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2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid kicks of the electrified future of the trident brand

The 2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is the company's first electrified vehicle.

Photo courtesy of Maserati

Maserati sparked one, but it wasn't as big a light as many thought it would be. The redesigned 2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid is tougher looking and more fuel efficient than its traditionally powertrained predecessor thanks to a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

The Modena-based manufacturer sees the Ghibli Hybrid as a jumping off point for the new version of the brand - one where electrification and performance take center stage. Call it the Italian version of Akio Toyoda's famous "no boring cars" statement.

To mark the occasion of the new vehicle, Maserati has developed a new logo, complete with a blue color that signifies an electrified powertrain in a cars.

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Maserati

The Ghibli's newest iteration is still easily able to be identified as the model. At the front, the car's grille and bars have been redesigned to look like a running fork. It has more dominant creases on the hood and an aggressive pouncing-like stance but the backside strays even less from the mold though Maserati is quick to point out that it's completely restyled with a "boomerang-like profile inspired by the 3200 GT and the Alfieri concept car".

The car's hybrid technology was designed to improve fuel economy and performance. It includes the ability to regenerate energy through forward motion and braking, storing that energy in the car's battery. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 48 volt alternator and an electric supercharger, supported by a battery. It's the first vehicle in its segment to sport the technology.

The battery is located at the rear of the car, helping to improve weight distribution. The new powertrain weighs 80 kg less than a diesel-powered power plant.

With their powers combined, the car is able to achieve 330 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. It has a top speed of 158. mph and can move from zero to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds. Simply put, the Ghibli Hybrid is not a lightening rod, but it appears to be sufficiently powered.

The car also comes with the brand's new Maserati Connect program, which appears, on paper, to be similar to Hyundai Blue Link and other connected car technologies. The Ghibli Hybrid's infotainment system is backed by Android Automotive technology. Maserati says that the system is "fully customizable to the driver's personal preferences". It's displayed on with an 8.4- or 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen, depending on model.

The Brand's first all-electric cars will be the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio, which are scheduled for 2021.

Pricing for the 2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid has not yet been announced.

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The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron mark the fourth and fifth EVs Audi is bringing to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi isn't just adding two new E-Tron models to its U.S. portfolio. It's expanding its SUV lineup. The 2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron at the latest electric vehicles from the automaker.

The two new Q4s have all the muscle proportions and signature styling that has been made a hallmark of the Audi SUV stable in the past few years. The Q4 Sportback features a coupe-like roof style, which traditionally allows for less second-row headroom and cargo space, but an increase in fuel economy. The Q4 e-tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28, and the Q4 Sportback e-tron gets to an even lower figure, with a drag coefficient of 0.26, which is good when considered against the competition.

There's matrix design headlights with customizable daytime running light signatures. The driver can switch between their choice of four lighting options to put their favorite face forward. At the rear, animated functionality illuminates the taillamp when a driver approaches or leaves the vehicle.

2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

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Audi is offering the Q4 models in four exterior color options with S line and black optic exterior elements as available add-ons.

The Q4 has similar dimensions to the Q5 inside and out, according to the automaker, but has the advantage of having a flatter floor due to the lack of transmission tunnel. Audi brags that this allows for generous legroom for rear-seat passengers.

The interior of the SUVs features recycled materials and a number of small item storage solutions including water bottle holders and a customizable cargo area load floor.

Audi has designed the new vehicles to have driver-oriented cockpits with the 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen facing the driver. There's a freshly designed flat-top and bottom steering wheel with capacitive hands-on detection. A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster sits in front of the driver.

Surround view cameras, a head up display that features augmented reality, and a Sonos premium sound system are available. Sonos is a new partnership for the automaker.

2022 Audi Q4 Sportback E-Tron

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

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Audi estimates that the car has an output of 201 horsepower in its base model. The line-topping Q5 50 E-Tron Quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 E-Tron Quattro will offer two electric motors and all-wheel drive, delivering a maximum 295 horsepower.

As with on-demand four- or all-wheel drive, the two-motor system only uses the front motor when high power or a strong grip is needed. The rear motor is permanently excited.

Three-stage braking regeneration is selectable via the car's steering wheel paddles. Separately, drivers can choose between four different drive modes: Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic, and Individual.

Each Q4 comes with a 77-kilowatt-hour battery (net; 82 kilowatt-hour gross). The battery can charge at up to 125 kilowatts on a fast-charger. Preliminary manufacturer's estimated range based on approximation of EPA test cycles for a full charge is approximately 250 miles on the Q4 40 E-Tron.

Adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, side and lane assist, automatic high beams, and traffic jam assist are offered on the vehicle.

Audi plans to have more fully electric models on sale in the U.S. than any other luxury brand by the end of 2021. The Q4 E-Tron is set to start at under $45,000. More pricing details are expected to be announced ahead of the car's on-sale date later this year.

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The Lexus Club provides a VIP event day experience.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Houston Dynamo Football Club and Lexus have partnered to create a new luxury fan experience at BBVA Stadium. A new multi-year agreement makes Lexus the Exclusive Luxury Automobile partner of Houston Dynamo FC, the Houston Dash, and BBVA Stadium.

Thea agreement includes an all-inclusive premium seating area inside BBVA Stadium, which will be called the Lexus Club. Guests will have access to an air conditioned space during games, a private menmbers-only bar, and all-inclusive food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the match.

"We are thrilled to welcome Lexus to our Club family and to introduce our fans to the new-look Lexus Lounge this season," said Club President John Walker. "The Lexus brand is synonymous with luxury and enjoyment, and we couldn't imagine a better partner to align with the premium experience at BBVA Stadium."

Lexus Club at BBVA Stadium

Photo courtesy of Lexus

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Lexus will also serve as the presenting sponsor of the Club's year-end awards celebration, an even formerly known as the Dynamo Celebration. Traditionally, this event honors the most outstanding players on the team.

The agreement also makes Lexus the entitlement sponsor of 'Keys to the Game,' a digital series that will be featured on the club's social media channels and run through the regular season.

Lexus drivers also benefit from the partnership. The first 75 Lexus owners to arrive at the Lexus Lot, located off of Texas Ave. at Bastrop St. on the north end of BBVA Stadium, will receive complimentary parking on Houston Dynamo FC game days; and Lexus drivers in that lot will receive free car washes during the match at select Dynamo matches.

Additionally, Lexus drivers will also receive an exclusive 10 percent discount at the adidas Dynamo Team Shop inside BBVA Stadium, simply by showing their Lexus key fob upon checkout on Dynamo and Dash match days.

The Lexus Club will host its first event this evening when the Houston Dynamo play the San Jose Earthquakes.

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