Deep in the press preview of next month’s public reveal of the 2015 Audi A8 facelift, a nugget of very newsworthy information is buried: the 2015 A8 will be offered as a four-cylinder, front-drive hybrid for the first time.
Ditching the quattro all-wheel-drive that is otherwise an A8 standard feature, the A8 Hybrid model is important for a number of reasons. First off, it is a full hybrid with a Li-ion battery pack in the trunk allowing brief EV-only driving.
Secondly, it uses a small and powerful gasoline engine as the primary drivetrain, eschewing the intellectual preference for diesel-electric hybrids from the European luxury brands. This gasoline setup means its performance and economy will be highly tailored to the American and Chinese markets, with arrival in U.S. dealers with the rest of the remodeled A8 gang next spring.
The major reason this car is important is of course its primary USP: fuel economy. With a quoted 37 mpg on the U.S. cycle, the A8 Hybrid will comfortably be able to add 10 mpg to the fuel economy of the second-most-efficient (U.S.) engine: the supercharged quattro V-6 A8 3.0 TFSI.
All the A8’s rich and formal styling, LED lighting and interior tech upgrades promise a new A8 experience, but with a relaxed drive more along the lines of the Lexus ES350h than any previous exec hybrid from Germany. Previous eco-themed limousine models from BMW and Mercedes for the American market, like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid , were both total sales failures with almost no economy incentive for buyers.
Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 A8 Hybrid, with all the latest details from Audi about its power outputs, EV range and in-car WLAN hotspot technology.