Last February, Audi told us to escape the confines of old luxury
. Now the German luxury automaker is telling us to escape the current confines of green luxury via announcement that it will begin production on the hybrid version of its flagship A8 limousine sedan in 2012.
The Audi A8 hybrid will couple a 2.0-liter turbo fuel stratified injection (TFSI) gasoline engine with an electric motor to produce an output of 245-hp and 345 lb-ft. of torque. Audi projects that average fuel consumption will be 37 mpg highway, a 10 mpg improvement compared to the standard Audi A8
. Jim Gorzelany pointed out in his Forbes.com article on the Audi that theA8’s estimated fuel economy beats the Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid’s
19-city/25-highway mpg, BMW ActiveHybrid7i’s
17/24 and Lexus LS600h L’s
The company also reports that the hybrid version will be able to travel at speeds of up to 62 mph on electric power alone, and cover around two miles with zero local emissions at a constant speed of 37 mph. It will reach 62 mph in 7.7 seconds from a standing start and will have a top speed of 146 mph. CO2 emissions will be below 238 grams/mile.
The lithium-ion battery, which weights 81 lbs., provides 1.3 kWh of nominal energy and up to 53 hp and will be located in a crash-proof area in the trunk. The battery can be air-cooled with air blown from the passenger compartment by a fan and via a separate cooling circuit coupled to the automatic air conditioning system. The electric motor and compact power electronics which serve as a controller between the electric motor and the battery are water-cooled.
The A8 hybrid also will be one of the lightest sedans in its category due to its Audi Space Frame body being constructed of aluminum, with the B-pillars made out of ultra-high-strength steel. It will weigh 509.27 lbs., about 40% lighter than a comparable steel construction.
Visually, the A8 hybrid will have subtle differences from the standard sedan. The 10 spokes of its alloy wheels will have a diameter of 18 inches as standard and 19 inches as an option. The body will feature hybrid badges and an exclusive Arctic Silver finish. Metallic paint finish, three-zone automatic A/C, LED headlights and a BOSE sound system come standard.
There has been no official word yet on availability or price, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect deliveries in late spring 2012 and an asking price of around $90,000.
-- Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor
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