words: Paul Rivera, photos: Denis Podmarkov
Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the Q1_2020 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, please join Audi Club here.
For Audi, there is no doubt the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show will go down as one of the most memorable in a very long time. So rich in domestic and world introductions of new models, it must certainly have been the most debutants to bow at any single American auto show. From green to high performance, from the e-tron Sportback and Q5 plug-in hybrid to the Audi Sport RS 6 Avant, RS Q8, and RS 5 Panther edition to other new models like SQ7, S6, S7, and S8.
Of course, the biggest news for enthusiasts from the L.A. Auto Show must certainly have been the RS 6 Avant. That it’s definitely coming has been known for a few weeks, but this was the first American auto show appearance for Audi’s 591-hp performance Avant. Exclusive to the RS 6, the aggressive widebody allows RS specific Matrix LED laser headlights to be fitted with their distinctive lit stripes.
Audi also chose L.A. to debut the next RS 7 to the U.S. market, alongside the world launch of the first-ever RS Q8 that recently broke the Nürburgring-Nordschliefe’s SUV lap record. Both the RS 7 and RS Q8 share the drivetrain of the RS 6 but offer Sportback and sporty SUV body styles to their C-segment highest performance portfolio.
Digital LED matrix lighting potential was a big focus for Audi in L.A., along with the sinuous lines of the latest full-electric (BEV) e-tron Sportback. Elsewhere on the stand was a 361-hp Q5 2.0 TFSI 55 e quattro, the first of 3 plug-in (PHEV) models that will be introduced to our market, with the A7 2.0 TFSI 55 e quattro, and the A8 3.0 TFSI 60 e versions set to arrive in the near future. This Q5 hybrid is equipped with 14.1-kWh battery that can fully charge via Level 2 Charger in about 2 hours and give its driver about 25 miles of range in purely electric mode.
Another new face on the stage was the next-generation S8, with its own variation of Audi’s 4.0 TFSI V8. According to Anthony Foulk, Audi of America’s senior product manager, the second-generation Audi V8 TFSI shares only the engine block with Porsche, Lamborghini, and Bentley, with Audi powertrain engineers developing Audi exclusive tuning.
The S8 was joined by other new S-car offerings, including the new S6 and S7 that are fitted with a 444 hp version of Audi’s 2.9 TFSI V6 engine as previously seen in the RS 5.
48V mild-hybrid technology will roll out across most of the new models like this pair, allowing for several new features like Audi AI active suspension, electromechanical active roll stabilization (eAWS), and an electric supercharger.