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10. Lincoln Navigator Ultimate $109.76
Gas prices might not have hit the budget-busting $5/gallon yet, but drivers are already feeling the pinch. Consumer Reports has exposed a list of the top 10 most expensive vehicles to fill up. All prices are based on the average fuel price in the United States.
First on our top 10 is the Lincoln Navigator Ultimate. The massive V8 in this thing gets a combined 15mpg according to fueleconomy.gov. That gives it a range of around 504 miles on a tank. Filling up this SUV costs almost $110, which surprisingly is far from the costliest fill up on this list.
The Audi Q5 and Q7 are similar vehicles, and thanks to customer demand in both the U.S. and China, Audi is working on a Q6, which will slot in between the two luxury SUVs, offering sportier styling to Audi customer wanting something different from the company’s SUV lineup.
The new Q6 will take on BMW’s X6, so we can expect some type of sleek style and coupe-like appearance when we finally see the finished product.
The vehicle in our spy photos is based on an Audi Q5 body, but is a little longer and wider than the production model. This is intended to give the Q6 more presence than the Q5, though Audi should be careful to not take anything away from the Q7′s large stance. This Q6 mule appears to sit a little lower than the Q5 as well, hinting at the sporty identity the Q6 will take to compete with the BMW X6. The new Q6 is also a likely candidate for RS treatment and may make use of Audi’s 4.0-liter turbocharged V8.
This vehicle is probably still a few years away, with some sources speculating a 2014 release and others 2016.
GALLERY: Audi Q6 Mule
At the 2012 Audi Annual Press Conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that the German automaker will be manufacturing plug-in hybrid variants of their A3, A4, and Q7 models.
“While we are planning small-scale series production for this car, which is a vital element in our innovation and technology plans, the electric driving experience will become a reality for a growing clientele with our plug-in hybrids,” Stadler said.
The market launch for the A3 plug-in hybrid is set for 2014 while the next-generation A4 and Q7 will get plug-in hybrid variants starting in 2014 and in successive years. By 2020, Audi hopes to have an e-tron available in every segment to help achieve total sales in the six-figure range.
“Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars – starting in 2014 and in successive years. In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range,” Stadler said.
Stadler also addressed Audi’s focus in optimizing their gas and diesel engines to help reduce CO2 emissions, spoke about the first Audi race car with a hybrid engine, and was clear that their goal for 2012 will be to “achieve stronger growth than the market as a whole.” It’s widely speculated that the automotive industry will experience a 4-percent increase in car sales this year, but Audi wants to best that average.
It will continue to target the Chinese market with hopes to achieve double-digit growth yet again. The German automaker plans to nearly double their dealer network in China by the end of 2013. The Q3 will also be introduced to China and a new generation of the popular A6L (long version) will be launched before 2012 ends.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Hatchback
We’ve got to laugh a little at the German automaker for deciding to intentionally offer less-than-optimal fuel efficiency in the Q5s headed to North America. Their 2.0-liter TDI is actually more efficient than the hybrid powertrain that will be available stateside.
To keep people from flocking to the most efficient bird in the roost, Audi decided to slip the same 3.0-liter diesel from the Q7 into the smaller Q5, branding it as a more performance-oriented option.
You can see in the photos that the Q5 is getting Audi’s S-line treatment like the new A4 and A6. We’re also told that the compact SUV will come with the latest multimedia interface, including Audi connect and Google Maps.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi Q5 spy photos
Efficiency is important these days. The government is cracking down on gas guzzlers and imposing strict regulations that force automakers into saving more fuel than ever before.
That’s why it might come as a surprise that Audi of America is opting not to offer their most efficient diesel engine in the upcoming 2013 Q5. That’s right, the German luxury brand sees fit to package the same diesel 3.0-liter V6 that they currently offer American consumers in the Q7.
Why, you might ask? The answer is simple, though less than logical. Audi is afraid of selling a 2.0 turbo diesel Q5 because it gets better milage than the hybrid-electric powertrain they are offering in the same vehicle.
In other words, the diesel engine is too efficient for the discerning U.S. palette. Now, there may be some merit to the theory, considering diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline. People can be quick to judge at the pump and diesels still carry a somewhat sordid name among American consumers, even today.
On the other hand Hybrids evoke green imagery and environmentally friendly thoughts, which is even funnier when you realize that Europeans have been driving diesels to save fuel for decades.
Regardless of the reasoning, Audi is doing a good job of pandering to consumer egos, saying they chose to offer a more performance oriented diesel and an efficient hybrid.
Speaking of performance-oriented diesels, the company will also be offering Americans the same engine in the A8 later this year. The same logic that spoiled the chances for a 2.0-liter diesel Q5 is also keeping the hybrid A8 out of reach.
“Our current A8 with the 4.2L gasoline V-8 gets the same fuel economy as hybrids from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes” due to its emphasis on weight-saving aluminum construction, Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen said to Ward’s Auto. “Imagine now what happens when you put a diesel in the car. You have all the driveability and driving enjoyment with even better fuel economy.”
In fact, 41% of Q7 and 55% of A3 sales in the U.S. were diesel models, though the fact that Audi still ships from Germany probably restricted supply, so it makes sense that they would be rolling more models out with the oil-burning option.
GALLERY: Audi Q5 Hybrid
[Source: Wards Auto]
Once again, thanks to internet chatter we’ve got some more information on this hum-dinger of an SUV. A member on the Tesla Motors Club forum said he read in the Barclays Capital research report that there would be an unveiling on February 9. According to a post by Autoblog earlier today, that date is now confirmed.
So far, Tesla has been leading the EV industry in style and performance, consistently proving that being without an internal combustion engine isn’t the end of the world, though it may be the end of your bank account. Their first release, the Tesla Roadster, is a head turner that makes you feel like Tony Stark. Next they released the Model S, touting it as the worlds first premium electric sedan. The Model X is sure to follow their attention magnet tradition.
Kelley Blue Book has announced the winners of their 2012 Best Resale Value Awards with Toyota being the best resale value brand and their luxury counterpart, Lexus, topping best resale value luxury brand.
Coming out on top of the list of this year’s top 10 best resale value vehicles however is (In order from first to last): Audi‘s Q7, Chevy‘s Camaro, Honda‘s CR-V, Hyundai‘s Tucson, Infiniti‘s FX, Jeep‘s Wrangler, Lexus’s RX, Nissan‘s Frontier, Toyota’s FJ Cruiser and their Tacoma.
Resale value is always important to those spenders hoping to get the best bang for their buck for their vehicle down the road. But oftentimes these are just estimates and market changes should be taken into consideration as that can impact resale value of vehicles.
[Source: Kelley Blue Book]
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley Motors’ CEO recently declared, in reference to the firm’s upcoming SUV, that, ”we will be first to use a 12-cylinder petrol engine in a luxury SUV.”
Unfortunately he’s wrong. That distinction belongs to Lamborghini, who offered a 12-cylinder motor in the LM 002 back in the 1980s.
Nevertheless, featuring a motor with 12 bores will still give Bentley’s 4 x 4 a good deal of prestige, since today, there’s nothing currently like it on the market.
As for the type of engine chosen, expect a version of the W12 motor found in the Bentley Continental series, not only preferred for reasons of cost and convenience, but also according to Dürheimer, packaging.
That said, there are currently rumors circulating that besides a gas fueled W12, Bentley may add a V-configuration motor, probably a diesel somewhere further down the line, likely derived from Audi’s existing V12 TDI, currently offered in the Q7 crossover.
With the chief engineer on the project none other than Rolf Frech, who Dürheimer pinched from Porsche (where he worked on the original Cayenne), it looks like all the ingredients are in place for a Bentley SUV to hit the road in the not too distant future (a launch date of around 2015 is believed to be on the cards).
That said, the new vehicle’s introduction will still be determined by the product life cycle of other Bentley models, which Dürheimer says tend to last six to eight years. “The Mulsanne came in 2010, then the Continental no more than a year later, so the new model will be valuable when we are expecting a lull,” he says. “The downswing is the time to introduce this SUV.”
Yet regardless of ‘timing’ Dürheimer is now more convinced than ever that the demand for such a machine as a Bentley 4 x 4 is there. “Ninety-nine per cent of Bentley owners also own an SUV,” he says. “Absolutely thousands of premium SUVs have been sold — Cayennes, Range Rovers, Q7s and so on — but nobody has given those owners the chance to upgrade. We will.”
Thankfully the BMW M3 Pickup was just a joke and won’t ever make it into production, but has it started a trend? Perhaps. Exhibit two is this Audi Q7, which has been transformed into a type of German luxury El Camino.
With the wonders of photoshop, it’s not easy to say if this image is real or a fake either. Original? Yes. Stupid? Also a yes. But would you take it over a Chevy Avalanche?
Audi is set to abandon its Q7 V12 TDI due to slow sales and rapidly advancing diesel technology in their smaller displacement motors. The current V12 TDI makes 500 horsepower and 738 lb-ft, and is widely considered to be one of the most impressive SUVs on the market.
But with Audi’s V6 TDI making a more-than-adequate 313 horsepower (compared to the 4.2L V8s 340 horsepower), Audi is moving to drop both the V12 and V8 TDI motors in favor of the newer, more efficient V6. Mercedes-Benz and BMW abandoned large displacement diesels long ago, so such a move wouldn’t be out of character for Germany’s third luxury brand.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Audi is planning to launch new special editions of their R8 and Q7 vehicles in Russia and the United Arab Emirates, with prices as extravagant as their customers tastes.
Russia will be the first market to get their own special Audi, with a Q7 V12 TDI being offered with an exclusive two-tone black paint job and a retail price of $285,000 – more than double what a base model Q7 costs in the country. The UAE will get an R8 V10 Pure Sport, of which only 40 will be offered, at a more reasonable retail price of $136,000.
Audi’s special editions are not out of the ordinary for a luxury car maker, as BMW has been making market-specific versions of the M3 for China and the United States for the past year, while Audi itself previously sold a special edition of the TT in China. All three vehicles sold out quickly, leading to a whole new way for both brands to reap profits off of luxury-brand hungry consumers.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Audi will continue its focus on weight savings when it rolls out the next generation A4, Q5 and Q7 models, making drastic reductions across the board.
At a recent technical presentation, Audi engineers focused on the use of aluminum in the next-generation of vehicles, following what’s been done on the new A8 and A6 sedans. Referring in particular to the next A4, one executive declared it would be, “significantly lighter,” than the current car, with engineers later commenting that the body alone would weigh 220-lb less than the 2011 model.
That weight savings, however, is insignificant compared to the next Q7, which they promised would be “up to 400 kilograms lighter” – or roughly 880-lbs. Along with a lighter frame, it’s also expected to use a version of the Porsche Cayenne’s new AWD system, which has been credited for cutting as much as 400 lbs from that SUV.
Audi’s next Q5 will also reduce weight, with engineers touring the “every gram counts” strategy when displaying new aluminum B-pillars that over 5 lbs less than the current steel unit.
Even small savings in weight will have big improvements, not just in acceleration, but in fuel economy and handling too as Audi looks to solidify itself as a serious rival to BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Audi is launching a revised version of their 3.0 TDI in the German market that sees a slight reduction in power in exchange for improved efficiency.
New new Q7 TDI will pump out 204 horsepower and 332 lb-ft through an 8-speed transmission and return 33 mpg, comparable with some four-cylinder sedans. 0-60 will take 9.1 seconds, compared to the standard 240 horsepower Q7 TDI that only takes 7.9 seconds. With a marginal reduction in mileage, the faster TDI will likely stay on our shores as the sole Q7 TDI, with the slower, more efficient car confined to Europe.
Audi posted exceptional sales figures, with A3 sales up 144%, A6 sales up 105% and the Q5 up 60% from April 2009. Audi credits the A3 TDI for boosting sales of the small hatchback. The A3 TDI now makes up 58% of A3 sales, while Audi’s Q7 TDI makes up 36% of that model line’s sales.
Lexus, which has been hit with a rash of quality problems since January 2010, posted strong numbers for April 2010, with the ES sedan leading the charge. Despite being highlighted as a problem vehicle in the unintentional acceleration scandal, ES sales were up nearly 24%. Lexus’ largest volume seller is the RX crossover lineup, which sold 1.5 times as many units as the ES did.