Audi of America plans to launch its first diesel and hybrid vehicles this year. Both powerplants will be on the full-sized Q7 SUV, Automotive News reports. The SUV is likely to be the first of several hybrid models. Audi has not disclosed which other vehicles will get the parallel hybrid system, which can run on either a traditional gasoline engine or electric motor — or on both at the same time. Audi has been working on a hybrid engine with Volkswagen and Porsche. But Audi will be the first of the partners to launch a vehicle with the electric and gasoline engine. Porsche said a hybrid Cayenne SUV will be sold in the United States at the end of the decade. The Q7 will have a 3.6-liter, 280-hp gasoline fuel-injected engine mated to the electric engine. The hybrid system will use about 23 percent less fuel -- getting about 23 mpg -- than a Q7 running only on gasoline, said Bast (or 9.8 liters of fuel per 100 km). Audi says it cannot provide a mileage range. On the diesel side, Audi plans to bring in a turbodiesel Q7 with a 3.0-liter V-6 powerplant producing about 230 hp and about 400 pounds-feet of torque. It will be available at the end of 2008 in low volume. The diesel is expected to have a 600-mile range on one tank of gasoline.
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