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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 iX M60 will hit dealers' lots in June 2022.

BMW

BMW's electric vehicle catalog is growing rapidly as the automaker rolls out new electrified cars and SUVs. The latest is the iX M60, a red-hot five-seat SUV with sleek styling and a spectacular list of standard features. BMW announced the new SUV this week, along with pricing and release date details.

The iX M60 is BMW's first performance-oriented electric SUV, though BMW calls it a sports activity vehicle, or SAV. Its powertrain has been massaged to produce up to 610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. Maximum power delivery is limited to times when the vehicle's launch control is activated, but even the "normal" numbers are impressive: In regular driving situations, the iX puts down 532 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 3.6 seconds and the iX M60 can go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

2023 BMW iX M60 Though extremely sporty, BMW doesn't shy away from using loads of luxurious finishes and materials. BMW

The iX brings more than performance, as its charging capabilities are quite strong. Using AC power, the vehicle can charge from 0-100 percent in 10.25 hours on its fastest setting. Using its fastest DC power setting, the iX can charge from 10 to 80% in just 35 minutes.

Two electric motors power the SUV, which provide standard all-wheel drive. Dual-axle air suspension is standard, along with electronically-controlled shock absorbers. BMW says that the air suspension is controlled individually at each wheel, so the vehicle can adjust ride height in several ways to maintain stability and remain level in corners.

2023 BMW iX M60 The vehicle can run from 0-60 mph in under four seconds and features standard AWD.BMW

When it goes on sale in June, 2022, the 2023 BMW iX M60 will have a starting price of $106,095, which includes a $995 destination charge. That's a flagship price tag, but the SUV's got the performance and a flagship-level list of standard features. That six-figure dollar amount buys 21-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, AC fast charging, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, four-zone automatic climate controls, and more.

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The EQXX Concept features a crazy driving range.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is putting its century-plus of automotive experience into building electric cars, and the results are impressive. The EQS is an electric flagship with great range, and the automaker has unveiled several concepts to show its future plans. The Vision EQXX concept debuted today as an ultra-efficient luxury EV with astonishing range numbers.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept Mercedes focused on efficiency over power with the car. Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes' focus with the EQXX is efficiency over power, as it says the car is its most efficient it has ever made. The EQXX uses less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers (around 62 miles), which equates to 620 miles on a single charge. The battery was designed with tech and knowledge from Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, especially when it comes to size and weight. The EQXX's battery pack is 50 percent smaller by volume and 30 percent lighter than the pack in the EQS, which already featured astonishing efficiency.

The car's impressive range comes at the expense of horsepower, which in this case means just 201 ponies from the EQXX's electric drivetrain. Mercedes says that the system is capable of delivering up to 95 percent energy efficiency - an impressive figure for power delivery to the wheels. Extremely efficient gas powertrains only achieve around 30 percent efficiency and a human long-distance runner can hit around 50 percent.

Mercedes-Benz EQXX Concept The EQXX is impressively slippery, which improves its range.

The EQXX is a slippery car, too, and with a drag coefficient of just 0.17, the car cuts through the air with ease. The typical EV uses up to two-thirds of its battery capacity just to push through the air, so the EQXX's aerodynamics is a big part of its efficiency. The other big part is Mercedes' thermal management system, which uses shutters and cooling plates to maintain an ideal battery and electric drive unit temperature. The plates allow the EQXX to gain about 12 miles of range in its most aerodynamic mode.

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