What is it?
It might come as something of a surprise, but if we had to pick a car that best demonstrates the virtues of electrification, this might be it.
Why? Well, judged solely on what a luxury limousine needs to deliver, namely supreme refinement and smoothness for the passenger, and low-running costs and low emissions for the owner, the new A8 60 TFSIe is not just simply on a par with its petrol and diesel equivalents, it’s better.
But then again, it should be. Both BMW and Mercedes have had plug-in versions of their respective limos on sale for the past couple of years, giving the engineers at Ingolstadt both something to aim for and also the opportunity to make use of the newest hybrid tech on the market.
That tech includes a 126bhp ‘permanently excited’ electric motor (like a Porsche Taycan) paired to a more conventional 335bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine. The total combined output of 443bhp is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, resulting in some pretty punchy performance. 0-62mph takes just 4.9 seconds (quicker than both the S560e and 745e) and given the run of a German Autobahn it will accelerate up to an electronically-limited 155mph.
However, with most 60 TFSIe’s destined to spend their lives ferrying high flying execs around crowded city centres, we suspect an all-electric range of 28.6 miles (compared to 25 for the Merc and 28-31 for the BMW) will be of more interest to buyers than outright performance.