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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Audi Sport's Electrification Plans Coming into Focus

      ...E-tron all the things...

    Like every other automaker out there, Audi is looking to electrify their lineup, that includes models from the Audi Sport division that produces the S and RS models for Audi. 

    At the 2018 LA Auto Show, Audi introduced the E-tron GT Concept, based on the same platform as the Porsche Taycan.  The concept featured a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup producing 582 horsepower and about 600 lb.-ft of torque.  Powering that was a 96 kWh battery that Audi claimed would give a range of 250 miles and a 0-62 mph of 3.5 seconds. The production version will debut at the 2020 LA Auto Show, but we don't know yet if it will sport the same three tiers that the Porsche Taycan has with similar specs.   It is expected that the base E-tron GT will have a lower output and lower price than the Taycan.  The base model and S variant should be available at launch while the RS will follow along later. 

    In addition to the Audi E-tron GT, Audi Sport is busy working on electrified version of their RS models.  These will be plug-in hybrids, the first of which is expected to be the RS4 around the 2022 model year and then proceed up the line.  Since SUVs are all the rage, Audi is also working on an RS version of their E-tron Sportback SUV to compete head to head with the Tesla Model Y Performance.  The current E-tron Sportback makes a maximum of 402 horsepower in boost mode with its dual motors.  Audi has hinted that a third motor could be introduced for even more performance. 

    Audi will also take a second stab at an R8 E-tron.  The first one appeared in 2015 as a second generation R8, but was only in production for 16 months due to low demand, largely blamed on its $1.1 million price tag. Only 100 copies of the original R8 E-Tron were built. It used a dual motor setup pushing 456 hp and 679 lb.-ft of torque to the wheels with a promised range of up to 280 miles.  The next version of the R8 E-tron will likely see a power boost, but Audi is also working on bringing the price down to a more reasonable (for a supercar) price. Even with a substantial reduction in price, the R8 E-tron will likely only be a limited production model.

     

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    Nice looking ride, but for the money they are going to ask for it will need much more than the 250 mi. the concept has. Needs at least the 300 mi. range that new BEV's strive for. 96 kWh battery pack is not good enough for high-end Audi money.

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    9 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Audi will also take a second stab at an R8 E-tron.  The first one appeared in 2015 as a second generation R8, but was only in production for 16 months due to low demand, largely blamed on its $1.1 million price tag. ...456 hp

    When you so blatantly & grotesquely gouge your customers, of course it's going to utterly fail.
    So will the next one, despite it seeming like a 'bargain' with -say- 500 HP and a tag of -say- $350K.

    Duh.

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    • By Anthony Fongaro
      Germany. Known for impeccable engineering, German vehicles usually have cutting-edge technology and are status symbols. Sweden. The Swedish are known for safety, and even though the only brand from Sweden is Volvo, they want to have a sleek design while making vehicles easy to drive. South Korea. In my opinion, South Korea is doing a great job with their vehicles. Creating Genesis as a stand-alone brand was genius because they can have vehicles close to or competing with the Germans while costing thousands of dollars less.
      What vehicles did I choose from these three countries? First, we have the Genesis G70. The particular G70 I am talking about is the G70 3.3T. It can compete directly with the Germans in terms of performance and safety features. Next, we have the Volvo S60 T6. It ties the Audi S5 Sportback in terms of exterior and interior looks and follows the tradition of being a Swedish car that focuses on safety which a hint of performance. The powertrain may be a little odd, but I’ll discuss engines and performance later. The black sheep here is a used Audi S5 Sportback? Why this car and not an S4? Simple, the S4 is too plain. The S5 Sportback is a good-looking car with performance similar to the Genesis, but a new one’s cost puts it in a different bracket.
      There is a reason why I’m using these vehicles. Price and performance. First, price. Options I look for such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, digital displays, all-wheel-drive, and heated/ventilated seats push up the prices for these three from $50,000-$53,000. Although the G70 and Volvo can be bought for around $40,000, a few options bump their prices up. Let’s dive into what I recommend for each car.
      Not a surprise, the Genesis G70 comes in at $50,000. You can get a Sport Package, but I would go with the Prestige Package because it has a heads-up display, surround-view monitoring that makes parking easy, and advanced safety features with a feature to not his pedestrians. That last feature is very helpful in a city like Chicago with Chicagoans crossing the street anywhere. 
      Volvo’s S60 T6 has three trim levels, and I would go with the Inscription. You can pick an interior that isn’t just black as well as a Harman Kardon sound system. Two packages I recommend are the Luxury Package which gives you massaging seats, ventilated seats, and upgraded Nappa leather. The Advanced Package grants you the ability to use Pilot Assist, an almost semi-autonomous system which houses every safety system a car can have. 
      A brand spanking new Audi S5 Sportback starts at $52,000 and it being German, the options are expensive and expansive. Although I would recommend the Premium Plus, if you want a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and parking assist, you must go for the $59,000 Prestige. You can get a Black optic package that changes some of the exterior trim to black, hence the name. Ventilated seats cost $550 with the Warm weather package and a heated steering wheel is $750 in the Cold weather package. Final cost: $63,000, over $10,000 more than the Genesis and Volvo. 
      Now for the nerd talk of performance and driving dynamics so if you really don’t care, just go to the last sentence in this paragraph. We have the most powerful car, the Genesis G70, with a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6. Stats: 365 HP and 376-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 4.5 seconds. Next, the Volvo T6. The T6 uses a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter inline 4. Stats: 316 HP and 295-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 5.9 seconds. Finally, the Audi S5 Sportback. Under the hood is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6.  349 HP and 369-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 4.5 seconds. What does this mean? Two cars are fast, and one car isn’t. There we go.
      All vehicles have a sports feature that can change the noise of the engine inside, change how the steering feels, and how much more the engine will rev. If you’re into engine and exhaust noise, the Genesis is king. It is also the most powerful and feels the sportiest when going around a bend or going onto an on-ramp or wolfram. The Volvo has the worst sounding engine and there is a lot of lag because of the unusual engine. Volvo only uses 2.0-liter engines and it really hurts in terms of performance and it is more about cruising than going on twisty curves. Audi’s S5 Sportback is like the G70 in terms of engine noise and performance. Both are quick with V6 engines. In the Audi, the engine sounds good, but the steering feels disconnected. It handles alright but doesn’t feel special.

      Interior and infotainment systems are where the Genesis fall behind. The interior does feel luxurious, but the Volvo crushes it. A small infotainment system does it no justice. Volvo’s interior is gorgeous, but the infotainment system does something I hate: it controls almost everything. Why can’t there be regular controls for the climate control? Audi uses digital dials which are simply amazing and it has the best infotainment system. 
      Now we get to what the title implies: Who should get which car?
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      Volvo S60 T6: Simply put, this isn’t a sports sedan. Instead, it is a great long-distance cruiser with so many safety features it can almost drive itself. It has the best looking exterior and interior, but the infotainment system and droning engine let it down. Volvo is doing an amazing job creating beautiful looking vehicles, but I wish they didn’t only use 2.0-liter engines. 7/10
      Audi S5 Sportback: New, it’s the most expensive but as a used car, you can get one for a little over $50,000 with around 30,000 miles. Why get this? Because it’s all about that badge, baby! It does have a great interior and the best infotainment system. It ties the Volvo for a beautiful exterior as well. If you can find one as a certified pre-owned vehicle or CPO, you can save about $10,000. 8/10

      My personal favorite part: It’s performance facts time!
      Genesis G70 3.3T: Turbocharged 3.3-liter V6. Stats: 365 HP and 376-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 4.5 seconds.
      Volvo T6: Turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter incline 4. Stats: 316 HP and 295-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 5.9 seconds.
      Audi S5 Sportback: Turbocharged 3.0-liter V6.  349 HP and 369-pound feet of torque. 0-60: 4.5 seconds. 
      What is your opinion? Which car do you think would suit you, and do you own the Audi, Genesis, or Volvo? Leave a comment below.
       

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