LA Auto Show 2019

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback continues automaker's EV-focused future

The new Audi E-Tron Sportback made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Audi has given the public a peek at an electric SUV, sports car, and a crossover, with promises of an all-electric-focused future on the tips of executives' tongues. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi took one step closer to its vision with the debut of the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback.

The car is a four-door crossover with fastback-like styling similar to what you'll find in the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Its dimensions are similar to the Audi E-Tron, but it sits lower and its roof slopes at a steeper angle. Exterior design cements the vehicle's positioning as an Audi and as an electric vehicle with many of the design hallmarks of the larger E-Tron SUV carried over into this new model.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback rear back silver gray grey The new model features a fastback style roofline.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The model is available in 13 different paint jobs including new plasma blue metallic, which is exclusive to the crossover.

E-Tron Sportback S Line models come standard with 20-inch wheels and a sport air suspension in a nod to the lineage of Audi's more performance-focused models. It also has a more heavily contoured bumper and air curtains, S Line badging, an illuminated aluminum door silver, rear diffuser, and specific graphics on the car's instrument cluster. A black styling package is available.

Audi will offer the model in two trim levels: 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback 50 Quattro and the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro. Both models will have all-wheel drive.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback black profile side The crossover is sleek but maintains the porportions of the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Only the E-Tron Sportback 55 Quattro will be sold in the U.S. That model has 413 lb-ft of torque that it gets from two electric motors, one attached to each axle. Using Sport mode, drivers can enjoy a brief burst of 489 pound-feet of torque to help get them off the line in a jiffy. Audi claims a zero to 62 mph time of 5.7 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 124 mph.

Audi has engineered the model to have 50:50 weight distribution, which is ideal for any vehicle. It rides on standard standard 255/55 R19 size tires. Up to 22-inch wheels are available.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback side rear profile fastback roofline roof Because of slight design differences, the model is more fuel efficient than the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The new crossover has a 277-mile range in European testing thanks to its 95 kWh battery, but EPA estimates are expected to lower that by about 60 in for U.S. customers. The SUV can be charged up to 80 percent in under an hour at a 150-kW fast-charging station.

Most of the car's interior is identical to the Audi E-Tron SUV. Some of the fancier technology, like matrix LED headlights and cameras instead of side mirrors won't be coming to the U.S. due to government regulation.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback interior wheel screens controls The E-Tron SUV and E-Tron Sportback have very similar interiors.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The car does have some nifty tech like dual screens in the center console that control infotainment and climate controls. The top screen is 12.1 inches and the lower is 8.6 inches. Audi virtual cockpit is standard and features a 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver.

Despite the car's fastback shape, headroom in the rear seats is diminished by on 20 mm in the new model compared to the E-Tron SUV.

The Audi e-tron Sportback can be ordered as of the end of November. It will arrive at European dealerships in the spring and reach the U.S. later.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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Ford dealerships will be adding Bronco showrooms to their portfolio in the coming year.

Photo courtesy of Ford via Automotive News

Reporting by Automotive News reveals that Ford is enabling its dealership network to opt-in to build Bronco-specific showrooms. The stores are designed to be near or connected to existing Ford dealer locations, but will feature the Bronco horse logo rather than the traditional Ford Blue Oval.

Ford currently has two Bronco models: Bronco and Bronco Sport. All this for two models? Not quite. Ford is reportedly working on a Bronco-based pickup truck. Could it be Ranger Raptor-like? We'll have to wait and see.

Renderings of Bronco storefronts feature those models and vintage versions of the beloved off-roader alongside 3,800 square feet of building space that includes an outdoor fire pit and room to display three vehicles. There's also a wall that showcases Bronco merchandise including some of the over 200 accessories Ford is promising will be available for Bronco models.

Ford Bronco standalone showroom renderings

Photo courtesy of Ford via Automotive News

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The overall aesthetic is very much in line with what you'll see at your local REI. There's back-painted ceiling lining, exposed concrete, a gray stone entryway, and wood accents throughout the modern structure as well as plenty of windows that show it all off.

Dealers are able to modify the design that Ford has come up with. One dealer, in Arizona, told Automotive News that he is planning to build out a 12,000-square-foot space but hasn't included a fire pit in the plans because of the location's desert climate.

If dealerships don't opt for a separate showroom, dealerships can choose from other Ford-backed options to display the Bronco that are more traditional in nature. Andrew Frick, the head of Ford sales in the U.S. said that there are three options: a standalone showroom, an expansion of existing showrooms or displays that can be added to a showroom. All the options are available and recommended, but not required, kind of like the Sasquatch Package on the Bronco itself.

"It's an announcement to the world we're back; the Bronco is back," Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Ariz., and chairman of Ford's national dealer council, told Automotive News. "It's such an iconic product that in an absolute way, we feel a Ford dealer is really adding almost an additional franchise."

Last month, Ford revealed that of its 190,000 reservations for either the two- or four-door Bronco, two-thirds of those have turned into firm orders. Deliveries of the redesigned Bronco are slated to begin in June. Early models are already making their way out onto the streets under the car of Ford employees.

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