With severe, life-threatening levels of pollution in major cities across China, Audi has chosen the upcoming 2015 Shanghai Auto Show as the place to unveil not one but three plug-in models that it hopes will one day help the People’s Republic of China tackle record levels of air pollution.
2016 Audi Q7 e-tron TFSI
First up is the production version of the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro TFSI plug-in hybrid. The twin to the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro TDI unveiled earlier this year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit alongside the rest of the Audi Q7 lineup, the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro TFSI features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo fuel stratified injection gasoline engine in place of the 3.0-litre V-6 diesel engine the Q7 e-tron quattro was first unveiled with.
But that doesn’t mean Audi has had a change of heart when it comes to the diesel variant: the Q7 e-tron quattro will be offered in diesel-loving Europe with the 3.0-litre TDI, while North American and Asian markets will offer the 2.0-litre TFSI instead.
This way, Audi gets to market essentially the same car to two radically different markets. European-buyers gain the benefit of improved fuel economy from the diesel engine, while Asian and North American buyers benefit from reduced emissions and more easily-obtained fuel. In addition, Audi manages in all three situations to meet all the necessary emissions targets for each market it wishes to sell the Q7 e-tron in.
When it comes to performance figures, the gasoline-burning Q7 e-tron TFSI uses the same 94-kilowatt electric motor and 17.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack as the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro TDI, giving it a total power output of 367 horsepower and 516.3 foot-pounds of torque. That’s slightly less horsepower and slightly more torque that the TDI variant, allowing the gasoline Q7 e-tron quattro to reach 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the TDI.
Range should remain similar, although we note that the quoted figure — 32.9 miles on the Chinese test cycle — is slightly lower than the 35 miles quoted in Detroit. Combined fuel economy meanwhile, is quoted at 94.1 U.S. mpg. Given range varies according to driving patterns and weather conditions, we’d guess a real-world range of between 25 and 35 miles should be possible, while real-world combined fuel economy should be somewhere around 80 to 100 mpg with similar caveats.
Like the diesel variant, charging comes courtesy of a new two-phase on-board charger that can charge at up to 7.2 kilowatts, recharging the battery pack from a suitable charging station in around 2.5 hours. Similar to the diesel Q7 e-tron, there’s a range of different operation modes designed to help the driver maximise either performance or range, while on-board predictive GPS-aware technology puts the engine into coasting mode where possible on accelerator liftoff to maximise fuel economy.
A price hasn’t been set yet, but expect the Q7 e-tron quattro TFSI to cost a similar amount to its diesel sibling when it goes on sale in China and North America next year.
2016 Audi A6 L e-tron
Next comes the 2016 Audi A6 L e-tron plug-in hybrid, a vehicle which will be offered exclusively for China.
Based on the Chinese-market long-wheelbase version of the A6 sedan — long wheelbase models being the preferred body style for China’s rapidly-expanding upper middle class, most of which employ their own drivers — the A6 L e-tron features a 2.0-litre TFSI gasoline engine, combined with a 91 kilowatt electric motor and 14.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Like the electric motor in the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, the Audi A6 L e-tron’s electric motor is a disc-shaped unit integrated directly into the gearbox housing alongside an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission. Unlike the Q7 e-tron however, the A6 L e-tron is a front-wheel rather than all-wheel drive vehicle.
Range is estimated to be 31.1 miles on the chinese test cycle in all-electric mode, with a top electric-only speed of 83.9 mph possible with gentle acceleration. Travel any faster, and the gasoline engine kicks in to propel you to a top speed of 130 mph.
Producing a total combined system power of 245 horsepower and 368.8 pound-feet of torque, the Audi A6 L e-tron can reach 62 mph in 8.4 seconds with both drivetrains working together. Operate in EV mode, and 0-62 takes a little longer to reach.
Fuel economy on the Chinese test cycle is given at 107 U.S. mpg, although there’s no plans at the moment to offer this car outside of China.
Audi Prologue Allroad Concept
Finally comes the latest in Audi’s range of Prologue concept cars: the Audi Prologue Allroad Concept car. Based on the same design principles as the rest of the Audi Prologue concept car series, the Prologue Allroad is intended to be an indication of Audi’s future design language and direction, with a strong focus on technologies that Audi intends to use in the near future.
With large aggressive wheel arches, large 22-inch wheels, and a low-slung body, the Prologue Allroad reminds us a little of a cross between a crossover SUV and Audi’s sportback line of hatchbacks, while the long, narrow headlights and aggressive, large grille remind us of the all-new 2016 Audi R8 sports car.
Under the hood, there’s a massive 4.0-litre V-8 TSFI engine with twin turbochargers, with a powerful electric motor integrated into its 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. In total, power output is rated at 734 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, capable of delivering enough power to the permanent quattro all-wheel drivetrain to accelerate the car from standstill to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Like the A6 L e-tron, there’s a 14.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack to provide around 33 miles of all-electric range, while and on-board wireless charging makes it possible for the concept car to be charged wirelessly.
Being a concept car, we’re unlikely to see this particular model make it into production, but we do know that some of the technology featured in it — specifically wireless charging — is expected to be brought to the market in the coming months by Audi on cars like the 2016 Audi Q7 e-tron quattro.
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