CES 2020

Meet the Audi AI:ME, a futuristic third place for autonomous vehicle occupants

Audi introduced the AI:ME concept car at CES 2020.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Starbucks used to be the go-to third space for people not wanting to go to work or be at home. Audi is taking that idea one step further with the debut of the AI:ME concept vehicle.

The model features futuristic technology like eye tracking to communicate with the car when using things like gesture control or tapping a screen become too taxing. Audi fantasizes that the vehicle's occupants could enjoy a "wellness experience" consisting of donning a pair of virtual reality goggles and "flying" over a mountain landscape.

Audi AI:ME

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi says that the concept car would adapt virtual content to the movement of the vehicle in real time allowing passengers to truly relax and get away from their hectic routine. So, basically the opposite of hopping on the train to get to work.

Technology in the car could also be used to order food and have it delivered to a vehicle's destination at the appropriate time using personal preferences and the vehicle's navigation data.

The concept car features the "Audi Intelligence Experience", which the automaker says makes the car think for itself, getting to know a user's habits. This technology is already integrated into the current generation Audi MMI system. In that form it saves preferred destinations; connects drivers with the date, time and current traffic situation; and it derives suggested routes from this data. In the future it could "conduct a precise analysis of the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance and temperature to the fragrance of the interior" according to a release.

There are currently no autonomous vehicles for sale today, despite the keywords used and hype generated in media.

The RS Q3 is Audi's most performance-focused variant of its subcompact SUV.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The spunky 400-horsepower Audi RS Q3 is not coming to the U.S. according to a report by CarBuzz. Mark Dahncke, Director, Communications, Audi of America, confirmed the news to the outlet.

The move isn't unprecedented. Though growing in popularity stateside, the automaker doesn't bring all of its sportiest variants to the U.S. market. Audi has only recently began opening the floodgates with the announcement that the U.S. will get the RS Q8, SQ7, and SQ8.

2021 Audi RS Q3 The car can pack a punch, but isn't slated to be sold in the U.S.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Unlike in Europe, there are none true sport versos of subcompact SUVs sold in the U.S. Dahncke pointed to a lack of demand for that style vehicle when talking with CarBuzz.

A big part of that argument is cost. Bringing a RS Q3 to the U.S. could make its MSRP around $55,000. That price tag is generally reserved for much larger SUVs in the land of the free whose residents are known for preferring larger vehicles than Europeans.

Here's what Americans are missing out on.

The RS Q3 has an inline 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine user the hood that powers its subcompact body. At its peak it reaches 354 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and comes standard with all-wheel-drive. The SUV can get to 62 mph from a standstill in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.

Audi has equipped the model with McPherson struts up front, a four-link rear suspension, and a dual-circuit brake system.

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.