Audi A8 Hybrid in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi A8 Hybrid put to the test
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B while leafing through the Audi A8 price list astonishment arises: Audi delivers the new hybrid variant with a tailor-made luggage set as standard. As standard? From Audi? As suspicious as a bouquet of flowers without a wedding day.

A look in the trunk is enough to explain. Since the lithium-ion battery is crash-protected between the wheel arches, the original maxi-compartment shrinks to compact class level and is difficult to load because of the stately step. After all, the four Audi trolleys and shoe bag fill the remaining volume almost perfectly.

Audi A8 Hybrid can also be purely electric, but not particularly dynamic

It would be a shame if that 1.3 kWh juice dispenser would reduce sales opportunities, although it is supposed to make the Audi A8 the most efficient hybrid sedan in the luxury class. In contrast to the noble streamers BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class, the Audi A8 dominates purely electric driving and is therefore a full hybrid. The 40 kW motor installed in the gearbox housing instead of the torque converter manages a maximum of three kilometers at a speed of 60 on its own until the battery is exhausted. So that the combustion engine does not engage, the driver is only allowed to gently stroke the gas pedal even in locked E-mode.

Also unlike the V6 and V8 competitors, Audi uses a charged two-liter four-cylinder on the combustion side 211 hp, which, with its power assistant, has a system output of 245 hp. Thanks to the high starting torque of the e-machine and a sprinting ability of 7.9 seconds at country road speed, the luxury liner does not feel necessarily sporty, but with sufficient power.
Only beyond the recommended motorway speed is there a lack of sovereignty. Shake off the family diesel in the rearview mirror? Nothing. If the combustion engine is on its own, it has to do with the mighty A8.

Driving comfort is high, the drive comfort is rather not

Thanks to effective noise insulation, almost nothing can be heard from the small turbo at a moderate pace. In addition, the 'Anti Noise Control' technology, which was first used in the V8 versions with cylinder deactivation, is used. In the upper speed range, however, high-frequency four-cylinder howling disturbs the sublimeFloating feeling of the air-sprung 5.14-meter glider, which provides its occupants with almost everything that is currently technically feasible, from the massage seat to the WiFi hotspot.

The comfort level of the rest The drivetrain does not come close to cars because the interaction between the electric motor and the combustion engine does not always work smoothly. Take sailing, for example: If the driver takes off the gas, the combustion engine is switched off up to a speed of 160 km /h and disconnected using an automated clutch so as not to produce any drag losses. If the accelerator pedal is then pressed again, it takes a short moment before the two motors come to an agreement. The A8 is a long way away from the smooth drive comfort of power-split hybrids like the Lexus LS 600h.

The synthetic brake feel in the Audi A8 Hybrid also requires getting used to. Since the electric motor mutates into a generator when it coasts down and brakes lightly and charges the batteries, the mechanical stoppers only intervene after a certain deceleration threshold. Therefore, it requires more concentration than usual to bring the aluminum giant to a gentle and precise stop.

Audi A8 Hybrid is not a consumption miracle

On the other hand, it is not an option to chase it through corners with precision heavy. In contrast to the combustion engine colleagues with hydraulic steering, the Audi A8 Hybrid uses an electromechanical variant that not only works easily and precisely, but is also supposed to save up to 0.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers because it does not divert any energy when driving straight ahead . Even the lights have to help save. Since LED headlights shine with a very high level of efficiency, they are standard equipment here.

But the consumption truth can be found at the petrol pump and in the case of the Audi A8 Hybrid is 9.6 liters /100 km - For 1.9 tons of rolling luxury, a good value at first glance. This means that the A8 leaves the luxury class hybrids of BMW, Mercedes and Lexus behind by 1.3 to 3.1 liters, but in terms of performance is in some cases significantly behind.

Compared to its diesel brothers the balance is no longer so rosy. Even a heavy hum like the eight-cylinder 4.2 TDI drove economically to a tenth in the last test - with all-wheel drive and 800 Nm torque. In addition, the A8 Hybrid approved itself on the economical auto motor und sport consumption lap of 7.2 liters /100 km and thus 1.1 liters more than the A6 Hybrid, which is almost identical on the drive side.

The doubts about the sense the complex technology become even bigger when you look at the price list. At 77,700 euros, the part-time electric vehicle is around 8,000 euros more than the 3.0 TDI, which is only partially offset by the more extensive standard equipment (including metallic paint, 19-inch wheels and Bose sound system). The five-star luxury glider is only offset by a three-star drive - and that makes four stars in the final bill.


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