Update - 10th September 2020
Driving a hybrid is a far easier experience than I first imagined in that, with the Audi A7, there is no requirement to select different levels of energy recuperation under braking etc. It’s a simple get-in-and-go affair.
That said, for those that like to have some input, there are three key modes of operation to choose from. Hybrid mode is set automatically, and will aim to provide optimum efficiency by automatically selecting either electric, petrol or a combination of both; EV mode utilises battery power only – unless you kick-down hard on the accelerator or are driving over 88mph (which you obviously won’t be doing on UK roads!), in which case the 2.0 TFSI will engage, and last but not least, Battery Hold mode. This final option keeps the battery charge at its current level, allowing you to save your battery for town/city environments later in the journey to keep emissions down rather than on faster A-roads or motorways.
Hybrid mode is probably all you need, for most of my journeys at least, it takes the hassle out of having to select the right driving mode. The petrol engine kicks in when required, but the transition from EV to internal combustion power is almost imperceptible – apart from the not unpleasant rasp of the exhaust and the icon on the dash to show your using the ICE.
Some may prefer to play with different levels of braking and recuperation, but it’s an easier transition from one technology to another if there’s nothing new about the driving experience.
Update - 24th August 2020
They say that you can’t change a first impression, but there’s no need for Audi to worry on that account.
This A7 executive coupe hits the right notes from the off with a bold, muscular front end and capacious grille, flowing through a sleek and swooping roofline and running down to flared shoulders. It’s a beast.
And that positive first impression doesn’t change on the inside either with the typical quality finish to the cabin that Audi has become renowned for; tactile surfaces and clean lines abound with a quality that permeates the cabin.
And that’s without even getting to the very comfy looking leather and alcantara seats bearing Audi’s S-line logo!
13 August 2020
My new long-term test vehicle brings something different to the table. After myriad crossover/SUVs, I’ll be behind the wheel of an executive coupe for the next six months in the guise of Audi’s stylish A7 Sportback plug-in hybrid.
If you’re lucky enough to have this on your company car choice list, chances are you’re at senior exec level. That’s because this PHEV carries a price tag of £68,425 before any extras. Our test car also comes in Firmament Blue metallic (£685), Comfort & Sound pack (£1,895) and with delivery, half a tank of fuel, plates, Road Fund Licence and first registration fee bringing the total to £71,720.
But, for this money you get Audi’s 4-cylinder 2.0 TFSI petrol engine mated to a 14.1kWh Lithium-ion battery to produce a combined 367hp resulting in a 0-62 dash of 5.7 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph. But only 46g/km of emissions and an electric-only official range of up to 24 miles.
This car also comes packed with kit which we’ll explore in future reports. Two features I’m particularly interested in are the Predictive Efficiency Assist and the Predicted Operating Strategy. These two technologies are designed to ensure the correct driving mode for every situation (more details to follow).
Watch this space!