Audi to show China-only A6 hybrid, Prologue Allroad conceptPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 17 April 2015
AUDI will be showing off new technology at next week’s Shanghai Motor show — a plug-in hybrid A6 and its exciting Prologue Allroad Concept.
Audi is committed to electrifying its lineup and has already revealed plug-in versions of its A3 Sportback, Q7 and R8 models. Now the A6 is getting a plug-in option in the form of the A6 L e-tron (below).
The government in China is committed to increasing sales of electrified vehicles in an effort to reduce air pollution, and offers significant subsidies for the eco-friendly vehicles.
This has led automakers to increase their own efforts to launch more electrified vehicles in the Chinese market, many of which, like this new A6 L e-tron, won’t even be offered in other markets.
Audi first previewed the A6 L e-tron in concept form at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. The production version, like the concept, is based on the long-wheelbase A6 sold exclusively in China. The vehicle is a plug-in hybrid, which means it features both an internal combustion engine as well as an electric drive system, and both power sources can drive the car.
In the A6 L e-tron, you’ll find a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a disc-shaped electric motor integrated with the vehicle’s eight-speed automatic transmission. Combined output is 245 horsepower and 498Nm of torque, and drive is to the front wheels only.
According to Audi, the vehicle will return a fuel economy of close to 170km in mixed driving conditions and travel up to 870km with a full tank of gas and the battery fully charged. The battery is a lithium-ion unit with a 14.1-kWh rating—enough for an all-electric range of approximately 54km. Top speed in this mode is limited to 130km in order to maximise efficiency.
Inside the vehicle, display screens provide detailed information about the status of the drivetrain and the battery charge. The powermeter in the instrument cluster displays the total system output. The monitor for the MMI, meanwhile, visualizes the energy flows in the hybrid system. On the outside, the vehicle is recognisable by its unique 18-inch wheels, LEDs in the front bumper, “e-tron” badging and concealed exhaust pipe.
Sales of the Audi A6 L e-tron will commence in China in 2016.
The Prologue Allroad (below) has been designed as a soft-roader and hints at future developments for cars such as the A4 and A6 Allroad. It joins previous Prologue concepts like the original coupe, the autonomous version and the Avant wagon version.
Like all Audi Allroads, the design is based around an Avant body that’s modified to handle rough terrain. The raised ride height, prominent bumpers and flared wheel arches make the all-around talents of the Prologue Allroad abundantly clear at the very first glance. Aluminum accents, handsome 22-inch wheels and a “Dehua White” paint scheme remind us that the vehicle is also luxurious. Finally, an extension offset in gray runs along the wheel arches and the entire bottom edge of the raised body.
For the cabin, the Prologue Allroad is more like a luxurious, high-tech lounge than simply a mode of transport. Here, Audi is demonstrating a new display and operating concept. Across its full width, the front of the instrument panel is designed to be a display surface which integrates three touch displays—two for the driver and one for the front-seat passenger. The centre console tunnel houses an additional driver display for climate control system, infotainment and text input. When inactive, the display is in a flat retracted position; as soon as the car is started, it moves up at an angle.
An interesting element Audi has previewed in all of its Prologue concepts is a “butler” feature. This is an intelligent software program that identifies the passengers via their smartphones and adjusts the seats and climate control system according to their preferences. The system also makes suggestions for music and route planning according to the preferences.
The powertrain of the Prologue Allroad is the high-performance plug-in hybrid system first seen in the autonomous Prologue.
It features the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Peak output of the system in the Prologue Allroad has been raised to an impressive 724 horsepower and 898Nm of torque, with drive sent to all four wheels via a quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Audi claims the Prologue Allroad will rocket to 100km/h from rest in just 3.5 seconds, yet it’s capable of returning a fuel economy of 160 km per gallon. The lithium-ion battery mounted in the rear of the car has a capacity of 14.1 kWh for a purely electric range of just over 33 miles.