Audi's Next-Gen A8 Adds Mild Hybrid Arrangement as Standard; Other Models to Follow

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

There’s a bit of an automotive renaissance occurring just below the radar. While pure electrics and plug-in hybrids garner endless headlines, several luxury brands are sneaking more mild hybrid arrangements under their vehicles’ hoods via a 48-volt electrical system.

Audi is a firm believer in the technology and is making moves to implement the system in numerous vehicles in its lineup, starting with the fourth-generation A8 arriving later this year. Combining regenerative braking with a small lithium battery and belt-driven alternator, the system harnesses wasted energy and is a more affordable way to tap into the benefits of hybridization. So affordable, automakers are using the KERS-like system on models as standard equipment, not a optional extra.

In this regard, Audi’s A8 is no different. The next generations of the A6 and A7 will also use the technology.

Alexander Kruse, Audi’s project head for the 48-volt enhanced ICEs, told Automotive News the brand wants to bake the system into larger models “very quickly.” The A7 is due to debut at the Frankfurt auto show this September and the A6 launches sometime in 2018. While the pair won’t receive setups quite as trick as the flagship sedan, the mechanical theories are identical.

Audi claims the system equates to an additional 12 kilowatts (16 horsepower) and 60 Newton meters (44 lb-ft) of torque on tested V6s, reducing fuel consumption by 0.7 liters per 100 km — enough to notice at the pump, if you’re paying attention. While the real draw for consumers is the added torque, the system does some of its best work when it isn’t making any.

The A8 can coast for up to 45 seconds with the engine turned off at speeds between 19 mph to 99 mph but, once the driver touches the gas, the alternator/starter combo brings the engine back up to speed.

[Image: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Z9 Z9 on Jun 01, 2017

    I think the fears about added complexity of hybrid components are overblown. Ever notice how many hybrid taxis there are these days? I doubt taxi companies would put so much love behind vehicles that were breaking down all the time. And any added complexity in the drive system is partially offset by the increased brake life provided by regenerative braking. It seems that with hybrids and electric cars, brakes are pretty much good for the life of the vehicle. I realize this is not a huge expense but it's a certain one in cars without motors and batteries.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Jun 05, 2017

    2018 Audi A8, now offering the same up-to-the-minute BAS technology as the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line! 2017 Audi A3 eTron, now offering half the EV mileage of the 2011 Chevy Volt! If this sort of thing represents Audi's response to green concerns, I'd rank it somewhere between a C-minus engineering effort and an upraised middle finger.

  • Lorenzo They were willing to go against their customers' preferences to satisfy government, but now that they see it doesn't pencil out, they change their tune. Now is the time to tell 'em what we really want.
  • Tassos Generally I prefer that exploited labor remain domestic like in the service and trade industries. Given the complex and global integration of supply chains and materials sourcing I accept that most manufacturing must be managed by foreign 'kapos'.
  • Lorenzo 1 million barrels is 42 million gallons. The country uses 368 million gallons a DAY. The reserve was set aside after Hurricane Sandy caused a gasoline shortage for emergency vehicles. The hurricane season starts on June 1 and is predicted to be active. Nice going.
  • Chuck Norton Toolguy- I have. It's hard on the knees...
  • EBFlex Welp the corpse is at it again. They think they can buy votes by selling off from the SPR. The best thing they could do to get votes is close the border and start deporting people. That would guarantee them a win in November. As of right now though, they are not doing that and Trump is rising in the polls every day.