Audi Shows 2012 A6 Hybrid, Promising 30-Plus MPG

In early December, Audi said that it would add an Audi A6 Hybrid sedan to its existing hybrid plans—which include the Audi Q5 Hybrid crossover and a hybridized Audi A8 sedan in the works. While making or breaking an appearance at a major auto show is no proof of future plans, the Audi A6 full-size sedan hybrid showed signs of life this week when it was unveiled alongside the new mainstream A6 at the 2011 Detroit auto show.

Seeing hybrid technology spread further into the luxury market is certainly welcome, especially with Audi’s sharp styling—the redesigned A6 today won the prestigious EyesOn Design award at the Detroit auto show. But to have any impact Audi needs to actually bring it to market with respectable production numbers. Otherwise, like other luxury hybrid models from German automakers, it’s an almost imperceptible nod toward to gas-electric technology.

The Audi Q5 Hybrid luxury crossover, long reported to be the brand’s first hybrid, was to have its U.S. debut at the recent 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, but never showed up. (By the way, the Q5 Hybrid is now scheduled for unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March.)

Timing is up in the air. We’ve seen reports of the A6 Hybrid coming in early 2011, but that’s not going to happen. According to an Audi press release, the gas and diesel versions won’t reach U.S. showrooms until fall 2010—and considering the A6 Hybrid’s place behind the gas-electric Q5 in the timetable, we might not see the 2012 A6 Hybrid until calendar year 2012.

A Big Jump in Efficiency

Audi says the A6 Hybrid will deliver estimated combined fuel economy of 38 miles to the gallon, on the European cycle—which might translate to low 30s in the United States. The 2011 gas-powered A6 with a 3.2-liter V6 engine, delivering 265 horsepower, has a combined fuel efficiency rating of 25 mpg.

Audi uses a slogan that many hybrid-producing carmakers are tossing around: The Audi A6 hybrid provides the power of a V6, combined with the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder engine. The Audi A6’s 2.0-liter engine and electric motor combine via an 8-speed automatic transmission to produce 245 horsepower. The A6 Hybrid accelerates to 60 in 7.3 seconds, with a top speed of 148 mph.

The company loves to say that its Audi and Porsche hybrids are capable of traveling at 62 mph purely on electricity—a fairly useless metric in real-world total efficiency.

The A6 hybrid also features unique instrumentation to indicate whether the system is charging or discharging its lithium ion battery. And like the mainstream A6 models, Audi will incorporate the latest-generation infotainment gear, with Bang & Olufsen sound and Google Maps–based displays, as a centerpiece of the A6’s striking interior.

Hybrids Trickle, Diesels Flow

Volkswagen (and its luxury brands, Audi and Porsche) historically have dissed hybrids, championed diesel, and either reneged on gas-electric promises—or barely trickled out models like the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid’s 344 units in 2010.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that Audi plans to double its U.S. diesel offerings to attract American luxury buyers. Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said diesel will eventually make up a third of the A6 and A8’s U.S. sales.


  • Shines

    Cool looking car. If only they were less unreliable.
    I couldn’t afford one anyway…

  • Dom

    Shines said: “Cool looking car. If only they were less unreliable.”

    Please. That comment is so last decade… and I’m talking about maybe early 2000′s when VW etc has having a lot of issues. You drive a Ford right? I could say the same thing… and it would probably be true… ten years ago…

    I agree with you on your second comment… I couldn’t afford one either!

  • Shines

    Well, I really didn’t want to get into a serious discussion about the relative reliability of Audis but I am a Consumer Reports fan. I drive a 2001 Toyota Camry.
    Consumer Reports lists Audis at the bottom of the list of automobile reliability along with Cadillac and Chrysler…
    In fact if my choice were between a Buick or a similar Audi for long term reliability I’d go with the Buick. Anyway, sorry Audi but there are better luxury car choices – if longer term reliability is important. Still many luxury car buyers are not that concerned as they will trade in their cars every couple of years to get the latest and greatest with the most new features.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s quite an achievement to be: – in the bottom 1/3 of all automakers in J D Power’s latest Dependability survey; and, – ranked second to last in CR’s reliability score.
    Three quarters of Audi’s models are listed by CR as less reliable than average.
    Furthermore, one model of A6 is named, together with Jaguar’s (infamous) XF, as the least reliable vehicles in the survey.
    Ouch!

  • Dom

    Consumer Reports eh? Now there’s an argument we don’t want to get into!

  • Shines

    Right Consumer Reports which asks the actual owners via an annual survey about their cars and repair costs. Maybe Audi and Caddy owners don’t think it’s any big deal to visit service and pay $300 extra because the turn signal is not working or because the window actuator needs to be replaced or the LED lights aren’t working left front.
    The problem is when you compare that to Toyota and Honda owner survey results – they have virtually no problems with their cars…

  • Anonymous

    In the U.K., “the Audi A5 was rated the new car most likely to go wrong, scoring just 75.8 per cent for reliability, putting it bottom of the 121 models reviewed. Owners of the coupe reported significant problems with its electrics.”

  • Anonymous

    The Porsche Audi system has serious problems The hybrid system on my 2011 model Hybrid Cayenne has failed on 3 occasions….dealer has been unable to fix the issues….

    The car has been a complete disaster and abysmal service Prom the Porsche GB dealer

    Click on the link below

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReY4s6dczlM

  • pickupdoctor

    While VW has improved their reliability AUDI has been getting worse so it seems. I hope VW can make same improvements to AUDI that it made with VW.

    Consumer Reports don’t lie, and I definitely would not want to spend 40k on a car that will cost me another 10k or more in repairs.

  • Joe Jacobs

    Audi, not reliable? Just bought my fourth Audi. First A4 purchased back in the 1990′s.
    Never had a problem with any of the models (A4 & A6). Never been stranded on the side of the road.
    People write these comments and don’t even own these cars! I know for a fact.
    Maybe they heard a horror story about a certain car back in the day breaking down. Any car can break down if not driven correctly.
    Audi makes a beautiful car inside and out. Extremely reliable to say the least!!
    I jumped in my car and drove from New York to California, just had to put in gas.
    Oh yeah, I had to put in new oil. These cars are made to last.

  • downtowncj

    i agree if you dont own one then keep quit i was in a horrible accident with a tree i was able to step out of the car get back in and drive it with a broken oil pan (so no oil) home 1 1/2 miles and park in the driveway with no injuries. take that up the tailpipe for your consumer reports handles like a dream at speeds 90+ they have solid engines yea they get elec. problems but who doesn’t. look at Breaks Many Ways opps! i mean bmw those cars fall apart after 50k or 60k. i work on cars for a living i work on everything i hate working on merz bmw jag dodge ford. i hate honda cuz they dont ever cost a whole lot to fixalot of the engines you see being pulled out and resold for audie’s are 250k to 300k then they need a rebuild i got a BRAND NEW short block engine from audi 98 for a thousand dollars out the door!

  • PriusLover

    Promising 30-Plus MPG?? My Toyota Corolla already gives me almost 40 MG. So, why should I ever by a hybrid that cost several thousand more dollars to get lower mileage?

  • Marcin

    I agree with downtowncj, Audi is a great car, but they are designed little different, first off all they need proper maintenance I own 05 A6 with sport suspension with 75000 miles on it. Problems were there, trunk latch $140 with trouble shooting and replacement at the dealer, suspension bushings… and they told me once time that there is a recall for 5th coil, replaced for free. At the dealership if I have to go, I have cable television, nice shop with free coffee and snacks and of course a free loaner car. Ok I was getting little of topic, but my point is this car is rock solid at the highway speeds drives like a dream, looks inside and out like a new car, because there was only one small change in the styling so far since 2005. I also own Nissan Maxima 1999 its also a good car but you just can’t compare these two. I’m looking to jump right into the 2012 model, just remember this car needs special care, like a special power steering fluid that you can only get at the dealership or online. I guarantee that whoever gets this car will enjoy driving it every time period.

  • jimox

    Just to add my 2 cents. Currently on my 2nd Audi (about to buy my third) and our first VW. The only thing I have ever had to spend money on is regular maintenance (after the free maintenance expired) and tires. Audi has hands down been the most reliable cars I have ever owned (which includes gm & ford) and I would only ever consider buying another brand if it had something that Audi did not offer (e.x. an electric).

  • aljones

    Audi and VW cars look great. I love the A5, and CC designs. But after dealing with a 2002 Passat 6 cylinder – GLX( bought new) which burned 1.5 – 2.0 quarts of oil every 1500 miles, and too many problems – including blowing a piston with only 48K miles – I think I’ll pass on Audi and VW. Why put up with an engine which burns oil – when the competition don’t. Don’t know if that problem has been eliminated or not. Part of the problem for me is that VW maintained that the oil consumption was within their standards for oil use to mileage ratio.

  • aljones

    Audi and VW cars look great. I love the A5, and CC designs. But after dealing with a 2002 Passat 6 cylinder – GLX( bought new) which burned 1.5 – 2.0 quarts of oil every 1500 miles, and too many problems – including blowing a piston with only 48K miles – I think I’ll pass on Audi and VW. Why put up with an engine which burns oil – when the competition don’t. Don’t know if that problem has been eliminated or not. Part of the problem for me is that VW maintained that the oil consumption was within their standards for oil use to mileage ratio.

  • ST

    I’ve got no harsh words about Audi!!!!
    My Avant wagon has 143K…With no major work done! It’s fast..handles like a dream and makes it past ANY 4×4 when it is snowing or icy.
    Would consider the A6 Hybrid…when my current Audi gets past 200K.

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