Nice car. But Audi, hire a new digital artist or set higher standards.
After a period of dormancy, Audi has revealed more on their the new plug-in hybrid A6. For instance, we now know that it will be sold under the moniker 55 TFSI e quattro and that sales are soon to commence in its home turf of Germany starting at €68,860 with other European markets to follow before being more wide available globally.
It follows up the somewhat ill-received A6 Hybrid that was first introduced in 2012, now adding the ability to be charged up while at rest - either from the mains or a charging station - in addition to relying on kinetic energy recuperation and to drive a usable distance on its electric reserves exclusively.
We do wince at Audi’s decision to release images that were merely ‘Photoshopped’ together, and quite shoddily too, adding a new set of wheels and some black S Line bits to an existing A6 digital 3D render asset and background. These pictures make an awful first impression and does not do justice to what could be a cracking saloon. Moving on.
This A6 packs a new petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that packs more punch and still manages to be more efficient on fuel and light on carbon emissions while doing so, pairing a 190kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder mated to a dual-clutch S tronic transmission with an integrated electric motor.
Left to its own devices, the non-combustion half of this equation is capable of producing about 105kW and 350Nm, but when working alongside the petrol motor will arm the A6 with a potent 270kW and 500Nm. Being portioned as a more performance-oriented hybrid, it outguns the Mercedes-Benz E350e and the BMW 530e on paper.
By contrast, while the standard petrol-powered A6 55 TFSI has an identical 500Nm of torque to play with, the PHEV is able to access it much earlier in the rev range while also pipping it by 20kW over the 250kW from the former's 3.0-litre turbocharged V6.
With drive still being spread across all four wheels via the brand’s quattro AWD system, dispatching 100km/h from rest takes just 5.6 seconds for the electrified 55 TFSI and, as typical with Audis, its top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Packaged low down and at the rear is a 14.1kWh lithium ion battery that’s able to provide drive for as much as 53km when in full electric mode as measured on the WLTP testing cycle, though its top speed is limited to 135km/h when engaged.
We cannot speak to how the new Ingolstadt saloon fares in terms of dynamics, but its on-demand surge, sports suspension, aggressive looking set of 19-inch alloys, sporty bodykit, and red-painted brake callipers sure hint at all the right promises, but it would take an impressive effort for it be on par with, say, an S6.
Being a PHEV, Audi has loaded it up with all the tech goodies it can feasibly fit in. Notably, it receives the company’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, four-zone automatic climate control, and their Matrix LED headlights as standard.