Audi has taken the wraps off a new plug-in hybrid concept based on its A6 luxury sedan at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

The new concept, grouped under the automaker’s e-tron label for electrified vehicles, is based on an extended wheelbase version of the latest generation A6.

More importantly, the concept’s advanced drivetrain is a preview of the new plug-in hybrid technology Audi plans to launch from 2014 onwards.

It will initially appear in a plug-in hybrid version of the A3 hatchback in 2014 followed by similar plug-in versions of the next-generation A4 sedan and Q7 SUV.

In the A6 L e-tron concept revealed today, the plug-in hybrid drivetrain consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 211 horsepower connected in parallel with an electric motor with a peak output rating of 95 horsepower. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is located in a collision-protected space at the rear of the vehicle.

In electric mode, the Audi A6 L e-tron concept can travel up to 50 miles at a constant speed of 37 mph. At any given moment, the hybrid control module chooses the best suited operating mode with the focus on driving range. This technology platform can be operated with only the internal combustion engine, only the electric drive, or in hybrid mode. In addition, it can recover energy during deceleration, or it can boost output power for strong acceleration by combining the two drives.

Inside the cabin, a ‘powermeter’ replaces the tachometer; its pointer indicates total drive system power on a scale of zero to 100 percent. Colored segments indicate the current operating state of the A6 L e-tron concept; an auxiliary instrument visualizes the charge state of the lithium-ion battery.

Despite being a ‘green’ vehicle, the A6 L e-tron concept is still a fully-loaded luxury vehicle complete with ventilation and massage functions for the seats, a Bose premium audio system, ambient lighting, safety aids such as active lane assist and night vision, satellite navigation and the touch-sensitive pad-based MMI interface.

Overall dimensions are a length of 16.47 feet, a width of 6.14 feet, a height of 4.79 feet and a wheelbase of 9.88 feet.

2012 Audi A6 L e-tron concept

2012 Audi A6 L e-tron concept