New Model News

500-horsepower Audi SQ7, SQ8 coming to the U.S. this spring

Audi has introduced sportier versions of their popular SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

It's safe to say that the Q7 and Q8 aren't the most invigorating models in the Audi lineup. The family haulers have proved themselves with premium interiors; high-tech comfort, convenience, and safety technology; and the type of drivability expected of the German brand. Now, they're getting a power upgrade as they prepare to land on U.S. shores.

The SQ7 is the first performance variant of the Audi Q7 three-row SUV. The SQ8 slots between the Audi Q8 and Audi RS Q8. The models are both tuned to be sportier than their Q7 and Q8 counterparts, delivering some much-needed fun behind the wheel.

2020 Audi SQ8 The Audi SQ8 isn't as powerful or sporty as the RS Q8, but it is a big step forward from the Q8.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2020 Audi SQ7 and 2020 SQ8 are both equipped with a 500-horspower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that can get the SUVs from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. It's quick off the line thanks to its 568 pound-feet of toque. Audi is pairing each V8 with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

All-wheel drive is standard. A sport differential is standard and is able to send up to 80 percent of the vehicles' power to the rear wheels, which is helpful in inclement driving conditions. Additional tech can turn the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels.

Active roll stabilization is also available.

The exterior of the 2020 SQ7 and SQ8 is adorned with differentiated with Alu-optic or Black-optic design elements, including air intake blades, side sill blades, standard silver mirror caps and quad exhaust outlets. SQ7 models wear an octagonal Singleframe grille and ride on standard 20- or available 21-inch wheel designs. The SQ8 features an Alu-optic grille surround and comes standard with 21- and has available 22-inch wheel designs.

The cabins of the model feature the usual design notes for Audi's mid-grade sport models. There's standard front S sport seats each with heating and ventilation and cross-stitched leather.

The SQ7 and SQ8 arrive at U.S. Audi dealer lots in the late spring, with final pricing and packaging to be announced closer to their on-sale dates.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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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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