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imageid="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Enlarge ImageOne big happy (and electrified) family.

Audi My old English teacher, Mrs. Fraser, used to tell me that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Electrification strategies follow the same line of reasoning -- instead of jamming as many battery-electric vehicles into dealerships as fast as humanly possible, consumers appreciate approaching new technologies with baby steps.

In that sense, a plug-in hybrid is a great middle ground, offering some electric-only operation without constantly needing to be within range of a plug. Audi already has its all-electric E-Tron at dealerships, but if you're not yet ready to take the plunge, its 2020 plug-in hybrid lineup is a great introduction to electrons.

What's in the box?
Us Yankees will get three flavors of Audi PHEVs: The A7, A8 and Q5.

The Q5 and A7 share the same plug-in powertrain. It starts with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4, which combines with an integrated 143-horsepower electric motor to produce a net 367 hp and lsi-Aroma Air Diffuser 369 pound-feet of torque, although it's worth noting that the official SAE measurements for the US may differ slightly than the figures advertised in Europe. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The larger A8 that will also land Stateside needs just a little more get-up-and-go given its heftier presence. Thus, it ditches the four-pot in favor of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, boosting net output to 449 hp and 516 lb-ft. Its electric motor still lives between the engine and transmission, but the cog-swapper in this case is an eight-speed automatic, and the electric motor's output is slightly lower at 134 hp.

Both powertrains draw their electrons from a 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery located under the body. By European WLTP-cycle estimates, it should generate more than 25 miles of electric range. The EPA hasn't weighed in yet, but given its more conservative assessments, I think US range should fall around 21 or 22 miles, and perhaps a little lower for the bigger A8. Given the battery's relatively small dimensions, it doesn't leave some awkward lump in the cargo area, leaving the load floor nice and flat.

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