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Audi A8: last lap before going all-electric

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Lhe ecological transition is on the agenda for practically all manufacturers. At Audi, the schedule is already defined. The design of thermal cars will be definitively abandoned in 2026 and these will no longer be marketed from 2033. Practically tomorrow.

60 km all-electric

To ensure the transition, a solution is needed: hybridization, which combines thermal and electric engines. In France where the malus is king, it is the lifeline of top-of-the-range models which, without it, see themselves decked out with exorbitant penalties: up to 40,000 € currently, increased to 50,000 € from next year. with, as a bonus, taxation by weight. If the new A8 range still offers a diesel version (50 TDI from €99,000) and a sports S8 (€160,700), we understand that the forecasts attribute 90% of the mix to the hybrid. Displayed from €116,500, but exempt from malus and TVS, the 60 TFSI e version is indeed practically the same price as a diesel version that has become much less politically correct.

And then, it’s not just money in life! As we will see later, in terms of pleasure, the hybrid is also perfectly suited to this large luxury sedan. Under the hood, for the thermal part, we find the 3-liter V6 whose power is increased to 340 hp. While, on the electrical side, a 90 kW (122 hp) motor and a 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery are associated. It thus has a total power of 462 hp, enhanced by a generous torque of 700 Nm. Despite its 2.3 t, the machine thus propels itself from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, a top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h. Even more interesting, for clean and peaceful driving in the city, you can travel up to 60 kilometers in all-electric mode, with a top speed of 135 km/h which allows you to take expressways without any problem.

But, to benefit from the contribution of electricity, the battery must of course be charged. Otherwise, with a vehicle heavier than a petrol equivalent, we logically consume more. For this, the new A8 inherits a particularly sophisticated electronic management optimizing recharging while driving, in particular by anticipating the profile of the road thanks to the GPS of the navigation system. At home, on a household outlet, a full charge takes place in 8 hours. On an AC fast terminal delivering 7.3 kW, i.e. the maximum power accepted by the car, it takes 1 hour 10 minutes to see the charge go from 20 to 80%.

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During our test in Spain, on a varied route, consumption came out at 6.0 l / 100 km at regulatory speed and just under 10 l at a steady pace, with a part in the mountains. This remains very reasonable given the performance and weight of the car, and which guarantees a range of over 600 km in all circumstances.

Five-star comfort

Statutory car par excellence, whether you are a business leader, politician or star of show business, the Audi A8, like its competitors Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series, often lives with a driver at the wheel. The Limousine version (+ €6,600) in Avus Extended finish (€141,300) is then a must. The wheelbase lengthened by 13 cm benefits in fact exclusively the rear seats, thus allowing, with the reclining seats, to take advantage, on long journeys, of a position of the most restful. The mechanics, which extensive soundproofing makes virtually inaudible, are in tune. Just like the suspensions whose adaptive pneumatic damping transforms the car into a flying carpet. Pullman comfort. The finish, for its part, is at the highest Audi standard, that is to say impressive. And the equipment is not to be outdone with, in particular, at the rear, a central console integrating a touch pad which allows the adjustment of the air conditioning, individual seats, blinds, as well as new multimedia screens embedded in the front head restraints. A treat at €5,190 drawn from the long and expensive list of options that completes the three trim levels offered: standard, Avus (+ €12,600) and Avus Extended (+ €18,200).

Technological showcase

Taking the driver’s seat is far from being a punishment with the new A8. Combined with an exquisitely smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox, the hybrid engine offers particularly fluid and cushioned shifts, both in town and on the road. The available power reserve is however substantial and, the sensations being very filtered, you have to keep an eye on the speedometer so as not to find yourself inadvertently in great excess of speed.

On a winding course, even if one remains far from the pleasures of authentically sporty driving, the electronics struggle to offer the mastodon good handling. The controlled suspensions effectively contain body roll, while the permanent four-wheel drive, finely managed by the quattro system, guarantees appreciable all-weather safety. When they turn the steering wheel, brake or accelerate for you, the electronic driving aids (there are about forty of them in total!) can however prove to be annoying. Fortunately, most of them are disconnectable. The main criticism then concerns the management, which is a bit sticky and not informative enough for our taste.

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In place of the traditional instrument cluster, the driver has before his eyes a virtual cockpit consisting of a 12.3-inch slab with a 3D display of the most beautiful effect. Two other screens of 10.1 and 8.6 inches, located above the central console, allow navigation and most of the car’s functions to be managed. For night driving, from the Avus level, the A8 also has new Digital matrix LED headlamps as standard which, in addition to super-powerful lighting, offer a materialization of the gauge and an intuitive aid for keeping in the lane.

These new optics are integrated into a redesigned front face which is distinguished by a new grille grille surrounded by larger air intakes. The stern, for its part, inherits a thicker diffuser and customizable signature lights. The stylists having above all taken care to preserve the model’s silhouette, that is where the cosmetic retouching ends. Audi plans to sell around 100 A8s in France in 2022, compared to around 15,000 in China, its biggest market.

The technology of the Audi A8 60 TFSI e

Combustion engine: V6 twin-turbo petrol

Displacement: 2,995cc3

Power: 340 hp from 5,000 to 6,400 rpm

Torque: 500 Nm from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm

Electric motor: permanent magnet

Power: 122 hp

Torque: 400Nm

Combined power and torque: 462 hp and 700 Nm

Battery: 14.4 kWh lithium ion

Recharging time: 8 hours on a domestic socket, 20 to 80% in 1 h 10 on a 7.3 kW socket

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Dimensions LxWxH: 5190 (5320)* x 1945 x 1471 (1486)*

Trunk: 390 l

0-100km/h: 4.9s

Speed: 250 km/h (limited)

WLTP consumption: 2.0 l

CO2 : 45 g/km (bonus-penalty: 0)

Weight: 2310 (2405)* kg

Power to weight ratio: 5.0 (5.2)* kg/hp

Price: from €111,600 (118,200)*

* in brackets given A8 L (long chassis)

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