Hippo Guide To The Audi Electric & Hybrid Car Range

Electric motoring is where Audi’s future belongs. It’s where the company’s research and development is most focussed towards – as is the case with the majority of manufacturers nowadays. 

The four-ringed Germans claim their fleet vehicles will be carbon neutral by 2050, and to help cover that offset Audi is planning to have 20 fully-electric models in their range by 2025. 

That’s a big aspiration, considering Audi’s first electric-powered concept car – the e-tron – was only first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. 

Audi e-tron 2009

Back then, it was simply an electric-powered R8 with too much Torque – not the stylish, well-equipped SUV we got instead. But we’ll get onto that a little later. 

For now, though, it’s important to consider the strides Audi has made in their drive towards electrification. 

Audi’s Electric Plans

Since the Frankfurt unveiling, Audi has invested heavily in its electrification programme. Their focus has somewhat switched from creating luxurious, fuel-munching saloons to “increasing network stability, lowering electricity costs, and contributing to climate protection.”

They’re serious about meeting the objectives set out by the Paris Climate Agreement and are coming up with ingenious solutions to the issues today’s electric car faces, as well as creating energy in a more sustainable way.

A big part of that is their bidirectional charging idea. A huge problem with creating renewable energy in today’s world is reliability and storage. 

Because there’s not always sunshine to power solar panels or wind to drive turbines, creating energy by these methods isn’t always constant. And right now, any surplus energy that isn’t used by the electric grid there and then is lost – meaning a lot is wasted. 

But that’s where Audi’s bidirectional charging is attempting to make a difference. 

Audi’s Bidirectional Charging

Instead of losing any energy not used by the grid, Audi is attempting to convert their vehicles into mobile electricity storage units. 

Through this technology, excess power can be kept in the vehicle’s batteries to use for driving and then fed into a home’s power supply when plugged in; effectively cancelling out surplus waste. 

And it won’t just be to power an energy-saving lightbulb for 15 minutes or the equivalent of one cup of coffee, the Audi e-tron, for example, holds enough electricity to supply a single-family household for a week. 

It really could unlock the future of motoring, and living, in an electrified world. And it’s just one way the Ingolstadt-based company is charging into the future. 

As of July 2020, Audi has more than 23,000 patents to its name, the most out of any manufacturer in the world. 

And although not are all electric based, in 2019, all 660 powertrain patents filed were electric-powered, a 42 per cent rise in two years.  

It backs up the idea, then, that Audi is turning its attention towards a cleaner, greener future. 

Audi’s Electric Range

By 2025, Audi plans to have 20 fully-electric models in its range. At the moment, they have one; the e-tron, and four hybrid options. 

Let’s take a closer look at what each model offers. 

Audi e-tron

Audi e-tron

The Audi e-tron is based on the shape of the Audi Q7, although there are some noticeable differences. First and foremost is the option to have the e-tron in either a conventional SUV form or a more Q8-style Sportback. 

Another significant change is the lack of two extra seats. The Q7 is a seven-seater, the e-tron is only five. 

However, that does mean that the rear passengers enjoy more legroom. Extra space in the rear and also the lack of a centre floor tunnel – as the batteries are bolted to the bottom of the chassis – mean there’s ample room for three. 

The e-tron also enjoys a huge boot – 660 litres to be precise. According to Audi, that’s enough for 16 carry on cases. 

Audi e-tron Interior

It’s not slow either. The e-tron will reach 62 mph from a standing start in a little under seven seconds, and it’ll keep going until it reaches 130 mph.

When it comes to range, it depends on which spec you choose. The entry-level Technik will go for 193 miles on a single charge, while the Vorsprung will do 180. 

That’s simply because, in the Vorsprung, you get more car. Bigger wheels, upgraded navigation, cruise control and air conditioning, as well as digital door mirrors, all adding to the luxury. But it will mean sacrificing 13 miles of driving. 

The Sportback meanwhile will cover around 240 miles on a single charge, and reduce your 0-62 mph time by more than a second.

Body Styles

  • SUV
  • Sportback

Trim Levels

e-tron
  • Technik
  • Sport
  • S line
  • Black Edition
  • Vorsprung
e-tron Sportback
  • S line
  • LaunchEdition

Engines

50 quattro – 230kw

55 quattro – 300kw

Advantages of Audi e-tron

  • Doesn’t look like an electric car
  • Luxurious interior
  • Substantial range for an SUV

Disadvantages of Audi e-tron

  • Softer handling compared to competitors
  • Expensive
  • No seven-seat option

Audi A6 TFSI e

Audi A6 Avant TFSI e

The A6 is Audi’s mid-size luxury five-door. It comes in three forms; saloon, crossover and Avant.  

There are seven models to choose from, although the ones we’re interested in are the TFSI e, which combines both a petrol-powered internal combustion engine and an electric powertrain. 

The A6 is the smallest vehicle fitted with hybrid technology in the Audi range. It gives you 34 miles of all-electric travel and a WLTP mpg of between 166.2 to 188.3, depending on your power source. 

Combined, the electric-petrol mix pumps out 295bhp, and the batteries can be charged via a standard three-pin plug, which will take around six-and-a-half hours, or a 7kw home box, which takes two-and-a-half.

Audi A6 Saloon TFSI e

Across the range, space is at the forefront of design. And that shows with the ample boot room.

The saloon holds 535 litres, while the Avant adds an extra 30. Both of those are bigger than their respective BMW 5 Series rivals, although the Mercedes-Benz E-Class estate offers significantly more than the A6 Avant. 

On the technology front, the standard A6 features MMI Navigation, assisted parking, Pre-Sense Front, lane departure warning and Audi Connect. 

As you climb the trim levels, you get access to features such as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, road sign recognition and MMI Navigation Plus. 

Body Styles

  • Saloon
  • Avant
  • Crossover

Trim Levels

A6 TFSI e 
  • Sport
  • S line
  • Black Edition
  • Vorsprung 

Engines

A6 TFSI e

50 TFSI e quattro S tronic – 295bhp

Advantages of Audi A6

  • Excellent build quality
  • Smooth and quiet drive
  • Hybrid option

Disadvantages of Audi A6

  • Smaller boot space than E-Class estate
  • Steering not as responsive as competitors
  • All-touch MMI makes it hard to use while driving

Audi A8 TSFI e

Audi A8 TFSI e

The A8 is Audi’s premium luxury saloon. The tagline given to the A8 is “refinement and luxury”, and it’s certainly that. 

Coming as standard or long-wheelbase – which adds an extra 12 cm of rear legroom – the A8 and A8 L are shrouded in fine materials and delicate design, providing a class-leading comfort experience. 

Audi A8 TFSI e Interior

Adaptive air suspension, 18” alloys, dual touchscreen with digital display and Virtual Cockpit all come as standard, as does two-zone air conditioning, Valcona leather seats and a twin-spoke leather steering wheel. 

You can also upgrade to the Chauffer Pack, which enhances your rear passengers’ experience through digital TV reception. 

Audi A8 Rear Seating

In the power department, the A8’s batteries are joined by a 443bhp 3-litre turbocharged petrol engine which will run 29 miles on all-electric power. 

Audi had hoped to upgrade the A8 with its all-new Level 3 autonomous driving technology – where the car will keep in lane at the correct speed by itself. But they have since scrapped those plans.

Body Styles

  • Saloon

Trim Levels

A8 Saloon & L TSFI e
  • Sport

Engines

A8 Saloon & L TSFI e 

60 TFSI e quattro tiptronic – 443bhp

Advantages of Audi A8

  • Stunning hybrid engine
  • Sleek styling
  • Excellent tech as standard

Disadvantages of Audi A8

  • No dual-clutch gearbox option
  • No Level 3 autonomous upgrade coming
  • Despite the incredible luxury, still not as good as an S-Class

Audi Q5 TFSI e 

Audi Q5

The Q5 is Audi’s mid-size luxury SUV. For a long time, it was the highest-selling model in its class across the world; a group which consists of the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, among others. 

You’d think, then, that it would receive special treatment from Audi; ensuring it stays at the top of its game. And that’s exactly how it feels. 

While it’s yet to receive Audi’s interior facelift – which will be coming in 2021 – inside is still meticulously crafted with fine materials. 

Twin leather sports seats, three-zone electronic climate control, ample space and rear-seat flexibility. And although the Q5 is coming to the end of its life in this form, it’s still as eye-catching as anything else. 

Audi Q5 Interior

Another feather in the Q5’s cap is its hybrid powertrain. It’s the smallest of the Q range to receive electrified technology, which will take you 26 all-electric miles on a full charge. 

It also makes tax cheaper, and the WLTP mpg tops out at 117.7, which is an essential option for a car of this size. 

The internal combustion components in the hybrid come from either a turbocharged 2-litre petrol engine producing 295bhp, or the same set up making 362bhp. Both are considerably more powerful than the entry-level petrol, which produces 242bhp, and the standard diesel, which is lower on power still at 187bhp. 

Although there’s no seven-seat option in the Audi Q5 – yet – and there’s no Sportback option – yet – and it’s being replaced at the end of this year, it’s still a sensation all-round SUV. 

Body Styles

  • SUV

Trim Levels

Q5 TSFI e 
  • S line
  • Black Edition
  • Vorsprung
  • S line Competition
  • Vorsprung Competition

Engines

TFSI e

50 TFSI e quattro S tronic – 295bhp

55 TFSI e quattro S tronic – 362bhp

Advantages of Audi Q5

  • Technology still excels against others in the market
  • Great handling
  • Excellent hybrid engines

Disadvantages of Audi Q5

  • Exterior styling slightly dated
  • Interior styling slightly dated
  • No Sportback version yet

Audi Q7 TFSI e

Audi Q7 TFSI e

The Q7 is Audi’s flagship luxury SUV. It’s a five-metre, seven-seat monster that, Audi claims, ‘redefines’ luxury. 

It’s certainly luxurious. From out to in there’s intricate thought and detail in every stroke and stitch. And as usual with Audi, the bits that come as standard challenge anything else on the market. 

Matrix LED headlights, 19” alloys, MMI Nav Plus with Virtual Cockpit and air suspension all come with the entry-level spec. As do several driving aids, such as lane departure warning, cruise control with speed limiter and Pre-Sense Front. 

You can upgrade to chunkier wheels and sports suspension, but whether you’d want that in a seven-seat cruiser is questionable. 

Audi Q7 Interior

Speaking of seats, both the second and third row of seating is foldable, making way for a huge amount of space. While all five rear seats, as well as the front passenger seat, have Isofix points. 

As you’d expect, leather is standard from the entry-level spec, as is dual-zone climate control and a meaty steering wheel. 

Further up the spec chain, you’ll find extra features such as self-park, hill-hold assist and sharper styling. 

Under the bonnet sits a 3-litre V6 petrol powertrain. With the added electricity, which will take you 27 miles by itself on a full charge, you could reach 85.6 mpg – a considerable increase from the standard internal combustion engine. 

Body Styles

  • SUV

Trim Levels

Q7 TSFI e 
  • S line
  • Black Edition
  • Vorsprung
  • S line Competition
  • Vorsprung Competition

Engines

TFSI e

50 TFSI e quattro S tronic – 295bhp

55 TFSI e quattro S tronic – 362bhp

Advantages of Audi Q7

  • Luxury for up to seven
  • Practical and robust
  • Excellent standard kit

Disadvantages of Audi Q7

  • Mute styling
  • Lower residual value compared to competitors
  • Expensive

Software & Technology

For a long time, Audi has been at the forefront of in-car technology. Their models often come with a vast array of leading and useful tech as standard; much more than any of their competitors. 

And in their pursuit of electrified excellence, things haven’t changed much. 

Faster Charging

The Audi e-tron is the first series-production automobile to feature direct current fast charging. 

That means that should you be on a long journey, you can replenish your batteries at a 150 kW fast-charger, such as those at a motorway service station, without much disruption.

It’ll still take around 30 minutes, and alternate current charging options are available, but it does mean less waiting around in a roadside Little Chef. 

Digital Door Mirrors

Vehicle range seems to be a key selling point in electric vehicles. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s often what differentiates brands. 

And a large contributor to that is drag. Just like an internal combustion engine, the more air resistance and weight, the lower the fuel economy. That’s why the majority of SUVs are less efficient than a round-the-town hatchback. 

With Audi choosing their introduction to the electrified world to come in SUV form, they had to think smart, and digital door mirrors are a part of that. 

Audi Digital Door Mirrors

By removing the mirrors and replacing them with slender black, aerodynamic cameras, the car cuts through the air easier, reducing fuel consumption, or in this case electricity consumption. 

It’s also quite a novelty feature. 

In the top-tier Vorsprung model, digital door mirrors come as standard.  

Control From Your Phone

With the e-tron, it comes as no surprise your phone can play a significant part in your driving experience. 

We haven’t got to full vehicle control through an app – yet – but you can adjust the temperature settings before you climb in, meaning those cold winter mornings and sweltering summer afternoons are a little less harsh. 

Alexa Connection

Ever wanted a voice assistant that actually works? Or one that can tell you the weather report and allow you to order a new garden strimmer at the same time? 

Well, thankfully, that’s no longer just a dream. With Alexa Connection, you can pair your Amazon account to your Audi – giving you the Alexa assistant inside your car. 

You don’t have to have an Alexa system at home or anywhere else, as unlike other brands with similar technology, the Alexa assistant is programmed into your vehicle. 

Future Cars

Audi has said they’ll have 20 all-electric cars available in its range by 2025. Next on the list looks as though it’s going to be the Audi Q4 e-tron, another all-electric SUV. 

As well as that, there’s the Audi Elaine – which may not only be the best name ever given to a car, but it also has the potential to shellshock the entire market, as it’s yet another all-electric SUV. 

Audi e-tron Concept 2

But it’s not all high driving positions and road stature. The Audi AI:ME is a city car/hatchback type. And then there’s the devilishly good looking sports-focussed Audi PB18 e-tron and Aicon, which may look familiar if you’ve ever seen the film I, Robot

It’s difficult to say which of these concepts will make it all the way through to production. But one thing that’s for sure is the impressive nature of Audi’s progress in the electric motoring world. 

Audi e-tron Concept

In a decade, they went from having an idea to a fully-fledged, stunning all-electric SUV and four hybrid alternatives.

And given their focus has majorly shifted towards the electrified market in recent years, it’s certainly going to be exciting to see what they produce next.