The tasty RS 7, with a 4.0L bi-turbo V8 belting out nearly 600 horsepower packed into a slinky sportback body, is the sort of delightful lunacy which acts as a speedy tonic to the raft of dour crossovers and SUVs which crowd parking lots at the mall. A new exclusive edition – a trim infuriatingly spelled in all lower-case letters – ratchets up the rarity even if it doesn’t provide any extra German horses.
The price goes up, too. A lot.
Like it or not, and it seems most of our readers don’t, manufacturers are pressing ahead with the coupification of luxury-grade small crossovers. The BMW X4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe generally offer a more sport and less utility, thanks in no small part to a roofline that begins to swoop dramatically to the pavement just aft of the driver’s noggin.
Audi wants in, of course. The existence of a Q5 Sportback was confirmed earlier this year. Now they’re ready to show a production version, complete with its so-called Singleframe grille aggressively tapered rear end.
Following the triumph that was Audi’s all-electric e-tron utility (the automaker doesn’t believe in uppercase letters), the brand developed a Sportback version for 2020 that sacrificed interior volume for a fastback roofline. The manufacturer describes it as “coiled yet poised, the stylized potential of the e-tron Sportback is clear from any angle — it’s designed to attract, electrify and generate envy of ownership,” making us cringe at the sheer magnitude of its pomposity. Based on the sales record of e-tron models, we may not be alone in feeling that way.
While plenty of outlets praised the model for its luxurious ride and upscale interior with lavish technical inclusions, we’ve come down hard on its production troubles and lackluster range. That’s likely the result of us mistakenly thinking cars should be broadly useful, especially SUVs and crossovers. But we’re also hyper-critical grumps and Audi also failed to deliver on the one item that set these cars apart from their internal combustion counterparts — the battery. Our hope was that the formula would be improved for the brand’s next EV, and that does seem to have happened.
Audi just debuted the Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept to complement the Q4 EV that appeared at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
Padding out its crossover lineup and going downmarket, like every other premium automaker, Audi presented us with a new model this week — the A1 Citycarver. Based upon the A1 Sportback, the Citycarver is lifted two-inches to provide additional clearance for potholes, urban debris, and the occasional instance of curb hopping. The ride hight also helps the brand’s A1 line take advantage of the severe case of crossover crazies that has swept through the global market.
Good on Audi for downplaying the adventure/lifestyle marketing and calling the Citycarver what it is — a small urban runabout with the ability to leave town. Bonus points for allowing it to maintain its foundation’s above-average looks.
There’s plenty of tasty European machinery available to customers on that side of the pond that isn’t currently (or was not) available in these parts. VW Scirocco R, Audi RS6 Avant, Citroën DS3 Racing … if you’ll excuse me, I need to lie down.
Not all the forbidden fruit is worth plucking off the tree, though. Think you’d ever see a modern Audi in this day and age with a plastic block-off plate where the radio is supposed to be? Well, you have now.
Volvo simultaneously took a trip down memory lane while keeping its eyes on The Future™ when it unveiled the new V60 this week. Remember when Volvo was synonymous with practical wagon-based transportation for upstanding middle-class families? Those days are here again; but they are also gone, as the brand has transformed itself by offering models with exquisite styling, improved performance, and gobs of tech.
These are no longer nice square cars for nice square people. They’re sex machines intended for people who want to make a statement about who they are — and may happen to have children. But Volvo hasn’t abandoned its recipe entirely. It’s still a bit of an odd duck as European manufacturers go, and it’s still building desirable station wagons.
While many of them border on the crossover category, the company has stuck with estate cars, the V90 being the biggest jewel in that particular crown. The new V60 is essentially a scaled-down and more affordable version of that model. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without careful inspection.
Emissions legislation politics is a hairy subject at the company holiday party. But there are some unexpected benefits regardless of your take on California’s ZEV mandate or the EPA’s CAFE standards.
Without this legislation we may never have seen Audi’s smallest station wagon return to America. Yep, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid comes in the form of a small hatchback-cum-station-wagon. That means if you want an Audi plug-in, a compact wagon is in your future. If you want a compact wagon, you aren’t going to get one without a plug.
Fortunately, the Audi in question is the tasty new A3 Sportback E-tron.
Audi will release a sedan version of its uber-A4 sometime next year, Autocar is reporting.
Audi has already confirmed that the RS4 would be released as a wagon because “that is what people expect from the RS4,” head of Audi’s Quattro Heinz Hollerweger told Car and Driver this month.
That’s on top of speculation that the RS4 could come to the States and China as a Sportback, similar to the RS7 already on sale. And, of course, we could always get the RS5 like we did last time.
The crown mother of Audi’s sport compacts may have life in the U.S. after all, Car and Driver is reporting.
According to Audi boss Heinz Hollerweger, the RS4 will sport a boosted six-cylinder engine instead of a naturally aspirated eight, and will pack more than 420 horsepower under the hood.
Hollerweger told Car and Driver that the RS4 would likely launch as a wagon in Europe, but if it came stateside that may change — or not. “The U.S. is changing, and there is more demand there (for wagons), so maybe that will change,” Hollerweger said.
Forget car design awards. Forget internet polls. The perfect automotive barometer is the filling station. And if barometers could wet their pants, this one would need its jeans urgently back in the washing machine, as our oranger-than-orange Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart (that’s a handful) pulled into the fuel station. The second time this hour, actually. Faster than you could say ‘Premium Unleaded’, the fuel attendant stormed our tester with cries of joy and wonder, proceeding to proudly recite its technical specification better than we could. After failing to receive a positive answer for his honest attempt for a ‘short spin’, he documented this automotive phenomenon with enough photos to create a 3D rendering and proclaimed that we should fill ‘er up with Regular Unleaded.
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- ToolGuy "Having the dual sliders has been amazing as it let's me and my wife have our own "sides" of the van to prep for rides/races."Who goes on the traffic side??
- ToolGuy "I caught a little bit Saturday, but Sunday it seemed impossible to find on my cable. I think it was streaming on Peacock, which I have, all weekend, so I could've watched it that way. I'm not complaining, to be clear, since I could've popped Peacock on and yet I chose to watch something else."Being you sounds like a real chore. 😉
- ToolGuy If it is the longer-wheelbase version, good. (If not, it isn't.)
- ToolGuy "circumvent(ing) dealerships" should be illegal.Does "circumventing" mean spending my money there?
- ToolGuy If my head gets flatter I might consider this.