German SUV Hybrids

Eleanor Hanson

For the 2011 model year, there are three new sport-utility vehicle (“SUV”) hybrid models being offered by German manufacturers. They are the Audi Q7 hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S hybrid, and Volkswagen Touareg hybrid. BMW currently offers a hybrid in its sleek X6 SUV model and Mercedes-Benz now offers one in its ML450 SUV model.

German automakers have not moved as quickly to introduce hybrids into the U.S. market as their Japanese and American counterparts, but now appear to be making up for lost time. Just a few years ago, German automakers scoffed at the idea of hybrid engines, preferring diesels. However, the hybrid’s success in the U.S. has compelled German manufacturers to compete and they have worked quickly to release new hybrid engines.

The new hybrid engine offered in the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Audi Q7, really takes this engine type to a whole new performance level. A 47 horsepower electric engine is mated to a supercharged 333 horsepower supercharged V-6 engine, which is also offered in the high performance Audi S4. The engine produces a whopping 427 pound-feet of torque but should get combined mileage of about 30 miles per gallon.

The ability to offer both diesel and hybrid engines will help European auto manufacturers to meet stringent 2016 U.S. fuel standards. By offering both engine types, these manufacturers can attract more potential buyers while offering more fuel-efficient engines. German auto manufacturers are also working to develop diesel-electric hybrid engines for even better fuel economy.

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