By Sanjiv Sathiah
Sunday, Aug 21st, 2011 @ 7:04 am
 
Audi is said to be developing a plug-in hybrid as one of the transmission options for its next-generation A4 series currently under development and due 2014.

The rumored A4 hybrid is said to use an electric motor that, unlike some hybrid systems, is not mated with a traditional combustion engine, but will sit in the rear axel. With its plug-in ability, the car will be capable of operating in a full electric mode for a range of up to 37 miles.

The next-generation A4 will be built upon Volkswagen's global MBL Evo platform. Audi expects that the new platform will significantly reduce the weight of the next A4 -- the target is to shed 330 pounds. This will boost fuel economy among all of its planned variants, but should help to boost the effectiveness of its planned hybrid model, which is likely to be slightly heavier than its stable mates.

Seemingly incongruous with the reduced weight of the MBL Evo platform, will be an increase in the size of the new platform over the outgoing model. The aim is to match the increase in space that is also expected in its direct competitor, the next-generation BMW 3-series.

Audi will also offer conventional engine options in the next-generation A4. These will include familiar turbo-petrol units outputting horsepower similar to the current engines, as well as turbo diesel options ranging from 110kW through to a range-topping 221kW.