I like Audi and I love the styling of the new A6, but I cannot imagine why they thought it was necessary to build a hybrid version of their midsize luxury sedan. Audi, if you recall, promised to bring a diesel variant of all their cars to this side of the pond in the coming years. Speaking for most enthusiasts (the type of buyers that Audi is likely to attract), I’d much rather have a clean, fuel efficient diesel than an expensive, heavy and needlessly complex hybrid.
Audi’s A6 Hybrid was designed for the U.S. market, which tells me they needed a stop-gap car to boost CAFE until their range of diesels could be EPA certified. The A6 Hybrid comes only in FWD flavor (strike 1), and uses Audi’s 2.0 liter TFSI four cylinder engine as a starting point. That’s a good enough motor for the TT or the A3, but moving a car with the A6’s mass takes more than 208 horsepower if you want to maintain a sporting image. Sure, the electric motor adds 45 horsepower and 155 ft lb of torque, but the A6 Hybrid also needs to overcome the weight of the motor, the batteries and the controller.
Audi says the A6 Hybrid can run on battery power alone up to 62 miles per hour. Getting there requires hard acceleration, since the batteries will be depleted from a full charge in 2.86 miles. On the plus side, the A6 Hybrid does return 38 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, so at least you’ll be saving money on the monthly fuel bill. Personally, I’d wait for the TDI versions to grace our shores. They’ll be simpler (and hence, less expensive) to maintain, they’ll have no battery packs to wear down and they’ll get comparable (or better) fuel economy. If my previous experience with VW/Audi TDI models is any indication, they’ll be plenty entertaining to drive as well.