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 |  Dec 27 2011, 2:00 PM

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Audi‘s expansion plans are materializing to the tune of €13 billion by 2016, heralding growth that enthusiasts are sure to cheer for and that will provide new jobs for German students.

That €13 billion will mostly go towards new technology, but the company is also looking to add about 1,200 new specialists to their team in 2012. That number is in addition to the 3,500 new employees the company added this year. Audi plans to find the fresh blood by offering permanent contracts to students from vocational academies and StEP program (Study and Experience in Practice) students once they finish their training.

Despite bringing so many new hands on deck, the company plans to spend €10.5 billion on new hybrid and electric vehicles.

“To maintain our profitable growth, we will step up investment spending on new products,” said Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at Audi AG.

On the more immediate horizon, the automaker also confirmed new models for 2012: the A8 hybrid that uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder and the next generation A3. Along with that, the company also confirmed the 2013 A6 allroad Quattro and fully electric R8 e-Tron (pictured above).

GALLERY: Audi R8 e-Tron:

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 |  Aug 23 2011, 7:39 PM

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Audi has just released official details on a new hybrid version of its A8 luxury flagship sedan, powered by a 4-cylinder engine. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (what else?) is mated to an electric motor and makes a total of 245-hp with 345 lb-ft of torque while achieving an average fuel consumption of 36.75-mpg (on the European test cycle). Even more impressive is that the luxury sedan can travel up to 62-mph on the electric motor alone and can cover 1.86-miles at a speed of 37-mph with zero local emissions.

Separately, the 2.0L TFSI produces 211-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor puts out 54-hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. Combined, this helps power the A8 hybrid to a 0-62 mph time of 7.7 seconds – a reasonable though hardly impressive time. Three driving modes are available to the A8 hybrid driver, an EV mode that gives priority to the electric drive, a “D” mode that efficiently controls both the electric and gas engine and an “S” mode can be combined with the tiptronic gate to provide a sporty driving experience.

On the outside, the hybrid version sports subtle differences than its gas-only counterpart. The 10-spoke wheels are unique and come in an 18-inch sizing as standard, with a 19-inch upgrade available as an option. Hybrid badges adorn the body while Arctic Silver is an exclusive paint finish to the hybrid model. Standard to the model are metallic paint, three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights and a Bose sound system.

No pricing was announced for the A8 hybrid.

GALLERY: Audi A8 Hybrid

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 |  Jan 11 2010, 1:04 PM

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During a press conference that focused on Audi’s E-Tron electric concept, the German automaker didn’t give much time to hybrid technology – except to add on that hybrid versions of the Q5 and A8 are coming…. soon.

Audi continues to put the main focus on its electric car developments, while quietly following the same hybrid path every other automaker is on.

At the end of the E-Tron press conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler commented that Audi is skipping the mild-hybrid step that most automakers have gone through, launching straight into full-hybrids that are capable of operating on gasoline, electric power or a combination of both.

The Q5 Hybrid is expected later this year and Stadler commented that media drives will begin in the summer. As for an A8 hybrid, it will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March and be based on Audi’s all-new 2011 A8 platform, which launched a few months ago.

We’ll be sure to bring you news on Audi’s hybrid developments, inclding coverage from Geneva starting March 2nd.