Qu­at­tro in­cluded in plug-in A7

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

Audi be­came the first Euro­pean lux­ury car-maker to launch an all-wheel-drive plug-in hy­brid large car when it un­veiled its new PHEV flag­ship, the A7 Sport­back 55 TFSI E qu­at­tro, at last week’s Frank­furt mo­tor show.

While ri­vals such as Mercedes-benz and BMW have rear-wheel-drive PHEVS such as the E350e and 530e, Audi has gone the whole hog by in­clud­ing its fa­mil­iar qu­at­tro drive sys­tem in its first at­tempt at a big PHEV lux­ury car based on the re­cently re­leased A7 coupe-style sedan.

The Audi PHEV is pow­ered by a 185kw-370nm 2.0-litre petrol engine with as­sis­tance from a 105kw-350nm elec­tric mo­tor in­cor­po­rated in the seven-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

Com­bined, the engine and mo­tor pro­duce 270kw of power and 500Nm of torque which is suf­fi­cient for a 0-100kmh dash in 5.7 sec­onds. Top speed is con­strained to 250kmh.

The A7 can drive at up to 135kmh on the elec­tric mo­tor alone be­fore the petrol engine kicks in.

Elec­tric­ity from the 14.1kwh lithium-ion bat­tery mounted un­der the boot will pro­pel the A7 elec­tri­cally for 40km un­der nor­mal driv­ing, con­tribut­ing to an of­fi­cial com­bined fuel con­sump­tion read­ing of 2.1 to 1.9 litres per 100km.

Recharg­ing from a high-power charger can be ac­com­plished in 2.5 hours, while home charg­ing on a 240volt socket takes seven hours.

The driver can se­lect from three driv­ing modes – EV, Bat­tery Hold and Hy­brid.

EV is the de­fault set­ting un­der which the car can be driven in full-elec­tric mode un­til the bat­tery runs out, un­less the driver sticks the boot into the ac­cel­er­a­tor to ig­nite the petrol engine.

Bat­tery Hold mode switches the car to petrol power so that a re­serve of elec­tric­ity can be re­tained in the bat­tery for later use.

The Hy­brid Mode can em­ploy the sat-nav sys­tem to pick be­tween petrol and elec­tric­ity for the great­est over­all ef­fi­ciency on a trip.

As well, the A7 55 TFSI E uses Audi’s pre­dic­tive drive man­age­ment to make sure that the bat­tery is full in high­way driv­ing so that the last bit of the jour­ney in an ur­ban area is done on bat­tery alone. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in some Euro­pean cities that de­mand emis­sions-free driv­ing in some ur­ban ar­eas.

Re­gen­er­a­tive brak­ing via the front wheels and elec­tric mo­tor-gen­er­a­tor take care of all but se­vere stops, pump­ing up to 85kw of elec­tric­ity into the bat­tery at 0.2g.

The driver gets a tap in the foot from the hap­tic ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal when the car changes from petrol to EV and back again. The car also coaches the driver via var­i­ous sig­nals to en­cour­age more ef­fi­cient driv­ing.

The cli­mate con­trol sys­tem can pre­con­di­tion the car’s cabin via con­trols on the My Audi phone app to save bat­tery en­ergy once the jour­ney starts. This even ap­plies to the seat and steer­ing-wheel heaters.

The app can also be used to check the bat­tery and range sta­tus, start the charg­ing process, pro­gram the charge timer and view the charge and con­sump­tion sta­tis­tics.

The PHEV A7 will hit the show­rooms of Europe later this year, but it re­mains to be seen if Audi Aus­tralia will take it, as num­bers are likely to be small.

If they do, the car will have the BMW 530e and Mercedes-benz E350e to con­tend with.

The re­cently launched petrol-only Audi A7 55 TSFI qu­at­tro with a 3.0-litre V6 sells for $131,542.

SELL OUT: The plug-in hy­brid A7 55 E Qu­at­tro will be­come Audi’s top-shelf PHEV.

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