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Sport and utility: Audi SQ7's V8 delivers 500-horsepower of family-hauling fun

The Audi SQ7 is a sporty take on the three-row SUV.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi's three-row family hauler is taking driving fun up a notch with the new 500-horsepower 2020 Audi SQ7. The model maintains much of what buyers want from their Q7 but amplifies the power and connected drive experience of the model, giving the BMW X7 M50i direct competition.

The German automaker has given the SQ7 a host of typical sport model upgrades to differentiate it from the typical Q7 including S-model bumpers with integrated front splitter, a platinum double-slat Singleframe grille, Alu-optic exterior side mirror housings, S-specific quad tailpipes, and a rear diffuser inlay.

2020 Audi SQ7 The SUV has many familiar features inside and out that link it to the traditional Q7.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

It rides on standard 21-inch V-spoke bi-color wheels with summer performance tires.

The available Black Optic package adds a black exterior kit with black Singleframe grille, black exterior mirror housings, black roof rails, and 21-inch bi-color wheels with summer performance tires.

The Q7 packs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine under its hood that delivers 500 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. That power plant is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and gets from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds - the same as the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 that also was revealed this week.

Along with its standard all-wheel drive, the model has an S-tuned adaptive air suspension, which electronically controls the vehicle's adaptive dampers, automatically regulating vehicle dynamics and enhancing ride quality. Adding the Sport Package to the model gives its active roll stabilization, all-wheel drive with a sport differential, and red brake calipers.

2020 Audi SQ7 The SUV is available with a top-view camera.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

With the available towing package, the SQ7 is capable of towing a maximum 7,700 lbs.

Drivers sit behind a three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters. There are steel doorsills with an illuminated S logo inside the cabin.

Audi has given the model front S sport seats that are lined with contrast-stitched Valcona leather. The seats are heated and feature Black, Rotor Gray, or Arras Red leather with a diamond cross-stitch pattern. Those seats also come standard with eight-way power with four-way power lumbar adjustment. The model is available with ventilated and messaging front seats. The SQ7 seats seven, just like the Q7.

2020 Audi SQ7 The SUV features S-sport badging on the interior and exterior.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The second-row features a 35/30/35 split tumble-folding design with fore/aft positioning and recline functionality. The third-row seats split 50-50 and have electronic folding functionality. There are five LATCH child seat connection points.

Audi's long list of standard and available features in the model includes a 10.1-inch upper display screen for infotainment functions and an 8.6-inch lower screen for climate control and comfort functionality, 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit screen, Wi-Fi hot spot, Amazon Music connectivity, full-color head up display, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a 19-speaker sound system, and a 23-speaker sound system.

Additionally, Audi offers the following standard and available driver assist technology: adaptive cruise control, a top-view camera, intersection assist with braking to prevent side impact collisions, turn assist, and traffic sign recognition.

2020 Audi SQ7 Diamond quilting comes standard on the model's seats.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2020 Audi SQ7 will be available in the Premium Plus trim for $84,800. The Prestige grade will start at $90,400. There is an additional $995 destination and delivery charge.

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The first all-electric Karma Automotive model is set to debut next year.

Photo courtesy of Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive is promising to debut its first all-electric car in 2021. To understand how we got here, it's important to look back a decade.

Fisker Automotive was founded by heralded car designer Henrik Fisker in 2007. For a brief moment in history, it produced the Fisker Karma, one of the world's first production luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The first Karma was delivered in 2011 but by 2014, the company was staring down liquidation.

That year, Fisker Automotive's Karma vehicle design, tooling, and manufacturing facility were purchased by Wanxiang Group, the largest China-based automotive components company by revenue. Henrik Fisker retried the Fisker trademarks and rights to the Fisker brand. He went on to launch Fisker Inc., a separate company that has big plans for all-electric vehicles, in 2016. Wanxiang Group renamed its vehicle company Karma Automotive.

And now here we are.

Karma Automotive has released an image of the GS as a teaser.

Karma Automotive says that the 2021 debut will be the first public step in a full line, which includes electrification options and leans on technological advancements to set itself apart. The GS Series model will be Karma's first-ever battery electric luxury sedan.

The new models will retain much of the same design as the Revero.

"We are pleased to announce that Karma will now offer our first all-electric vehicle next year as part of the GS series," said Dr. Lance Zhou, Karma's CEO. "Cost reductions in the BOM, streamlining our supply chain and standardized production methods also allowed for a new, more attainable pricing structure for the GS lineup allowing for higher market penetration, opening up the market to a larger group of entry level luxury buyers."

Though its looks, range, pricing, and options aren't yet public knowledge, customers can currently reserve their model at http://www.karmaautomotive.com/reserve. All reservations require a fully-refundable $100 deposit.

For years Chinese brands have been looking to break into the U.S. market without much success. Though there are a growing number of Karma dealerships in the U.S., sales of the vehicles are few and far between.

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This autumn, Nissan celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its Maxima flagship sedan with a milestone-marking model. The 2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition joins the company's stable and builds on the Maxima Platinum grade.

The Maxima is the longest continuous running Nissan nameplate in the U.S. It made its debut on American shores in 1981 as the 1982 Datsun Maxima, replacing the Datsun 810. The original Maxima had the engine of the 240Z and a 5-speed manual transmission.

2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Datsun brand's presence in North America was phased out just a few years later and for the 1985 model year, the Nissan Maxima emerged also sporting a new V6 engine and front-wheel drive. The 1988 model was the last to be offered in a wagon body style.

The third-generation Maxima was launched in 1989 with a 3.0-liter V6 that achieved 160 horsepower helping it keep up with the German cars of its time. By 1995 the model got larger and had a new engine, which resulted in a power boost.

Nissan's large car is now in its eighth generation. It debuted in 2016 sporting Nissan's fashionable V-motion grilled and a more aggressive design complete with a floating roof. The car received styling and safety updates for the 2020 model year.

A new Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition includes a unique two-tone Ruby Slate Gray Pearl exterior paint job with black roof, exclusive 19-inch gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels, black exterior finishers and trim badges, a 40th Anniversary badge, black exhaust finishers, red semi-aniline leather-appointed seating with 40th Anniversary embossing, red contrast interior stitching, Satin Dark Chrome interior faceted finishers, white speedometer and tachometer faces reminiscent of past Maxima models, and heated rear seats.

In addition to the 40th Anniversary Edition, the 2021 Maxima will be offered in SV, SR and Platinum grade levels. Every Maxima has a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood that is capable of achieving 300 horsepower. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Pricing and on-sale information will be revealed soon. The 2021 Nissan Maxima will arrive at dealership lots this autumn.

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