The Audi A8 Hybrid achieves admirable fuel economy on the official test but finds itself in the ‘Also Consider’ section as it is a full class larger than our usual Executive cars, with a price tag to match.
The Audi A8 is a good starting point for an executive hybrid as it is one of best full size saloons on the market. In Hybrid form it is also bristling with technology including the trusty 2.0 TFSI petrol engine, an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox with a slim electric motor sandwiched in between the gearbox and engine, complete with its own clutch, and advanced lithium-ion batteries.
Whilst the hybrid system is cutting edge it isn’t packaged as well as it might be. As a result, the battery pack reduces boot space from 510 litres to a disappointing 335 litres and the fuel tank is also slimmed down from 90 litres to 75 litres. The packaging issues may explain why Audi employs a relatively simple hybrid architecture which has more in common with Honda’s IMA than the market leading Toyota/Lexus system.
Despite producing just 54 bhp, the electric motor can power the A8 alone for short distances at speeds of up to 62 mph. The system also employs e-automatic air-conditioning so occupants can stay cool when under electric power, and you also get uber-trendy all LED headlights which use less power than conventional units.
The A8 Hybrid offers great efficiency without sacrificing on the executive experience. What you do lose out on is boot space, some performance and a big pile of cash. Yes the A8 Hybrid is expensive, but as with all premium manufacturers the real danger comes from picking too many options. Amazingly it is possible to double the price with options; buyer beware!