LA Auto Show 2019

600-horsepower 2020 Audi RS Q8 debuts as solution to sluggish Q8

Audi has upped the horsepower, torque, and braking power in this new model compared to the 2020 Audi Q8.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Get the family where they're going in a hurry and in style with the new 2020 Audi RS Q8. The model is a supped up version of the Audi Q8, which is commonly knocked for its less than enthusiastic powertrain.

At the front of the new SUV is an octagonal Singleframe and the RS-specific radiator grille. Gloss black front air inlets and a matte aluminum blade up the design ante. The model has wide wheel arches, which boost its muscular appearance. An RS roof-edge spoiler sits at the top rear of the Audi.

2020 Audi RS Q8 rear back tailgate spoiler Audi has added a spoiler to the rear of the RS Q8.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Under its hood is a biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine thatacheives 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which should be enough to satisfy the Q8's critics. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It gets from zero to 62 mph in a quick 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 189.5 mph when equipped with the available RS ceramic brakes.

Audi only offers the RS Q8 with all-wheel drive. Torque vectoring technology gives each wheel the right amount of torque at the appropriate time, working to keep the SUV stable on the road.

2020 Audi RS Q8 front face lights grille logo badging A host of technology keeps the RS Q8 planted through corners.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The RS Q8 come equipped with an adaptive air suspension with controlled damping to make the ride comfortable on or off road. Electromechanical active roll stabilization keeps the SUV planted through corners. There's also variable ground clearance, allowing for more friendly navigation in tough terrain and a better aerodynamics at high speed.

2020 Audi RS Q8 interior black leather MMI touch screen virtual cockpit The interior of the RS Q8 is very similar to the Q8.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Each RS Q8 gives drivers the choice of seven drive modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, allroad, offroad and the individually configurable RS-specific modes RS1 and RS2, which can be activated directly via the "'RS-MODE'" button on the steering wheel. The modes change the SUV's engine and transmission management, power steering, the air suspension, all-wheel steering and engine sound.

The cabin of the RS Q8 is much like that of the Q8 and that's a good thing. Drivers will find special RS displays inside Audi's virtual cockpit and MMI display.

2020 Audi RS Q8 rear seat A three-seater bend is standard.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

A sliding rear three-seat bench is standard. The cargo area has up to 60.7 cubic feet of space, depending on seating configuration.

The first Audi RS Q8 is expected to arrive in the U.S. in 2020. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date. The Q8 starts around $69,000 and potential buyers should expect the RS variant to be priced considerably higher.

Audi has added a new entry level Q7 choice for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

When your consumer research tells you that you need a cheaper version of your three-row SUV in order to get more customers, you make a new base model. Meet the fresh 2020 Audi Q7 45. This move is on the heels of a model refresh for 2020 and the introduction of the SQ7 model.

Like its more powerful stablemates, the Q7 45 features a large, octagonal Singleframe grille. It also has standard LED headlights and taillights, as well as standard 19-inch five-arm design wheels wrapped in all-season tires. Audi will sell the model with available 20-inchers that wear similar shoes.

The new luxury SUV is less powerful than other Q7 models. It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain achieves 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds.

The model comes standard with all-wheel drive.

A tow package is available. Checking that option box makes the Q7 45 capable of twig up to 4,400 pounds.

Despite being a new entry level model, Audi has not downgraded the SUV's infotainment system, which features an intuitive dual-screen (10.6-inch upper ad 8.6-inch lower) infotainment and climate control system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard, as is Audi virtual cockpit.

Tri-zone automatic climate control is standard while quad-zone and a panoramic sunroof are available.

The model comes with a long list of standard and available safety technologies including adaptive cruise assist with traffic jam and turn assist and, Audi side assist with rear cross-traffic assist and vehicle exit warning, and top view camera system with virtual 360 surround view.

The 2020 Audi Q7 will now start at $54,800 for the Premium grade and $57,200 for the Premium Plus trim level. There is an additional $995 destination and delivery charge.

Actress Maisie Williams is perhaps best known for starring in "Game of Thrones".

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

While most of us associate "Let It Go" with an ear worm from the movie "Frozen," Audi is hoping that its new Super Bowl spot by the same name will prove just as memorable. The German automaker has tapped actor Maisie Williams to star in the commercial alongside its Audi E-Tron Sportback.

Williams, whose credits include "Game of Thrones", "Robot Chicken", and "Dr. Who," takes the wheel in the ad that kicks off the vehicle's global brand campaign. The musically-inspired 60-second commercial features Williams singing her own version of the song made famous by Idina Manzel.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback The commercial features Williams driving an Audi and signing.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The script for the ad plays out with Williams behind the wheel of the new electric SUV stuck in traffic. Audi says that the intersection she stops at "represents a crossroads of today's preconceptions and old notions of consumption, success, and status."

This is the audience's first clue that they're about to be lectured on the social and environmental responsibility of owning the SUV.

The ad continues with Williams choosing to reverse course and leave "it all" behind, as she breaks out in sold and drives "towards a more sustainable future." A musical isn't complete without a full cast singing effort so along the way fellow drivers, pedestrians, and others join in, "representing the brand's efforts to usher in a new era of sustainable mobility. The journey is a metaphor for how the decision to make more sustainable choices takes all of us doing our part."

Williams recorded the vocals for the commercial at the acclaimed Abbey Road Studios in London where the Beatles, Queen, and others have recorded.

Audi has been vocal about its sustainability efforts, leveraging the messaging to help sell its E-Tron line of vehicles, which have faltered out of the gate. The low sales numbers are unsurprising considering a recent Ford survey indicated that a good portion of the world has no interest in owning an electric vehicle. Daimler has recently forced to dispute claims that it was cutting back production of its Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV due to a forecasted lack of demand.