There’s an old auto industry proverb that goes something like this: Any press release you see from a German automaker in English, multiply its length by 10 to get the feel for how it originally read in German before an English-speaking PR team got its hands on it. For a concept like the Audi A6 L e-tron that’s jam-packed with new technology, as introduced this week in Beijing, we were taken aback at the fact we received just three pages of information on it.
The Audi A6 L e-tron is notable primarily for its powertrain: the standard 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower that’s paired with a 95-horsepower electric motor. That, in turn, is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Together, the two powertrains can run on gas only, electricity only, or in hybrid mode. The car’s onboard computers can select which of the three to use.
Under pure electric mode, the e-tron uses its plug-in battery source to travel up to 49 miles without using gas at a steady speed of 37 mph. In traffic, we expect that to vary drastically. And in hybrid mode, the Audi A6 e-tron can move 1.8 miles without having to turn on its gas engine. Most of the time, however, the car’s engine and motor will be assisting one another to get better fuel economy. Audi also used the A6 e-tron to announce the hybrid’s weight savings, making significant use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum. Audi says from here on out, its future models will be lighter than the ones that have come before them.
Otherwise, the Audi A6 L e-tron is standard fare, save for a four-inch stretch between the wheels for rear leg space and e-tron-specific wheel and grille treatments. In China, luxury cars are often driven by chauffeurs—not owners—which makes the stretch a popular option overseas. Oh yeah, and its MMI touchpad can recognize 29,000 Chinese characters, which makes our 26 letters, 10 numbers, and a handful of punctuation seem a little underwhelming.
Those last two features will likely never reach our shores, but as Audi is already prepping a a few new hybrid and electric cars for mass consumption, we think an A6 hybrid is likely well within the realm of possibility.