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.