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SPIED: Audi A5 Sportback Facelift caught in the wild

It seems like the Audi A5 Sportback just made its official debut, especially in America where it seems so fresh. However, it’s actually approaching its mid-cycle facelift and Audi is currently working on it. In these new spy photos, we see the newly facelifted A5 Sportback doing some winter testing in the snow and it seems to have just enough done to enhance its already good looks. (We don’t own the photos but they can be seen here)

In these photos, the Audi A5 Sportback gets a slightly revised face and some new taillights. Up front, we can see that the actual size of the grille has shrunk quite a bit, possibly with a new, thicker trim surrounding it. The actual grille insert itself is also new, now sporting a hexagonal pattern similar to Audi Sport models, rather than the horizontal bars of the current car. It looks sportier this way. There’s also a slightly revised front fascia, with newer front air intakes and a new little front lip.

Out back, we can see that it’s sporting new taillights that are similar to those found on the brand-new Audi A6. So they’re the same OLED jobs that look rather handsome and are far more interesting than the ones on the current car.

Current Audi A5 Sportback for comparison

It’s also sporting new exhaust pipes at the rear but what’s interesting about them is the fact that they could indicate this car actually being an Audi S5. While they seem like two rectangular exhaust pipes, which would replace the dual circular pipes of the current car, there seems to be two actual exhausts in each of the rectangular tips. Considering all Audi ‘S’ cars have quad exhausts, is that what this car really is? That would also explain the sportier hexagonal grille inserts.

We don’t know for sure and it’s still likely to just be an Audi A5 Sportback but it is interesting to see the quad pipes in there. Thankfully, the refresh looks good either way and seems to improve just enough on an already good looking car.

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WORLD PREMIERE: Audi SQ5 TDI — Another Diesel Performer US Won’t Get

America never gets any of Germany’s fun diesel cars. Instead, we get boring things like the Audi A4 Allroad. All the while, Europe keeps getting more and more new diesel performance machines and we can’t help but be jealous. The latest is the Audi SQ5 TDI and it’s going to be the best model in the Q5 lineup.

To be honest, the Audi SQ5 TDI isn’t all that different from the standard SQ5 that’s been on sale worldwide for some time now. The major difference is its engine.

Rather than the current Audi SQ5’s 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 gasoline engine, the new SQ5 TDI uses a new 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine that has been thoroughly revised for performance duty. It also gets a lot of the same technology as the Audi SQ7 TDI’s 4.0 liter V8 diesel. So rather than just having one turbocharger for the turbo-diesel V6, it has an additional EPC (Electrically-Powered Compressor), which is essentially an electric turbocharger, to assist in delivering low-end boost.

Because the EPC is powered electrically, rather than driven by exhaust gases like a traditional turbocharger, there’s no turbo-lag from it. Therefor, it can deliver low-rpm boost and torque, thus eliminating the car’s turbo-lag and giving it better acceleration from both a dead stop and low-rpm cruising.

To power the EPC, the Audi SQ5 TDI has a 48-volt main electrical system that can help run both it and the mild-hybrid setup. That’s right, the Audi SQ5 TDI is also a MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle), as it has a Batter-Alternator Starter. The BAS is, in a nutshell, a small electric motor that can power the crankshaft to either start the engine while already warm or even let the engine power down and still provide enough acceleration to keep the car cruising at highway speeds.

Audi has also revised the internals of the engine, giving it a new crankshaft, new pistons, new connecting rods and a new oil management system. Even its cooling system has been revised, giving both the cylinder head and engine block separate cooling circuits. Coolant flow is even directed toward the oil cooler, EPC, BAS and turbocharger as-needed.

All of this combines to give the engine 347 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s a huge amount of torque for the Audi SQ5 and about as much horsepower as the standard gasoline version. The regular SQ5 makes 354 hp and 369 lb-ft, by comparison. So you can guess which one is punchier off the line. According to the press release, Audi claims it can accelerate “to highway speed” in 5.1 seconds. While we assume that means 0-62 mph (100 km/h), don’t quote us on that. That does seem like a reasonable 0-62 mph time for this car, though, and we wouldn’t be surprised if all that torque allowed it to get there a tick or two quicker.

Aside from the engine, 48-volt electrical system and MHEV setup, the Audi SQ5 TDI is essentially the same as the standard car. So it sill has the same eight-speed automatic and sporty suspension setup, with option air suspension, and the sharper steering of the regular SQ5. It also gets Quattro all-wheel drive as-standard and a limited-slip rear sports differential as an optional extra.

On both the outside and inside, it looks virtually the same as the standard SQ5, just with some new as-standard wheels. Though, we don’t like the new wheels as much as the regular car’s.

The Audi SQ5 TDI is an interesting car because it provides much more torque, especially at the low-end, than the standard car while also improving efficiency. It should be the best version of the SQ5 when it finally goes on sale this Summer in Germany. Prices start at €67,750.

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VIDEO: Tesla Model S owner tests Audi e-tron in Spain

It’s no secret that the electric brand Audi wants to beat is Tesla. It’s the electric brand all traditional brands want to beat. So when a Tesla Model S owner takes the new Audi e-tron for a spin, we obviously pay attention and so too does Audi. So what does a Tesla owner have to say about Audi’s first electric car? We find out in this new video from E for Electric.

In this new video, E for Electric’s Alex went to Spain to test the Audi e-tron in a variety of different conditions. Despite being a Model S owner, he also has a reservation on the e-tron. So this test was his first time behind the wheel of a car he’s actually going to be buying.

During his time with the car, he noticed some things he liked and some things he didn’t. For instance, he wasn’t a big fan of the camera mirrors (not coming to the U.S., so don’t worry ‘Merican buyers), nor was he a big fan of the way the shift lever moved. He also found the new Touch Response MMI system to be a bit overwhelming but did note that once used to it, it has a ton of functionality.

What he did seem to like was the way it drove. Audi put both the drivers and the e-trons themselves through their paces in Spain. They weren’t just city driving, they were tracking the Audi e-tron and off-roading it as well. During the off-road section, you get to see the e-tron use its hill-descent control and front cameras to see a massive drop off in front of it and handle it with ease. We also get to see it handle a track with surprising capability for a 2.5 ton electric SUV.

Overall, there are obviously pros and cons to the new Audi e-tron but it seems to have impressed a Tesla owner enough that he’s going to keep his reservation and buy one himself.

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SPIED: Audi RS Q4 caught showing its green side

We’ve seen a lot of the Audi RS Q3 (pictured above) in recent months, both in photos and video. It looks exactly as we’d expect an Audi Sport version of the Q3 to look. Now, though, a new Audi Sport SUV has been caught doing some testing and it’s quite a bit different than the RS Q3 — the Audi RS Q4. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)

The car seen in these photos is most certainly an Audi Q4 of some sort, thanks to its Q3 styling but more aggressively raked roof. It sort of looks like what you’d get if you combined an Audi Q3 with an Audi Q8. Which, I’m guessing, is exactly the idea of this design.

Not only is it most certainly a Q4 variant, it’s also most likely an Audi RS Q4. Its Audi Sport roots shine though quite clearly, as we can see it has more aggressive front air intakes, a new front lip spoiler and large dual-oval exhausts. Those are all Audi Sport giveaways. Oh, and the fact that the front brake calipers wear the Audi Sport logo.

Audi RS Q3 for comparison

Another interesting big is its color. Sure, it’s completely covered in camouflage but there’s a bit of its paint showing in its front and rear wheel wells, where the camo is missing a bit. The paint we can see is bright lime green, which is an interesting color choice but one we like a lot. We don’t know what the color is called but we really hope it makes it to the final production car because it will look awesome.

Powering the Audi RS Q4 is said to be a revised version of the 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder found in the current Audi RS3 and TT RS. Though, while it makes 400 hp in those cars, it’s said that the RS Q4 will make more than that. How much more, we don’t know. But we’ve heard that it will be more powerful than its two engine-sharing siblings. Even if it’s just a bit more.

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Modified Audi e-tron climbed 85-percent gradient ski slope

Even before it was released, Audi has been testing the limits of its e-tron SUV in extreme conditions. First, it was the extreme cold of the Arctic Circle, then it was the extreme heat of the Namibian Desert, then the extreme altitude changes of Pikes Peak. More recently, the Audi e-tron tackled an 85-percent gradient in the snow on the legendary “Streif” ski slope.

On the Streif, there’s a section called the “Mausefalle”, which is an 85-percent gradient, making it the steepest portion. To test the abilities of the Audi e-tron in the snow, the four-ringed brand took one and climbed up the slope.

“We already proved the mettle of the electric SUV last year in a number of Audi e-tron extreme events. From Pikes Peak to the salt plains of Namibia to the high-voltage test bay in Berlin – the Audi e-tron prototype mastered the greatest of challenges,” said Peter Oberndorfer, Head of Product and Technology Communications. “With the sensational drive up the ‘Mausefalle’ we have pushed the boundaries even further and demonstrated all the technical possibilities of Quattro technology in an electric car.”

Admittedly, the e-tron in question was not a stock one. It was packing three electric motors rather than two. Two motors were mounted at the rear axle and one at the front, rather than the production car’s lone motor at each axle. That extra motor out back not only aids in power but also in traction.

With electric cars, torque can be far more accurately put to the ground, as each electric motor operates independently, rather than having one power source (internal combustion engine) sending power to different wheels via a gearbox, driveshafts and differentials. So with three electric motors, Audi can develop a far more accurate, effective and grippy Quattro system than it currently has with a traditional vehicle.

The modified Audi e-tron, with its three electric motors, develops 370 kW (496 hp) and a simply massive total wheel torque of 8,920 Nm (6,579.1 lb-ft). That’s way, way more torque than the standard car, obviously, but it was needed to climb an absurdly steep 85-percent gradient in the snow. It was also wearing specifically-designed 19-inch wheels and studded tires. So it’s not as if a stock e-tron can do such a thing. Still, it’s impressive to see what it can do and it helps Audi learn the capabilities of electric Quattro.

“Conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first,” says Mattias Ekström, who was behind the wheel of the Audi e-tron technology demonstrator. “Even I was impressed with the way this car handles such difficult terrain”.

While a stock Audi e-tron can’t do this exactly, it is still very impressive off road. It’s instant torque and extremely efficient distribution of grip helps the big EV Audi handle situations that most SUVs simply can’t.

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Audi will tell you which speed will help avoid red lights with GLOSA

Audi has been working on something it calls TLI (Traffic Light Information) for some time now. It showed this tech off last year at CES and it’s basically a way for the car to communicate with traffic lights. So the Audi will know when traffic lights are going to change. It’s all part of the brand’s V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) technology. Now, the four-ringed brand is expanding on that with a new addition and a new acronym — GLOSA.

What is GLOSA? Green Light Optimization Speed Advisory. The goal of GLOSA is to “provide speed recommendations to minimize stops at red lights and helps to reduce driver stress while catching the ‘green wave.'”

In a nutshell, GLOSA is designed to have the car communicate with traffic lights, figure out when they’re going to change to either green or red, then figure out a speed at which the driver will be able to coast through the light while it’s green and relay that to the driver. This will help reduce some of the stress of driving and being stuck at constant red lights. According to Audi, the average American spends 300 hours a year behind the wheel of a car, the equivalent of seven 40-hour work weeks. So helping reduce stress during that time is hugely helpful.

This idea is not only nice for drivers, though, as it reduces the stress from being constantly stopped at red lights but it also helps improve efficiency. The less time stopping and accelerating again, the better fuel economy your car gets. At the same time, the less time the car is idling, the less wasted emissions in the air. So the tech is a win/win, for both customers and the environment.

 

GLOSA will be part of Audi’s TLI technology, which is part for Audi Connect PRIME, a feature offered on Audi’s model years 2017 and up. It only works in select cities, though. Four new cities in America have been added: Denver, Colorado; White Plains, New York; Gainesville, Florida; and Orlando, Florida. With those four new cities, there are now 13 U.S. cities where this new tech is available.

This new tech is just another way Audi is making life a little bit nicer behind the wheel. With this, its toll-integration tech and Level 3 autonomy available in the Audi A8, life behind the wheel of four-ringed vehicles is getting easier and easier.

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Euro Market Audi Q8 gets two new V6 engines

When the Audi Q8 first launched, it was only available with one engine, in every market it was in. Admittedly, the lone engine was different, depending on the market — North American market got 3.0 TFSI V6 only, Euro market got 3.0 TDI V6. Now, though, the European market is getting two new V6 engine options of the Q8.

One of the new engines is actually just a new version of the existing 3.0 TDI currently available in Europe. This new engine is a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 diesel, making 227 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It also can get the big, heavy Audi Q8 from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.1 seconds. Not too shabby for an efficient diesel engine.

The second new engine is actually the same 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 TFSI engine that we get here in America. So it makes 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the same output as the American engine, and it can get the big Q8 from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds. That’s much quicker than its diesel counterpart.

Both engines are paired with MHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle) setups. So they both utilize 48-volt electrical subsystems with battery-alternator starers. All Audi Q8 models are equipped with eight-speed automatic gearboxes and Quattro-all-wheel drive.

It’s not surprising to see the European market get the same petrol-powered V6 that we get here. Although, don’t expect it to work the other way around. We won’t be getting the V6 TDI engine here in the ‘States because, ya know, diesel. Realistically though, we’re all just waiting for the Audi SQ8 to come and bring a more high-performance engine, possibly the 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6 from the Audi RS4 or even the 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 from the Porsche Panamera. We’ll still have to wait a while for that.

In Germany, prices are as follows: €76,300 for the Audi Q8 3.0 TFSI and €73,300 for the Q8 3.0 TDI.

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Investment Analyst claims Tesla should be worried about Audi e-tron, not Jaguar I-Pace

By the time 2019 is over, Tesla will have to content with not one but two new major competitors from much larger luxury brands. One is the Jaguar I-Pace, the brand’s first ever electric car and the other is the Audi e-tron, also its first EV. Both cars are newer than any of Tesla’s offerings and both are very impressive. However, according to one investment analyst, it’s the e-tron that should worry Tesla more than the I-Pace.

According to JMP analyst Joseph Osha who recently spoke to some clients on the matter, the e-tron is the bigger threat, as the Jaguar I-Pace isn’t quite up to par. Admittedly, the Jag is a very impressive first attempt but, according to Osha, it has a “poorly executed infotainment system and a dealership network that may not be able to position and sell the car effectively”. Admittedly, Osha’s note was more about the shortcomings of the I-Pace than the attributes of the Audi e-tron, but it’s still worth noting that he claimed the latter to be better than the former.

The Audi e-tron boasts a lot of qualities that, specs aside, the other two don’t have. Audi has a better history of reliability than both, it’s more of a traditional SUV, has a better infotainment system than both brands and has a much better dealer network than both Tesla and Jaguar. So it any of these new EVs are going to attract legacy car buyers (buyers of traditional car brands), it’s going to be Audi. That’s because it’s a legacy automaker itself and has an electric car that still feels like a traditional car, all while boasting a much easier dealer network to use, better warranties, better customer service and a better history of reliability. So if any new electric car poses a threat to Tesla, it’s the Audi e-tron. And the folks in Ingolstadt should be very proud of that.

Customer who are looking for an e-tron don’t have to wait long, either. The Audi e-tron will go on sale Q2 of 2019.

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Audi Q4 e-tron teased ahead of Geneva Motor Show

It hasn’t been a secret that Audi is bringing another e-tron concept to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. We’ve known it for some time now but what we didn’t know were the details. Now, some have trickled out, as the folks in Ingolstadt have teased this upcoming concept, what it’s going to be and what it’s going to be called. It’s the Audi Q4 e-tron Concept and we’re going to see it in Geneva quite soon.

When Audi first mentioned a new e-tron Concept, it was said to be a small, Q3-sized crossover. Then, there was word that it cold be a small hatchback that would be built on the same MEB all-electric architecture as the Volkswagen ID. Though, it might be both. This upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron looks to be a coupe-like crossover that’s similar in size to the Audi Q3 but even a bit smaller. So it still could very well be built on the same MEB chassis as the VW ID, while still being similar in design and size to the Q3. Especially with how flexible the VW Group MEB architecture is.

These design sketches show off a very small but very sporty looking crossover. Yet it’s one that’s instantly recognizable as an Audi, with its massive Singleframe grille and large front air intakes. It also very clearly borrows the flared wheel arches from the rest of Audi’s SUV lineup.

On the inside, the sketches show an interior that looks similar to that of the Audi Q3, just with some more exciting designs, such as its dashboard. It also ditches the Audi e-tron SUV’s funky shift lever for just some buttons, which is cleaner and less fussy looking. However, it still gets a virtual instrument panel and a large touchscreen MMI system that’s slanted toward the driver, a la Audi Q3.

We’re very excited about this Audi Q4 e-tron Concept because it’s not only a new electric concept from Audi but it’s one that’s supposed to be a high-volume seller when it finally goes on sale. According to Audi,  The Audi Q4 e-tron concept provides a glimpse of the next stage of Audi electric mobility and is due to be presented as a volume-production vehicle in late 2020/early 2021.”

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Compact Audi e-tron Concept to debut at 2019 Geneva Motor Show

A few weeks back, Audi revealed that it would be debuting yet another e-tron concept car, previewing a future compact electric car to compete with the Tesla Model 3. We’ve heard it could be a compact hatchback and we’ve heard it could be an Audi Q3-sized crossover. Whatever it ends up being, this new Audi e-tron concept car will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in a few weeks time.

Just yesterday, we heard rumors that Audi and Porsche were very concerned with the Tesla Model 3 and how it was more advanced than they both thought, while also having concerns about their own PPE (Premium Platform Electric) architecture’s ability to keep up. So it might seem odd at first to read that Audi is looking to take the Model 3 head on with this new compact EV.

This compact Audi e-tron won’t be based on the PPE architecture, though, it will be based on the MEB electric architecture developed by the Volkswagen Group. So it’s an entirely different platform and one that’s going to be very flexible while also being very high-tech. Volkswagen used this new architecture to create the VW ID electric concept car, which was very impressive.

To be honest, this upcoming compact Audi e-tron is the most exciting of all the electric Audi models. That’s because it’s going to be the most affordable and take on cars like the Model 3, Chevy Bolt, BMW i3 (and potentially BMW i4) and the Nissan Leaf. It’s said that whatever this concept ends up being, it’s going to closely resemble the production car it previews. It’s also said that the production car will be revealed in 2020 with it reaching customers in 2021. That’s a long way away, especially with how quickly the industry is advancing, but we’re interested to see what Audi has planned for this little EV.

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