Good strategic planning has helped to bring Audi’s electrification plans to bear. Between the start of 2017 and the end of 2018, the firm ushered in new-generation models of the A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q8, all based on the VW Group’s updated MLB-Evo model platform and all therefore ready for the batteries, electric motors and complicated electronic architectures necessary to make a PHEV work.
First shown at the Geneva motor show in 2019, the A6 TFSIe Quattro pairs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 141bhp electric motor, both sitting upstream of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and clutch-based Quattro Ultra intelligent four-wheel drive system. Two versions are offered: a 55 TFSIe with 362bhp and 369lb ft, and a 50 TFSIe with 295bhp and 332lb ft. The 55 TFSIe is tuned for more sporting tastes, claims Audi, while the 50 TFSIe has the more comfort-oriented positioning that you might consider Audi’s heartland territory.
While many rival PHEVs have drive batteries mounted under the cabin floor, both A6 PHEVs draw power from a lithium ion drive battery carried under the boot floor. At the car’s introduction in 2019, this battery pack had a total capacity of 14.1kWh and delivered an electric range of 25 miles. But in March 2021, Audi announced an updated battery pack with a total installed capacity of 17.9kWh, boosting the WLTP-verified electric range for the A6 to between 39 and 45 miles (depending on fitted equipment). While 25 miles of range was only an average showing for the original car, the updated version now bests many of its PHEV opponents by granting access to a sub-10% benefit-in-kind tax bracket.
Like most A6s, the TFSIe versions are suspended independently, via multi-link axles front and rear underneath steel coils and passive dampers. Plump for big-selling S Line trim and, among other equipment updates, you get lowered passive sport suspension, which cradles the car 10mm closer to the road surface. Typically, you have to scale the trim hierarchy all the way to a Vorsprung-spec car to get an A6 with adjustable air suspension and ‘dynamic’ active four-wheel steering. However, on the PHEV derivatives, neither of those systems is available.
Both A6 PHEVs do get a heat pump as standard, though, which should usefully boost their operating efficiency in cold weather, and both run with a haptic accelerator pedal that, it’s promised, makes the interaction of the petrol and electric halves of the powertrain more intuitive to manage.