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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Volkswagen has chosen a name for its new SUV.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The forthcoming new Volkswagen SUV will be called the Taos after the town in New Mexico. The name was chosen to specifically appeal to North American customers, who are the target market for the SUV, which Will slot below the Tiguan in the VW lineup.

“We're thrilled to announce the name for the newest member of the Volkswagen family," said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President for Product Marketing and Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "It was important to choose a name that really embodied the nature of the car and the town of Taos, New Mexico was a perfect fit. It's a small city that offers big things—from outdoor adventure to arts and design and great cuisine."

Taos New Mexico Taos, New Mexico is the namesake for a forthcoming Volkswagen model.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"We are excited that Volkswagen has named their sport utility vehicle after the town of Taos," said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone. "It's a great opportunity for our community to share its rich history and culture alongside Volkswagen with its unique and rich history and culture."

Taos, New Mexico is a thriving small town of 6,000 people. It has a 400-year history and a 1,000-year-old Native American community just a few miles from the center fo town. Artists and skiers flock to the city, which is noted for its stunning landscapes.

Incidentally, Taos was also home to John Muir, an engineer turned mechanic, and author of "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot." First published in 1969, and illustrated by local artist Peter Aschwanden, this counter-culture guide to Volkswagen repairs quickly developed a popular following. The book, started in Muir's Taos shop, has helped keep countless VW models running, from Beetles and Buses to Type 3 and Type 4 models.

Volkswagen promises that the new Taos “will offer great value, excellent fuel economy, and great packaging, as well as advanced infotainment and driver-assistance features”.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos will be revealed on October 13.

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The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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