First drive: Audi Q7 e-tron plugin hybrid

The large SUV marketplace is quickly becoming awash with plugin hybrid options for savvy buyers that want to reduce their tax bill without sacrificing performance. The latest, Audi’s refined new Q7 e-tron, is brimming with clever technology, plus it takes a different path to most others in the segment by pairing a diesel engine with the electric componentry. Is it a game-changer?

Audi Q7 e-tron PHEV (Image: Audi)

Audi Q7 e-tron PHEV (Image: Audi)

What’s this?

Audi’s latest stepping stone on its path to full range electrification. It’s called the Q7 e-tron and it’s a diesel-electric plugin hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) based on the company’s range-topping SUV. That’s right, diesel. Unlike all other hybrids in the segment (BMW X5, Lexus RX 450h and Porsche Cayenne), the Q7 stops at the black pump for fuel. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing 258hp and 600Nm. Boosting that is a 94kW electric motor, mounted within the casing of the eight-speed automatic gearbox, producing 350Nm of torque from zero rpm. It’s fed by a large 17.3kWh battery pack sitting above the rear axle, which can be recharged from an external source by various means and the total system outputs are 373hp and 700Nm. The electric-only range is quoted at just under 35 miles, while recharging takes as little as 2.5 hours from an industrial outlet. Official figures peg the Q7 e-tron at 166.2mpg and 46g/km, meaning zero annual road tax and large grants. When it arrives in the UK in 2016 the on-the-road price is expected to be about £65,000.

Read more: Car Enthusiast

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