New rowdy Audi RS4 just the start of model change up
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The debut of the new RS4 Avant begins a phase of Audi model introductions with an emphasis on the higher reaches of the model line-up.
Audi New Zealand general manager Dean Sheed called 2018 “the year of heavy metal” during the RS4 Avant launch function and he confirmed the brand is preparing to introduce multiple luxury models and a new flagship sports-luxury SUV before the end of the year.
Soon after mid-year the new generation Audi A8 luxury saloon will go on sale in New Zealand.
It offers the highest level of assisted driving technology yet seen in New Zealand — elements of Level 3 assisted driving where support infrastructure will allow — and also debuts a new generation touch-sensitive MMI infotainment and operating system that will filter down into other Audi models.
Another new model Audi New Zealand has high hopes for is the new Q8 SUV [pictured above] due in the third quarter of this year. The five-seater with a coupe-like exterior is smaller than a Q7 but larger than a Q5 and finds a more premium position by adopting much of the technology and interior design from the new A8.
New generation A6 Saloon, A6 Avant and A7 Sportback models are due in New Zealand before Christmas and there’s one more phase of high performance metal due in 2018 when the RS5 Sportback arrives.
It joins the RS4 Avant and RS5 Coupe models with the 331kW and 600Nm 2.9-litre twin turbo powerplant installed in the five-door liftback configuration for the first time.
Looking further, Audi’s electrified vehicle plans — currently it sells A3 e-tron and Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid models — will step up a gear in 2019.
In the third quarter of this year Audi has scheduled the global debut of a its first full-electric SUV.
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So far there is no production name finalised for the vehicle which has appeared in several concept guises including most recently as the Audi e-tron prototype.
The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype is expected to be one of the first cars on the market capable of 150kW recharging at high-output DC charging stations. Around 30 minutes after connection at one of these stations, the electric SUV is ready to set off on the next long stage of its journey.
Its 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack is expected to provide a range of about 400km in the WLTP driving cycle.
Audi New Zealand says it’s gearing up to introduce the all-electric SUV model during 2019 while another SUV newcomer expected to launch next year will be the new Q4 family.