising around on electric power
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.
There are four driving modes specifically for the plug-in hybrid A8. ‘EV’ focuses on fully electric driving and ‘Hybrid’ combines power from the petrol engine and electric motor, while ‘Hold’ conserves battery charge for use later in your journey and ‘Charge’ uses the combustion engine to recharge the battery.
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 an electric motor, fed by a 17.9kWh battery and paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, as well as Audi’s trademark quattro four-wheel-drive system. Together, the engine and motor produce 456bhp and 700Nm of torque – enough for some pretty impressive performance figures from what is a large and 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 the car is at its best when cruising around in near-silence. When the petrol engine does kick in, it only emits a rather distant, muted rumble – even at full throttle.
Both the standard and long-wheelbase versions of the A8 manage 0-62mph in around five seconds and charge on to a limited top speed of 155mph. Put your foot down in hybrid mode and there’s effortless performance on tap thanks to the electric motor’s readily available torque; overtaking is easy and yet serenely silent.
The A8 hybrid isn't a sports car by any stretch, but it 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 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 costs & insuranceIt's a relatively efficient plug-in hybrid, but the Audi A8 TFSI e is still an expensive car to buy, service and insure
- 4Performance, engine & drive - currently readingIt’s easy to love the Audi A8 TFSI e's effortless performance and sublime refinement, especially when cruising around on electric power
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortPlush materials, top-tier technology and acres of space make the Audi A8 TFSI e one of the most luxurious saloons around
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityAs one of the largest cars in Audi’s range, the A8 TFSI e majors on space, if not ultimate versatility
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Audi A8 TFSI e is still too new for us to assess its long-term reliability, but it should be very safe