With the announcement of a production version of the 2012 A6 L e-Tron, Audi attempts to answer two problems posed by the Chinese luxury-car market at the same time. The first of these is something that the A6 L in its regular form already addresses, the Chinese obsession with rear legroom. But the more important issue is that of fuel economy, and this the new car does quite well. This economy comes at a bit of a price when it comes to power, but this is a car intended only for the Chinese market, and China very much has its own set of rules. The car was first shown as a concept back in 2012, and has received a few tweaks since then.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi A6 L e-tron.

  • 2015 Audi A6 L e-tron
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed tiptronic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    245
  • Torque @ RPM:
    358
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.4 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 626916

The exterior styling of the A6 L e-Tron is very close to that of the A6 L, the long-wheelbase version of the A6 that is built in China and just for the Chinese market.

That car is similar in most respects to the regular A6, but 3.6 inches has been added to the total length of the car.

That car is similar in most respects to the regular A6, but 3.6 inches has been added to the total length of the car.

There are nevertheless a few details that set the car apart from the other A6 L. The e-Tron comes with a special set of 18-inch wheels, making it much more immediately recognizable. LED lights have been added around the air intakes, making for a small but very noticeable change in the look of the front fascia.

This is different from the standard fascia given to the original concept, and Audi has also scaled back the wheels, as the concept had a set measuring 21 inches.

Interior

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Interior
- image 626925

The car’s interior is aimed at a segment of the Chinese market that doesn’t exist in other countries: buyers of midsized sedans who employ professional chauffeurs.

All three of the big German luxury brands now build long-wheelbase versions of their midsized models for this market.

One need not buy a Rolls-Royce Phantom to be driven around in China, and all three of the big German luxury brands now build long-wheelbase versions of their midsized models for this market.

That means that the 3.6 inches of extra length the A6 L has been given are devoted almost entirely to extra rear legroom. This remains the same for the e-Tron, but here the driver is also given the option of displaying information pertaining to the drivetrain and battery on the MMI screen.

The new battery packs intrude on trunk space a bit, but not so much that you wouldn’t be able to get a suitcase in.

Drivetrain

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Interior Exterior
- image 626924

Fuel economy is an extremely important issue in China, where smog levels in major cities reached crisis levels long ago. But concerns about the availability of charging stations have kept sales of pure electrics from really getting off of the ground, and that is presumably why Audi chose to go the plug-in hybrid route for this car. Although Audi already makes an A6 Hybrid, available for sale in most markets, the e-Tron takes it a step further, mating a 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder to a disk-shaped electric motor mounted between the gasoline engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Although Audi already makes an A6 Hybrid, available for sale in most markets, the e-Tron takes it a step further.

This produces a combined 245 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, but more importantly, it delivers 106.9 mpg. The car has a 0-62 time of 8.4 seconds, which might not sound impressive, but in the fuel-sipping long-wheelbase segment, it’s quite competitive.

The power number isn’t huge, and if you opt to drive in pure electric mode, which the A6 L e-Tron can do for a range of 31 miles, power will be even lower. But the car can reach a top speed of 84 mph in all-electric mode, a huge improvement over the 37 mph originally quoted when the concept debuted.

It’s still not especially impressive, but the e-Tron is presumably meant primarily for city driving, where smog is such a problem, and those who both need to take longer trips and are concerned about fuel economy will still have the option of the regular hybrid. And as tends to be the case with e-Tron models, Audi’s signature Quattro all-wheel-drive system is not available, with power going only to the front wheels.

Drivetrain Specifications

Gasoline engine 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder
Gasoline output 211 HP
Torque 258 LB-FT
Electric motor disk-shaped electric motor
Electric output 91 kW
Electric torque 162.3 Lb-FT
Transmission Eight-speed tiptronic
Total output 245 HP
Total torque 368.8 Lb-FT
0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) 8.4 seconds
Top speed 210 km/h (130.5 mph)
Electric range 31 miles
Total range 546.8 miles

Prices

Audi hasn’t yet released pricing on the car, but with the price for the Chinese market of about $103,000 for the regular A6 Hybrid, it’s a safe bet that this more battery-intensive model won’t be cheap.

Competition

Tesla Model S

2015 Tesla Model S Exterior
- image 572405
The 2015 Tesla Model S is basically unchanged from last year... Well, except for the 691-horsepower P85D model!

Although it isn’t offered with an extended wheelbase, the Tesla Model S is basically the only game in town if you absolutely must have a pure electric luxury car. With some very impressive straight-line performance and an interior which easily rivals the more conventional cars in its segment, the Model S is an attractive alternative for those who wish to stay away from fossil fuels. That said, Tesla has had some serious trouble selling these cars in China, and pure electrics in general haven’t been doing well.

Read our full review here.

2014 BMW 5-Series

2014 BMW 5-Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 506850

Although the 5-Series is offered as a Hybrid and with an extended wheelbase, these features can’t be purchased together. But China does get some efficient four-cylinder options for the long wheelbase 5-Series that aren’t usually offered in other markets. This unfortunately means that these more-efficient versions of the car are at least as underpowered as the Audi, but that’s pretty much just par for the course in this segment in China.

Read our full review here.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2014 Mercedes E-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 486070

Mercedes offers the extended wheelbase on the E-Class, sedan, a competitor to the A6 in every market where both are sold. There is no hybrid option, and even the smaller of the engines offered isn’t exactly a fuel sipper. This is a supercharged 1.8 four-cylinder that offers roughly the same kind of performance and fuel economy as the 3.0-liter naturally aspirated V6 available to those who select the top trim level for the car. It seems odd that Mercedes has gone in such a different direction, but even in China there are always those more concerned about status than fuel economy.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

The features offered on the A6 L e-Tron aren’t exactly groundbreaking, but Audi’s packaging all of them together is a first for China. This could give the car an edge, but given the degree to which luxury EVs like the Tesla Model S have struggled in China, it’s not exactly guaranteed that fuel economy will be enough of a priority to be advantageous for the e-Tron.

  • Leave it
    • * what is sure to be a very high price
    • * under-powered in electric mode
    • *

Press Release

With the A6 L e-tron, Audi is taking an important step toward even greater fuel efficiency in China. The sedan has been developed specifically for the Chinese market. Its plug-in hybrid drive with 180 kW (245 hp) provides for powerful performance. The model consumes on average just 2.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (106.9 US mpg).

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Exterior
- image 626919

After launching the e-tron era in China with the imported A3 Sportback e-tron* in 2015, Audi is taking the next step with the local production of the A6 L e-tron beginning in 2016. The model is based on the long version of the Audi A6, which is already built in China, and is configured as a highly efficient parallel hybrid, meaning that its two drives are arranged one directly behind the other. The 2.0 TFSI is a state-of-the-art, four-cylinder, gasoline engine producing 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm (258.1 lb-ft) of torque. The disk-shaped electric motor provides 91 kW and 220 Nm (162.3 lb-ft) of torque. Together with a decoupler, this is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic transmission, which transfers the power to the front wheels. System output is 180 kW (245 hp); maximum system torque is 500 Nm (368.8 lb-ft).

Sporty performance, low consumption
The Audi A6 L e-tron, which has a curb weight of just over 2,000 kilograms (4,409.2 lb), delivers sporty performance: The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) takes just 8.4 seconds, and top speed is limited to 210 km/h (130.5 mph). According to the measurement method prescribed in China for plug-in hybrid vehicles, it consumes just 2.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (106.9 US mpg), corresponding to 52 grams CO2 per kilometer (83.7 g/mi). The Audi A6 L e-tron 2.0 TFSI covers 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) purely on electric power and with zero local emissions. It therefore meets the Chinese definition of a New Energy Vehicle. Total range is 880 kilometers (546.8 mi).

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Exterior
- image 626920

Its lithium-ion battery comprises 104 cells and stores 14.1 kWh of energy. Located beneath the luggage compartment, the battery reduces its volume only slightly — capacity is 340 liters (11.9 cu ft). The car thus offers sufficient stowage space for longer trips. The new two-phase charging technology allows charging with 7.2 kW of power. With the appropriate infrastructure (high-power industrial outlet) and high-power charging cable, the batteries can be fully charged in roughly two hours. On a typical household outlet in China, the procedure takes somewhat longer than eight hours, and can thus easily be performed overnight.

Electric driving at up to 135 km/h (83.9 mph)
The intelligent hybrid management system controls the operating states of the Audi A6 L e-tron. The driver can choose between four driving modes. “EV” (electric vehicle) mode prioritizes electric driving at up to 135 km/h (83.9 mph). In “hybrid” mode, the hybrid management system chooses the drive type for the best possible efficiency. In “battery hold” mode, the system stores the available electrical energy and charges the battery in “battery charge” mode. The sedan can coast in hybrid mode — when the driver takes his or her foot off of the accelerator, both drives are deactivated. The electric motor assumes most of the braking, charging the battery. The hydraulic brakes are used only for heavy braking.

Controls and displays
The displays of the Audi A6 L e-tron provide detailed information about the status of the drivetrain and the battery charge. The powermeter in the instrument cluster displays the total system output. The monitor for the MMI navigation plus visualizes the energy flows in the hybrid system; range and consumption figures for electricity and gasoline are displayed in the driver information system.

2015 Audi A6 L e-tron Exterior
- image 626921

A number of visual cues identify the plug-in hybrid models from Audi. The 18-inch alloy wheels feature the delicate e-tron design, and LED light guides in the air inlets generate a signature of staggered lines. e-tron badges adorn the fenders and the trunk lid; the diffuser conceals the exhaust system tailpipes.

All the strengths of the A6 model series*
Elegant design, a supremely spacious and cultivated interior, high ride comfort, comprehensively equipped and advanced infotainment — the Audi A6 L e-tron offers all of the strengths of the successful A6 model series. It will be produced by an Audi joint venture with FAW-Volkswagen in the northern Chinese city of Changchun, and will be launched on the Chinese market in 2016.

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