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2020 Audi A8 e review: Our expert's take
Audi has announced prices for plug-in hybrid versions of its Q5 compact SUV and big A8 flagship sedan. Both are designated with a “TFSI e” label, and the 2020 Q5 TFSI e will offer three trim levels — Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige — starting at $53,895 (all prices include the destination charge). The A8 TFSI e comes in one form only, with a starting price of $94,995.
Audi estimates maximum federal tax credits are $6,712 on the Q5 and $6,795 on the A8; the two might also qualify for state and local subsidies, depending on where you live. Of more importance in some places, owners could also could get single-occupant access to carpool lanes. The Q5 plug-in hybrid already is on the official sticker eligibility list in California.
Audi is rapidly building out its plug-in electrification effort. In 2019, it launched the E-Tron electric SUV in the U.S., and it’s already shown plug-in hybrid versions of the A6 and A7 in Europe, saying that the A7 will be in the U.S. “in the coming months.”
Here’s what we know about the plug-in hybrid Q5 and A8:
Q5 TFSI e
The Q5 TFSI e employs an electric motor sandwiched between its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Combined system output is 362 horsepower and 369 pounds-feet of torque. The battery is a 14.1-kilowatt-hour pack under the cargo area. All-wheel drive is standard and Audi says the plug-in will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds, which is about a full second quicker than the comparable non-hybrid Q5.
The EPA rates the Q5 at 20 miles of all-electric range and a combined rating thereafter of 27 mpg, which is 3 mpg higher than the non-hybrid 2.0-liter Q5. The system has three driver-selectable driving modes that include Hybrid mode, which works with data from the navigation to optimize efficiency. The default startup is EV mode, and it will draw from electric power alone unless you push the gas pedal past a set point (or battery charge dips below a certain threshold). A Battery Hold mode saves capacity for usage later in the drive.
Audi differentiates the plug-in Q5, which is on sale now, with some sportier S Line trim, exclusive colors and a choice of wheels. Beyond the base Premium, the Premium Plus starts at $57,595 and the Prestige at $61,345. Each is about $9,000 more than the least expensive version of its respective non-hybrid, 2.0-liter Q5 trim, but they’re comparable in price and manufacturer-listed acceleration with the sportier, six-cylinder SQ5.
A8 TFSI e
The coming A8 plug-in hybrid sedan uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission for a combined maximum output of 443 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque. Audi estimates a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds, which is nearly a second faster than the V-6 A8 (itself a mild hybrid). The A8 uses a battery with a different design than the Q5 but the same 14.1-kilowatt-hour capacity, and the sedan has similar driving modes.
The EPA rates the plug-in A8 at 17 miles of electric range and combined mileage thereafter at 23 mpg, which is 2-5 mpg more than the non-plug-in A8 depending on drivetrain.
Visual differentiations for the plug-in A8 include new front-bumper lighting and standard 19-inch wheels. Its starting price is about $9,000 more than the regular A8 V-6 and slightly less than the A8 with a V-8.
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48 months/50,000 miles
144 months/unlimited distance
48 months/50,000 miles
- Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
- Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance