New Model News

Audi's second EV comes with 218-mile range, 4,000-pound towing capacity

The 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show and now it's ready to arrive on dealer lots.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi is bringing its second electric vehicle (EV), the 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback, to the U.S. this summer. The model is a slightly different take on the traditional E-Tron crossover, with a sloped, fastback-like roofline and more efficient powertrain.

The new two-row SUV is virtually the same as its sister E-Tron up front with most major changes coming halfway back. It drops off at the angled D-pillars for a rear that is in vogue with how other German automakers are designing their new SUVs these days.

U.S.-bound versions of the model have exterior trim components that are painted the same color as the SUV's body color – including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers, and exterior mirrors. It rides on standard 20-inch wheels and every E-Tron Sportback comes with an air suspension.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback Buyers can opt for the Black Optics package to give their model a little pizzaz.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Buyers can add on the Black Optics package, which offers black accentuations for the signature Singleframe grille, side windows, bumpers, and exterior mirror housings.

Each E-Tron Sportback is all-wheel drive. It has a 95 kWh battery that helps deliver 355 horsepower in the car's standard driving mode. Drivers who engage Boost mode have access to 402 horsepower, which moves the car from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

Drivers can regenerate power while coasting or braking, which contributes about 30 percent of the model's total 218-mile range. During most driving situations, the car relies solely on a rear electric motor, which improves efficiency. It is slated to get 76 MPGe in the city, 78 MPGe on the highway, which is 2 and 5 MPGe better, respectively, than the E-Tron.

The SUV can charge at 150 kilowatts, recovering 58 miles of range in just 10 minutes and 174 miles of range in 30 minutes. Audi says that 98 percent of all single-trip journeys in the U.S. are under 50 miles. When traveling beyond that and needed a charge, drivers can take advantage of the Electrify America nationwide charging network where owners receive 1,000 kWh of charging – the equivalent of approximately 2,500 miles of range – from Audi at no additional cost with purchase.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback This model features a fastback roofline.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The E-Tron Sportback has a towing capacity of up to 4,000 pounds when equipped with the available towing package.

The list of standard equipment in the cabin is competitive for the car's price point and includes standard heated and cooled front seats and an overhead camera view, which is handy for parking in tight spaces. Options include massaging front seats, and an improved suite of safety and driver assistance technology.

The design of the interior and technology is nearly identical to what is offered in the Audi E-Tron.

Audi will sell a celebratory limited edition E-Tron Sportback Launch Edition with its own lineup of features including an exclusive Plasma blue metallic paint and Dynamic orange brake calipers. Alu-optic trim will highlight design elements, including the unique S-line front and rear bumpers. The model also gets an exclusive interior in Monaco Gray Valcona leather seating surface with two-tone stitched dash and black headliner. It also comes with puddle lamps.

2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback The car's interior is similar to the one in the E-Tron SUV.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The 2020 Audi E-Tron Sportback has a starting price of $77,400, which is $2,600 more than the E-Tron.

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New sports sedan

2022 Infiniti Q50 gets more standard tech

The car sees new tech and interior features for 2022.

Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is an aging but still-stylish sedan that offers value and power, but it hasn't quite kept pace with the crop of more engaging premium European cars. However, it's still worth a look, and to press that point further, Infiniti has updated the car for 2022 with a healthy list of standard features.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Exterior styling has not changed for 2022.Infiniti

Headline updates for the 2022 Q50 are wireless Apple CarPlay and newly standard Bose Performance Series Audio. There's now leather for every trim, but in the ways that count, the car is the same as the one we saw last year, the year before, and so on.

That's not to say that the car is bad. After all, it still offers a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6 as standard and can be upgraded with a 400-horsepower version of the engine. And, despite its aging exterior styling, it's still a handsome car with smooth, sculpted bodywork. The seven-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive remain in place.

2022 Infiniti Q50 All-wheel drive is available for all models.Infiniti

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti Q50 starts at $43,125, which includes a $1,025 destination fee. The car gets standard wireless Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and Bose Performance Audio. All-wheel drive is available for a $2,000 upcharge.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose audio are standard.Infiniti

The mid-range Q50 Sensory starts at $48,825, and comes with 19-inch wheels, black open-pore wood interior accents, navigation, and an air purifier system. Stepping up to the top Q50 Red Sport 400 will run $56,975, and brings the more powerful V6 engine, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and Dynamic Digital Suspension, which adjusts damping settings depending on road conditions and driving style.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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