Audi’s new A8 flagship will sail only as a luxury V8 hybrid

  • Range-wide adoption of 48V circuitry for big Audis
  • Luxury sedans to have electric drive on all models
  • Flagship model’s world debut July 11 at Barcelona Audi summit
AUDI A8 GOES ALL-HYBRID: Image: Audi / Newspress
HYBRID TO BE STANDARD ON AUDI A8: Audi calls it “the new voltswagen” but it’s really the chassis of an Audi A8 with drive batteries and an electric drivetrain – the combination to be standard on A8 models in future. Image: Audi / Newspress

 

INGOLSTADT, Germany – The next Audi A8 range, due for global debut in July 2017, is to be the brand’s first with an electrified drivetrain as standard as, the automaker says, “another important milestone on the e-mobility highway”.

Not all electric, but rather support for a conventional combustion engine and described as “mild hybrid technology based around a 48V electrical system which features as the primary electrical system for the first time”.

Audi explained in a media release sent to The Corner: “The technology will work in favour of the running refinement and performance crucial at this (flagship) level and in the interest of greater efficiency.”

AUDI A8 GOES ALL-HYBRID: Image: Audi / Newspress
AUDI A8 GOES ALL-HYBRID: The V8 engine still supplies primary drive, however. Image: Audi / Newspress

The mild hybrid-drive has two main components: a water-cooled 48V belt alternator/starter which will complement the conventional pinion starter. The latter will only be used for cold starts – once warmed, the hybrid drive will launch vehicular motion.

A lithium-ion battery in the sedan’s boot will be the energy accumulator for the MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) with a 10Ah charge carrier capacity and a 48V system.

INSTANT ACCELERATION

One advantage of the BAS is particularly clear when the car approaches a red traffic signal or a roundabout / traffic circle. If the signal turns green during braking while the vehicle is coasting to a stop or if a gap appears into which the driver wishes to move and he/she lifts off the brake, the combustion engine is started immediately.

No delay in acceleration, thanks to the belt alternator starter which is permanently connected to the combustion engine.

Audi explains: “The new drive combines efficiency with comfort in a very special way: this the fourth-generation A8 can enter the noiseless coasting mode within the speed range of 60-160km and can then coast with zero emissions for up to 40 seconds with the engine off altogether.

“As soon as the driver depresses the accelerator, however, the BAS prompts a swift, very smooth, restart. In addition, start/stop operation is actually active from about 20km/h.”

AUDI A8 GOES ALL-HYBRID: Image: Audi / Newspress
AUDI A8 GOES ALL-HYBRID: Image: Audi / Newspress

The start/stop function, the automaker adds, differs markedly from previous systems: the car can recognise various traffic situations. When the road ahead is clear the BAS starts the combustion engine conveniently and promptly, letting the Audi A8 drive off swiftly.

THEY MOVE, YOU MOVE

Should the driver wish to turn up the aircon after a long period of being stationary the combustion engine will start extra-smoothly and quietly; also fresh is a new feature of predictive convenient starting.

As soon as the vehicle ahead moves the A8’s engine will start, starts even if the brake is still pressed.

“In this scenario,” Audi explains, “the control strategy concludes that the driver will fall in with the flow of traffic.

Recuperation in multiple scenarios

The powertrain management is said to be “sophisticated”. It processes both route data and information from a networked set of sensors, one of them the front camera. The powertrain management then decides whether the A8 is in ‘coasting’ or ‘recuperation’ mode.

It harvests energy not only from braking or coasting but also if it is in danger of getting too close to a preceding vehicle while coasting.

READ MORE Audi features on Carman’s Corner

All these measures, Audi says, are beneficial not only for comfort but also fuel consumption. In the A8, the mild hybrid drive can cut fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 litres/100km.

The new Audi A8 will have its world debut at the first Audi Summit in Barcelona on July 11 2017.

ALL DRESSED UP: An Audi A8 with its clothes on. Future models will each have a hybrid (electric/combustion engine) drivetrain. Image: Audi
ALL DRESSED UP: An Audi A8 with its clothes on. Future models will each have a hybrid (electric/combustion engine) drivetrain. Image: Audi

 

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