2021 Audi A7 55 TFSIe is a high tech plug-in hybrid

Audi's latest plug-in hybrid has broken cover, with the 2021 A7 55 TFSIe promising the style we've come to associate with the A7-series, but the efficiency of a PHEV. Headed to the US this fall, the newest addition to the four-door coupe line-up pairs a 2.0-liter gas engine with a single electric motor.

The former is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI, with a turbocharger and a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission. In-between them is sandwiched an electric motor. Total system horsepower is 362 hp, and there's 369 lb-ft of torque.

The setup allows Audi to offer Quattro all-wheel drive as standard, using its Ultra system. Rather than Quattro as in pure EVs like the e-tron SUV, which have an electric motor for each axle, the A7 55 TFSIe uses a mechanical propshaft and clutch plates behind the transmission and in front of the rear differential. That way, Audi can release them when not necessary, for maximum efficiency.

Despite having a much smaller gas engine, the new A7 PHEV still does 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and thus comes close to the pace of the A7 V6 TFSI. What the V6 car can't do, however, is drive in fully electric mode. That's the default when the A7 TFSIe is started up, using power from a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion pack under the trunk.

Audi isn't saying exactly how far it'll go in EV mode on a full charge, promising EPA range and efficiency numbers closer to the PHEV's release. In Hybrid mode, it'll automatically switch the gas engine on and off as required, including using the navigation system's programmed route to maximize efficiency. For example, it'll be able to better match drivetrain settings to different speed limits, road types, and other conditions.

Finally, there'll be a Battery Hold mode, allowing the driver to manually lock-out pure EV driving in order to save battery levels. Even without that, however, Audi says that the car will always keep sufficient charge so as to deliver maximum repeatable acceleration.

As with the e-tron SUV, there'll be remote charging and battery status monitoring from the myAudi app. That'll also be used to precondition the cabin, such as turning on the HVAC settings to cool the A7 down using external power.

Outside, the S line exterior package is standard. That means new front and rear fascias, fender badges, and illuminated doorsills. Audi's HD Matrix-design LED headlamps are standard too, plus 20-inch Audi Sport 5-twin-arm wheels with all-season tires. Inside, there's four-zone automatic air conditioning, Audi virtual cockpit with PHEV-specific displays, and a 360-degree camera.

The new MIB 3 infotainment system is standard as well, as are heated front seats. Leather for all five seats is included; the entry-level A7 55 TFSIe Premium Plus trim has an optional Executive Package with ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, active-lane assist, and adaptive cruise assist. That package is standard in the A7 55 TFSIe Prestige, which also throws in a head-up display, power soft-closing doors, Pre conditioning plus, and dual-pane acoustic glass.

The Luxury Package – offered on the Prestige only – adds the extended leather option along with individual front contour seats with massage. Both trims can have the Black-optic package, with high-gloss black accents outside, 20-inch 5-twin-arm wheels in matte titanium, and 20mm lower sport suspension.

The 2021 Audi A7 55 TFSIe starts at $74,900 (plus destination) while the Prestige starts at $80,250. Both are eligible for up to a $6,712 federal tax credit, buyer depending.