While automakers pivot to move towards electric powertrains, plug-in hybrids remain a viable alternative for shoppers who want added value from the vehicle but who aren't quite ready to put all their eggs in the EV basket. The 2021 Audi A7 Hybrid is a brand new model from the German manufacturer aimed at this type of consumer. It's not quite as novel as the e-tron but it still brings a lot to the table. The turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine under the hood is augmented with a single electric motor, which draws power from a 14.1-kWh battery. Together, these systems develop a combined 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This allows the midsize sedan to hustle about with quite a bit of gusto, and it can travel for up to 26 miles on electrons alone. With its classic German styling, modern and upscale cabin, and a lot of standard features, the Audi A7 Hybrid sedan is well-positioned to go up against the BMW 5 Series Hybrid and Volvo S90 Hybrid.
While the A7 is in its second generation, the 2021 A7 Hybrid is a brand new addition to the lineup this year. However, it is largely identical to the standard A7 apart from its powertrain. The A7 Hybrid's engine gets assistance from a 14.1 kWh battery pack and an electric motor to give it impressive gas mileage and an all-electric range of 26 miles. Over the regular variant, the PHEV does deliver better acceleration and fuel economy, too, but is a little more expensive because of its complexity. Both feature similar specifications and features, but the 55 TFSI e powertrain that denotes the plug-in hybrid, is only available on the Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
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The A7 Hybrid sedan is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, which is paired with an electric motor and 14.1-kWh battery. The combined output of this setup is 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the quattro all-wheel drivetrain via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Like with most mainstream hybrids, the idea is to offer satisfactory performance while improving fuel economy, which is pretty good at 68 MPGe. The A7 Hybrid still has relatively good performance figures too, with a 0-60 mph sprint time of 5.7 seconds. The regular models are a little quicker at 5.2 seconds, but given all the electronic gadgetry adds around 440 pounds of curb weight to the hybrid, the sub-six-second sprint isn't too far off the mark. The A7 PHEV feels good from behind the wheel, with responsive throttle inputs and a smooth transmission. Charging the battery pack from depleted will take around two hours on a regular household outlet.
It's hard to find fault with the 2021 Audi A7 Hybrid. However, while the sportback styling might be appealing to the eye, it is not doing rear-seat passengers any favors. Another gripe is the price, but that's nothing new in the hybrid segment; costs have been going down in the US, at least. In terms of a safety rating, the NHTSA has not performed a review of the 2021 Audi A7 Hybrid, but the IIHS did look at the regular 4-door A7 and gave it a near perfect score as well as a Top Safety Pick+ award. Reliability is a little less certain, as the A7 suffered from three recalls in 2021. Whether or not these affected the hybrid variants is unclear.
Dark clouds aside, the Audi does a lot to recommend itself. It is a handsome car to look at, if somewhat reserved in styling, and the interior is just as impeccably designed. You'd be hard-pressed to find any low-grade materials in sight, and the sheer number of standard features would distract you even if you did. Add to this its performance credentials and very attractive mileage figures, and the German automaker has a feather in its cap for offering one of the best hybrid executive sedans on the market.
The price of the 2021 Audi A7 Hybrid sedan is naturally a bit above what you'd pay for the ICE model, but not by much. The Premium Plus is the first trim to offer the PHEV powertrain and it starts at $74,900. If value for money is what you're looking for, then you need not look any further. Since it is already a mid-tier trim, the Premium Plus has most of what you could possibly want from a luxury exec. However, we do suggest adding Audi side assist with pre sense rear for $500, just to round out the advanced safety suite. If money isn't really an issue, you could spoil yourself with the $2,750 Executive package, which adds quad-zone climate control and heated rear seats.
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