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Audi have flicked the switch on electrification with the launch of four new plug-in hybrids.

The A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 models – which will come on stream from January – will have dual power while the dust covers are due to come off the new Q4 all-electric SUV next summer.

In fact, the German car giant plans to have 30 electrified models, 20 of them all-electric by 2025.

First the hybrid models which will be twinned to either a 2.0 litre or 3.0 litre petrol unit and 14Kw lithium-ion battery-powered motors with Quattro AWD as standard.

The A8 and Q7 are fitted with a 3.0 V6 TFSI engine, while the A7 Sportback and the Q5 have a 2.0 TFSI under the hood.

The four-cylinder variants have the performance of a hot hatch boasting 367bhp, while the six-cylinder churns out a face-peeling 456bhp – making the Audi plug-ins among the most powerful vehicles on the market.

Driving on electric-only you will cover more than 40 kilometers in the WLTP cycle for all models and recharging takes just 2.5 hours from a wall-mounted 7.4 Kw unit.

Experts at the launch in Munich this week also predicted that using public fast chargers will see the battery replenished in as little as 15 minutes.

The PHEV models also achieve astounding MPG with the Q5 claiming a return of 2.4 litres/100kms; A7 Sportback 2.1litres/100kms while the emissions are 53 and 48g/km respectively – making them really attractive to businesses and reduced BIK.

That super efficiency is partly down to two clever pieces of software called predictive efficiency assist (PEA and PBS) which scans the environment and regulates the drive and recuperation behaviour depending on the route.

Through the navigation the car calculates the most efficient powertrain strategy, as well as the current traffic situation along the route, known speed limits and gridlock blackspots to maximise EV drive.

We managed to get a brief test drive in the Q5 over a mixed route of motorway and rural roads around Munich and were left more than impressed.

On the Autobhan the mid sized SUV was no slouch and cruised comfortably at speeds of over 140kph in electric mode.

Over the 36km route, the vast majority of the journey took place in total silence as the hulking SUV wafted along and the petrol engine only kicked in when the accelerator was floored coming onto the Motorway. On arrival back the launch venue, we still had 4kms on the clock and an average consumption of 0.2L/100km which is pretty impressive.

The Q5 PHEV is available to order now and will cost €56,500 including government grants.

The A7 will follow in the new year as will PHEV versions of the A3,A4 and A6.

On the full Electric front the big news is the imminent launch of the stunning Q4 e-tron SUV which has the same floor panel as the current Q3 but the same space onboard as the larger Q5.

Built on the MEB platform – which will be used for all small and medium EVs in future – the Q4 will be powered by a 74Kw battery and will be offered in either rear or all wheel drive.

The family SUV will have a range of 400kms and will have similar charging times as its bigger e-tron siblings.

For those looking for a bit more performance Audi will also offer a supercar to match that of stablemate Porsche which has just launched the Taycan.

The super slick e-tron GT will be powered by a 100Kw battery pack, have a 0-100kph in under 3 seconds and a range in excess of 500kms.

A small group of journalists were gifted a private viewing of the concept vehicle  and it looks staggering.

Due in Irish showrooms at the end of 2022, the design is a heady mix of RS5 and R8 with massive haunches in the rear, squat stance and huge rims.

I for one am still buzzing (excuse the pun) at the thoughts of driving one.

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