• Nov 9th 2010 at 4:32PM
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2011 Audi A8 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Automakers are always looking to add a tinge of green to their fleets, and Audi is reportedly ready to drop a few cylinders on its flagship sedan. The 2012 Audi A8 will be offered as a hybrid, with a four-cylinder gasoline engine being paired with an electric motor. The A8 Hybrid will likely be offered after Audi has launched a front-wheel drive six-cylinder diesel version, both of which should provide quite a different driving experience compared to the 372 horsepower 4.2-liter V8 currently available.

The move to a smaller cylinder count comes as automakers begin to prepare for tougher CAFE standards. Audi, not wanted to be left behind, sees that Mercedes-Benz and BMW are already moving to more efficient powertrains. Mercedes, who already launched its S400 Hybrid, is also adding a four-cylinder version of its flagship model – a 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel in the S250 CDI model. BMW has a different take on how it will produce more efficient luxury sedans. Rather than reducing the number of cylinders, BMW will add electric motors to its six and eight cylinder engines, so for the time being there are no plan to put a four-cylinder in the engine bay of a 7 Series.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      So are they "bringing" this stuff stateside to actually sell it?

      Or are they just cooking the books to appease CAFE standards?

      I think so long as what they offer meets the average mgp for CAFE theyre all good.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will be a good chauffeur driven car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh thats great. Because nothing says I care about the environment more than spending $100,000 on a car to save $500 a year in fuel.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Are people who buy $100k cars automatically relegated to buying gas guzzlers then?

        I'm not sure I follow your logic fully.
        I do get that the money saved is a pittance compared to the cost of the car. But, much like any other hybrid, you aren't buying it to save money(or shouldn't, because the math never works out).
        Instead, most buyers are buying them so that they use less fossil fuels overall than another similar option. The cost savings is a bonus, but reducing fossil fuel usage is the more important factor.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not for me, but as long as they keep the V8 then all the better! Some people care more about the luxury than the speed of these cars, so if some people are happy then sure!

      Plus it's better for the environment :)
        • 4 Years Ago

        I don't know why someone would get a 7 series with anything other than the inline-6. I mean, it's still a fast car with the inline-6 and you're not actually going to go real fast in a 7 series so why pay for the engine capacity twice over? in fuel cost and upfront cost?

        I can't wait for the day that Lexus LS350s (a hypothetical LS with a v6) hit the used market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        i would buy another A8, just for the luxury alone, it's technology and shape / look.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Are you kidding?

      Will this car even move under it's own weight with only a 4-cylinder engine?

      Maybe driving like a grandma, and always under 50mph... and with slow starts. But even thinking about passing will be out of the question.

      To get this car to do anything, it will require full throttle, and dumping gasoline into that engine... which defies any fuel efficiency. A healthy V6 that isn't completely overwhelmed would get better mileage if driven conservatively, just by not having to use the throttle as much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Check out audi.de
        They currently offer the low output supercharged 3.0 V6.
        So WHEN the 4.0 V8 comes out, the supercharged V6 can be upgraded to the highest output (S4)
        and then there is room for a 4 cylinder engine. Hey, by that time ZF may have their 9 speed auto ready.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Will this car even move under it's own weight with only a 4-cylinder engine?"

        I'm guessing you never drove the old BMW e38 725tds. It used an inline 6 diesel, and produced 140bhp. A little underpowered at times but worked just fine. It's biggest issue was price.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "A diesel is a whole different ball game. 140hp may have 300lb.ft. of torque, or something like that. Hybrid assistance here might help a bit... but that just means more weight, too."

        Power to weight ratio is key above all else - and to that end, the A8 can get away with a 4-cyl hybrid unit over its rivals. Don't forget you're talking about European engine technology coming into play here - nobody else in the world comes close.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 4 cilinder engine they plan on using has more torque through a wider rev range than the 3.5 V6 used in the S350 and than the old 3.2 V6 used in the old A8. Along with this it's nearly as powerfull as the S350 CDI and lighter. The S350 CDI is the best selling S-class in europe and still does 0-60 in 7.6 seconds. Which is faster than 70% of the cars on the road in Europe. So no, this configuration won't have any problem moving and selling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "To get this car to do anything, it will require full throttle, and dumping gasoline into that engine... which defies any fuel efficiency"

        There's no reason to believe this will have any less torque than the s400 hybrid, if anything it should have more and all will be available much sooner. I'm not certain why 350+ lb ft would have any issue moving 4,000lbs. If the S400 can make do with an inefficient V6 mated to a weak hybrid drive the A8 won't have issues with a torque biased forced induction motor mated to a decent hybrid drive system.
        • 4 Years Ago

        How does a 200hp engine in a 4400lb car have a better power to weight ratio than an economy car, like... an A3 with the same engine? The A3 weighs less than 3300lbs. 3219, actually. Just FYI, that is 27% less weight.

        Even a car with 27% less power than a 2.0T (200hp in the A3) would be 145hp.

        Most cars with less than 150hp, also weigh even less than 3200lbs.

        Just to make the point clearer... any car that has 1hp to move 22lbs of curb weight, is going to be SLOW. Whether it is a 4400lb barge with a too small engine, or a tin can under 3000lbs, with less horsepower than most modern 1000cc motorcycle engines.

        Under-powering a car is not an answer to efficiency. It just creates a slow car with less capabilities.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you cared to check performance figures before posting, you wouldn't be posting.
        • 4 Years Ago

        A diesel is a whole different ball game. 140hp may have 300lb.ft. of torque, or something like that.

        Hybrid assistance here might help a bit... but that just means more weight, too.

        And you still cannot escape the laws of physics. Energy out is always less than energy in... if the engine is generating the electricity, it still has a finite power output.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd agree with you somewhat except for the fact that this is going to be a hybrid. So its 4cyl engine will be assisted with an electric motor as well which will provide a significant torque boost.

        I'd be more worried about the S250CDI being underpowered than this hybrid A8. That 2.1L turbodiesel puts out 201hp, even the lesser-powered 2.0T's put out more power. The torque difference will be easily made up for by the electric motors as well.

        Then again, if you are buying the 4cyl hybrid or the 4cyl diesel, you shouldn't also be expecting superb 0-60 times either. Overall, I think you are overreacting just a bit.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ BoxerFanatic , the 4 cylinder could be a turbo engine , more efficient and have enough torque.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This version must be called the A4 Plus Size or A4 Super-Sized Edition.

      But seriously, certain cars should be exempt from this hybrid/electric powered craze. Come on, do we want an I4 Bentley Mulsanne? or a 4 cylinder Royce Phantom?

      If Audi or any other luxury motorcar company were serious about fuel economy then I say put masts and sails on their cars!

      Aye, matey!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they'll call it "A8(.5)"
      • 4 Years Ago
      So now it really WILL be a magnified A4. Complete with a gutless 4-cylinder, just like the A4.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Although the A8 is certainly much lighter than its competitors, I'm not sure an I4 is the way to go, because even in the light-for-its-class A8, it'll probably be just barely adequate, and that's certainly not good enough for the full-size luxury class. The only things that would change my mind are if it was a hybrid, a diesel, or actually a V6.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The title of the article is misleading. If you read the text you'll notice it's a 4 banger plus an electric motor. So that hopefully will help it from being too anemic, but it's personally not something i'd ever opt for on a sedan that starts at 75k. Not that i'm in the target demographic anyways, haha.
      • 4 Years Ago
      considering the current four banger puts out 200+ hp and 250+ lb ft of torque, and current vw hybrid systems provide around 50 hp and 100+ lb ft of torque.... 250hp and 350 lb ft in a boat that weighs the same as the mercedes... Sounds like it'll be fine to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        care to back that up with a link or a modicum of sense?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The "current 4 banger" as seen in audi A4's is a turbo 4. And they aren't going to use a turbo 4 with an electric motor too. So NO, it's not going to add up to 250hp and 350 tq as you're suggesting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ heavygear:

        I think this is probably pretty similar to the system we would see in the A8 Hybrid.


        quote - "power comes courtesy of a 208 horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine coupled to a 44 horsepower electric motor. All told, the set up is good for 354 pound-feet of torque." -

        Pretty much exactly what Zamafir speculated.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This will be interesting if its priced right that and if the MPG is high enough. Yes some will cry foul but most if not all owners of the 8 I've seen scare me with the age they are at driving that big of a car so I have a feeling over all horse power is not their main concern.
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