Audi’s long-wheelbase A8 L luxury saloon is already available in either petrol or diesel-driven form. Both offer effortless power and mild hybrid energy recuperation, but now they’re joined by a full petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, capable of up to 28 miles on electric power alone and an NEDC-standard fuel economy figure of 113mpg.
The long-wheelbase version of the A8 gives rear-seat passengers an extra 13cm (5.1 in) of lounging space for a total length of 5.3metres. Distinguishing features of the A8 L TFSIe include a daytime running light signature that’s inspired by the e-tron concept, with five horizontal bars of light on the outer edges of the air intakes. Chrome inserts on the front and rear bumpers as well as the door handles are further subtle touches.
The A8 L 60 TFSIe has two sources of motive power; a V6 3.0 TFSI petrol engine that develops 340 metric horsepower and 500NM of torque, and an electric motor that adds 100kW and peak torque of 350Nm. This motor is integrated with the clutch in the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, so transitions between the two power sources are seamless. The combined system power is just under 450PS with 700Nm of torque, giving 0-62mph acceleration in just 4.9 seconds. Equally noteworthy are the 28 miles the A8 L 60 TFSIe can travel on electric power alone. Top EV-only speed is 83mph (though you won’t get the full 28 miles if you drive at those speeds).
As with every A8L, the new hybrid 60 TSFIe offers the top of the range MMI Navigation Plus and MMI Touch system. All instrumentation is conveyed via the Audi Virtual Cockpit, replacing analogue dials with crisp, clear and full configurable displays behind glass panels. Optional features include heated rear seats with rear seat remote, electric sun blinds for rear windows, parking system plus and rear-view camera. The myAudi app allows owners to remotely check the battery and range status, start the car charging, program the charge timer and view consumption as well as charge stats. Because EV-only mode is so silent, the A8 L 60 TFSIe transmits a synthetic sound at low speeds to alert pedestrians and cyclists in city traffic.
The safety and driver assistance systems of the A8 L 60 TFIe are monitored by a central driver assistance controller, which uses data from all the car’s sensors, both radar and camera, to build a multi-layered picture of the A8’s surroundings. From crossing assist which recognizes vehicles crossing in front of the driver’s vehicle, to the emergency braking function, adaptive driving assistant and traffic jam pilot, the controller seamlessly co-ordinates them into an unobtrusive safety net of assistance.
Verdict: Even entrepreneurs and FTSE-100 board members need to be environmentally aware nowadays. The extra fuel saving of the petrol-electric A8 L TFSIe probably won’t concern this car’s users, but the ability to travel up to 28 miles in zero-emission zones on pure electric power certainly will. Abundant power and luxury, with a clearer conscience.