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Audi Q8 55 and Q8 60 Competition gain TFSI e plug-in power

Audi has slotted a PHEV powertrain into its flagship Q8, making it the seventh PHEV to join the fleet. Available in two specifications, the Q8 TFSI e is more ostentatious than ever, bringing with it substantial power, a usable zero-emissions range, and also gargantuan SUV size.

It sometimes feels like Groundhog Day, with new electrified SUVs coming along with more regularity than London buses. Audi's Q8 is the latest from the brand and by far the largest to get the PHEV treatment. It's also among the most expensive, coming in at a similar price to a well-spec'd e-tron, which would be our choice if environmental credentials are an actual concern...

But given that most buyers of the Q8 will likely be using it as a low emissions-zone friendly way of getting to work, it does at least offer some EV capability.

Powertrain

Whilst Audi states that the Q8 TFSI e “goes to even greater lengths to provide a superlative driving experience as environmentally sensitively as possible”, there's no escaping the fact that in both 55 and 60 Competition trim, there's a whopping 3.0-litre, turbocharged V6 under the bonnet.

This is good for 335bhp and 332lb-ft of torque on its own, but is combined with a 134bhp permanently excited synchronous electric motor which is integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox housing. Power is sent to all four wheels, with a typical split being a 40/60 front and rear.

Electricity is stored by a 17.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack and liquid-cooled like other Audi units for better performance and thermal stability during charging and discharging. It also increases efficiency by feeding spare heat – for example – into the cabin's climate control when required. Adding another efficiency boost is regenerative braking which at its highest level can claim back up to 80kW and decelerate the car at 0.3g. The battery will charge in around two-and-a-half hours from a 7.4kW wallbox.

There are two power outputs available in the Q8. Coming in with 376bhp and 442.5lb-ft is the Audi Q8 55 TFSI e. It will hit 62mph in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 149mph, yet on the WLTP cycle can achieve up to 100mpg and 65g/km of CO2.

The Audi Q8 Competition 60 TFSI e has an extra dose of oomph thanks to 456bhp and 516lb-ft, enabling it to crack 62mph in 5.4 seconds and hit the same 149mph top speed. Efficiency is slightly dented with an official 97mpg and 66g/km though most owners, in real life, will neither get near these figures.

Technology and features

You're not going to feel like you're missing out when it comes to the Q8. It's the top of the 'Q' range is far from cheap and as such comes with a huge level of kit as standard.

Among the standard equipment is Valcona leather interior, HD Matrix LED lights and adaptive air suspension. There are two high-resolution touchscreens with haptic feedback, making interacting with it that bit easier. Audi Connect is built-in which has an extensive range of services including navigation incorporating traffic and other local information and smartphone connectivity, with the car fully Wi-Fi hotspot enabled. The Audi Phone Box provides wireless charging, whilst drivers get the full Audi Virtual Cockpit experience with a 12.3 inch display behind the steering wheel.

In the Competition 60 TFSI e in Vorsprung spec, there's an even greater level of luxury. Soft-close doors allow entry into a cabin with ventilated sports seats complete with massage function, plus Alcantara headlining and lashings of leather. A Bang & Olufsen audio system makes things sound good, whilst a head-up display is also included.

Price and availability

The Audi Q8 TFSI e is available from this month. For the Q8 55 TFSI e you're looking at £73,860, whilst the Q8 Competition 60 TFSI e will set you back £85,760.

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