Later this year, VW will turn loose a hybridized version of its Touareg SUV. The all-wheel-drive Touareg will have a 3.0-liter V6 supercharged engine tied to an 8-speed automatic transmission; pumping out the electrons will be a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery. Acceleration of zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds means the hybrid Touareg outruns its nonhybrid V6 and TDI stable mates, while getting 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway. We'll also see a hybrid Jetta join VW's lineup in 2012.
Lexus CT 200h
The public first laid eyes on Lexus' new dedicated hatchback hybrid at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The CT 200h is a compact luxury 5-door with the tech-friendly flair we expect from a Lexus. Hitting the market in early 2011, the 200h will carry a refreshingly sensible 1.8-liter 4-cylinder VVT-i engine, which will likely yield some impressive fuel economy when linked to its two electric motors and continuously variable transmission. While driving the CT 200h, you will have your choice of four modes: EV, Eco, Normal and Sport.
Porsche Panamera S Hybrid
Porsche built the world's first gas/electric hybrid more than a century ago, but hasn't been interested in the technology since. Now it has two in the works. The second "No Substitute" hybrid in this group is the Panamera, and it will go into production in 2011, joining the already hybridized Cayenne SUV. The Panamera carries the distinction of being Porsche's best-seller in the U.S., and the addition of an electric motor will likely add some satisfying performance to this sleek ride. But we won't know what to expect until we get our hands on it.
Audi Q5 and A8
You might not associate Audi with all of the hybrid hubbub, but the company is wading deep into the waters of both hybrid and electric propulsion. The fully electric and razor-sharp e-tron line of cars will enter production in 2012. But even before that, Audi's Q5 and A8 models will emerge in hybrid form, by late 2010 or early 2011, the company says. Audi is calling its A8 the "efficiency standard" and says it can travel up to 40 mph in electric-only mode, while averaging mileage in the high 30s.
Although Saturn is on its way to extinction, the plug-in drivetrain that GM designed for the Vue may live on in the luxury physique of the Cadillac XTS. If rumors are true, the XTS will replace the STS and DTS, and be powered by a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine and a sizable electric motor. Being a plug-in hybrid, the XTS would be capable of extended electric-only driving, with the gasoline engine standing by for support. This configuration would differ from GM's forthcoming Volt, which uses its gas engine only as a generator to charge the lithium-ion battery. The XTS could enter production as soon as 2012, but has not been officially green-lighted just yet.
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