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Audi A4 gets updated for the 2020 model year with fresh look, new tech

The Audi A4, S4, and A4 Allroad have all been updated for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has sold more A4s than any other sedan in their history. It's consistently one of the highest rated midsize cars sold in the U.S. For the 2020 model year, the German automaker has given the entire A4 lineup, including the A4 sedan, A4 Allroad, and S4, a serious mid-cycle refresh.

On the outside, the A4 has received styling updates that give it a new look that is more in line with the rest of the modern Audi lineup. Its Singleframe grille is broader and flatter while the air intakes below the headlamps have been made larger and angled inward.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4 has a refined exterior and a host of tech upgrades inside.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

It's easy to follow the car's shoulder line from the corner of the LED headlamps at the edge of the hood across the rear door handle and to the taillights. The car's wheel arches are more pronounced and helps give the car a more athletic appearance. The car now features a broader rear side window and narrower C-pillar, giving the illusion that the cabin is longer.

The 2020 Audi A4 with all-wheel drive, dubbed the "Quattro", gets a standard S line exterior including a titanium black honeycomb structure in its Singleframe grille, aluminum silver matte inserts in the large front air inlets and tailpipe trim, and 18-inch five-double-spoke design wheels with all-season tires.

The wagon version fo the A4, the A4 Allroad, gets matte gray body cladding and a unique Q-design Singleframe grille with vertical chrome slats.

2020 Audi A4 The Audi A4's shoulder line runs from the headlamps to the taillamps.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The S4 is the sportiest looking model. It has a double-slat alu-optic Singleframe grille, alu-optic exterior side mirror housings, body-color door handles, S model specific quad exhaust outlets in chrome and a trunk lid lip spoiler. Buyers can opt for the black optic package with black exterior mirror housings and 19-inch five-V-spoke-star design wheels in titanium finish with summer tires.

The cabin of the A4 has gotten a significant tech upgrade including Audi's new MMI 3 infotainment system. Combined with a 10.1-inch touch screen it offers users cleaner design and better usability. It's also 10 times faster than the MMI 2 system.

Audi Connect Services is available and for 2020, it will include access to Verizon's 4G LTE Wi-Fi network when the buyer opts in for a plan.

Additional interior features include:

  • Standard three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles.
  • Standard power sunroof (panoramic sunroof on A4 allroad) adds light to the cabin.
  • Standard power rear child locks
  • Standard heated eight-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar for driver on A4 FWD models, standard front sport seats with four-way lumbar on A4 quattro models, and standard front S sport seats with power lumbar, pneumatic side bolsters, and massage function on S4 models.
  • Standard three-zone automatic climate control with rear display.
  • Standard ambient LED interior lighting or available multicolor LED lighting plus package.
  • Available S line interior package (A4 quattro sedan) enhances the vehicle's already sporty interior with a flat-bottom steering wheel with S line badge, leather and Alcantara® seats, brushed aluminum inlays, and stainless steel pedal caps.

Additional technology features include:

  • Available second-generation Audi virtual cockpit featuring a 12.3-inch display that offers HD resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The driver can choose between three viewing modes – classic, sport and dynamic. On S4 models, sport mode replaces classic mode as the default view, and an S Performance mode replaces dynamic mode, which brings the tachometer and speedometer to the front and center of the display and adds a boost gauge and lap timer function. The virtual cockpit helps to enhance the infotainment and navigating experience through the large Google Earth™ imagery or 3D city maps (requires Audi connect PRIME subscription) supported with 4G LTE (where available).
  • Available full-color head-up display projects relevant driving information in the driver's field of vision.
  • Available Audi phone box connects compatible smartphones with an external antenna and can wirelessly charge the phone.
  • Standard Audi smartphone interface provides access to Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto for compatible devices.
  • Available Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, which delivers nearly true to-life surround sound through 19 speakers, including a subwoofer and center speaker, and a 16-channel amplifier producing an output of 705 watts.

The A4 models still have the same engine lineup as they did for the 2019 model year.

Audi has increased the number of standard and available safety and driver assistance features in the A4 for the 2020 model year. They include:

  • In the case of emergency braking or maneuvers, standard Audi pre sense® basic can intervene to help prepare the vehicle for impact. This process includes beginning to close the side windows and panoramic sunroof, pre-tensioning the front safety belts.
  • Standard Audi pre sense® city uses a camera to monitor the area in front of the vehicle and provides visual and acoustic warnings to help alert the driver to potentially hazardous situations.
  • Available Audi side assist provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph.
  • Available Audi active lane assist helps to keep the driver within the driving lane through corrective steering intervention and adjustable wheel vibration, at speeds above 40 mph.
  • Available Rear cross traffic assist (as part of Audi side assist and parking system plus) supports the driver when reversing out of a perpendicular parking space. Indicator arrows in the MMI® display can help inform the driver of approaching vehicles, and in critical situations, a warning tone and brake jolt can be applied, prompting the driver to fully stop the vehicle.
  • Available Audi pre sense rear (as a part of Audi side assist) uses radar sensors in the rear bumper to help detect an impending rear-end collision, and can initiate preventative measures.
  • Available Adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam assist helps maintain set distance from the vehicle in front, including braking and accelerating as needed, between speeds of 0 to 40 mph.
  • Available top view camera system uses four wide-angle 360-degree cameras to record the entire area surrounding, projected on the MMI screen, allowing the driver to see "around" the vehicle to help with maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Available for the first time on A4 models, Park assist can assist the driver with parallel and perpendicular parking by taking control of the steering while the driver accelerates, shifts gears and brakes.

The 2020 Audi A4 starts at $37,400 and tops out around $47,000. The A4 Allroad starts at $44,600 and can be upgraded to the Prestige trim which runs $53, 650. The 2020 Audi S4 starts at $49,900 and reaches nearly $59,000 in its top trim level. Each new Audi has an additional $995 destination change.

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The Nissan Re-Leaf is designed to help in disaster zones.

Photo courtesy of Nissan

When you need disaster relief, this Nissan Leaf is there for you, at least in theory. The Nissan Re-Leaf, an electric emergency response vehicle concept vehicle, takes the idea of portable electricity to a new level.

The Re-Leaf isn't just all-show. It's a working prototype that is designed to serve as a mobile power supply that can be used following natural disasters or extreme weather events. The Leaf was the world's first mass-market electric vehicle when it debuted a decade ago.

Natural disasters are the biggest cause of power outages. A 2019 World Bank report found natural shocks and climate change caused 37 percent of outages in Europe between 2000 and 2017, and 44 percent of outages in the US over the same period.

Nissan Re-Leaf

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Usually, when a disaster hits, the time for electricity supply to be restored is typically 24-48 hours if the damage is not too extensive. During that time, electric vehicles can provide mobile emergency power.

The Re-Leaf has a few modifications to make it disaster-ready. That starts at the exterior of the vehicle where weatherproof plug sockets mounted directly to the exterior enable 110- to 230-volt devices to be powered by the car's lithium-ion battery.

It is designed to drive into disaster zones and provide a mobile power supply. The integrated energy management system can run medical, communications, lighting and other life-supporting equipment.

The cars can also act as mobile storage batteries to supply homes with electricity during non-emergency situations by using the LEAF's bi-directional charging ability, a standard feature of the model since its introduction in 2010. This means the LEAF can not only 'pull' power to recharge the high-capacity battery, but also 'push' it back to the grid through V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) technology, or directly to electronic devices through V2X (Vehicle-to-everything).

Acting as a portable power station, the latest generation Nissan LEAF e+ with a fully charged 62 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery can provide enough electricity to power the average UK household for around six days.

This concept may look futuristic but the future is already here. Nissan has used the Leaf to provide emergency power and transportation following natural disasters since 2011.

The Re-Leaf sports an amber color scheme, a nod to the ancient Greek word for amber – electron – the origin of the word 'electricity'. There's a roof-mounted LED light bar that flashes amber lights as well. Nissan has raised the car by 70 mm and given it a wider track and all-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels.

Inside, the rear seats have been removed and the floor levelled to provide storage for essential equipment. A custom bulk-head cage also separates the front seats from the cargo area.

A bespoke pull-out desk extends from the cargo area with a 32-inch LED screen and dedicated power supply creating an operational hub to run communications from and manage the recovery process.

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Acura is revealing its next-gen MDX slowly, first with this, the MDX Prototype.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The MDX is the best-selling Acura in the lineup. It's also America's best-selling luxury three-row SUV. But that's not good enough.

Acura is redesigning the MDX and as it prepares to enter a fourth generation, a prototype of the new SUV will be shown on October 14. This looks to follow the same pattern as the TLX launch, which saw a prototype revealed about six months before the true model debut, just after the PMC Edition was put on sale.

Acura says that the next-gen MDX will usher in " new levels of Acura design, performance, technology and craftsmanship, assuming the mantle as the brand's new flagship model". And that's a good thing. The brand revolution that started with the RDX and continued with the TLX looks to go even further in a bid to re-establish Acura on its premium model throne.

The ofirst MDX was the industry's first three-row SUV based on a unibody platform, a design that has since gone mainstream as crossovers and lifestyle SUVs overrun a vehicle type that started as rugged off-roaders and family trucksters. Since it's debut, the MDX has garnered praise from buyers and critics alike including winning the 2001 North American Truck of the Year and 2001 Motor Trend SUV of the Year awards.

Over the past two decades, cumulative sales have surpassed 1 million units, securing MDX's place as the best-selling Acura model, accounting for roughly one-third of the brand's U.S. sales since its launch.

"We're accelerating Acura's commitment to Precision Crafted Performance and this fourth-generation MDX is the most ambitious and consequential redesign of an Acura core model in our history," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura brand officer. "This all-new MDX will take us into new territory in terms of performance, prestige and emotional appeal."

The teaser image (above) and video (below) that were released today highlight the sharply sculpted beltline running the perimeter of the wider, lower and longer MDX, connecting the Jewel Eye LED headlights at the front to the Chicane LED taillights in the rear.

The MDX Prototype pulls heavily from the RDX and TLX with design nods to each. Still, it's unmistakably a three-row SUV. Though we don't know for sure what's under the hood, expect the MDX to have more a dynamic driving style when it debuts, following in the vein of the RDX and TLX redesigns.

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