What’s Hot and What’s Not in the 2020 Audi Lineup
What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to Audi in 2020
Updated November 12, 2018
It seems like Audi has forever played second fiddle (actually third in this instance) to its arch rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. While both Merc and BMW have marketed more than 2 million vehicles worldwide and north of 300,000 units in the U.S. alone, Audi has yet to reach those figures. The Germans are hoping they’ll be able to do so during MY 2019 or 2020 though, which makes for some interesting propositions when it comes to the 2020 Audi lineup. A lot of movement within the Audi portfolio is scheduled to be done in the forthcoming years and it would seem that electric cars will benefit the most. The Germans will launch three all-new electric vehicles by 2020 (some of which have already been unveiled) and as many as 12 new models by 2025. They will also update a number of vehicles from within their current lineup which we’ll cover later on.
The German luxury brand has marketed 226,511 vehicles in the U.S. during 2017 and their 2018 figures are looking pretty promising so far. During the first three quarters of 2018, they’ve sold 167,420 units, which is a healthy 4 percent increase over the same nine-month period from a year before when they marketed 160,914 cars. With December traditionally being their busiest month, a yearly increase in sales larger than 5 percent shouldn’t come as a surprise at this moment. Taking the influx of all-new models and steady yearly growth into consideration, 2019 and 2020 could easily turn out to be the German automaker’s breakthrough years. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at which Audi models are worthy of consideration and which are not for MY 2020.
What’s Hot in the New 2020 Audi Lineup
08. 2020 R8
Audi’s iconic supercar has appeared on many top 10 lists since it first arrived back in 2006. Currently in its second generation, the R8 Coupe and Spyder alike are scheduled to receive a mid-cycle makeover. The German automaker’s halo car is thus set to receive a number of improvements across multiple segments. For starters, there’s a fresh look thanks to revised front and rear ends. Then, there’s a new entry-level model with a more compact engine which should help the R8 maintain its sales momentum. At the moment, the R8 Coupe costs between $140,000 and $195,000 whereas the Spyder costs between $178,000 and $209,000; prices vary depending on the chosen powertrain and drivetrain configurations. The upcoming entry-level model should undercut the lowest of the aforementioned figures by thousands of dollars, effectively making the R8 more attainable in the process.
The R8’s trademark 5.2L V10 engine paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission will remain the centerpiece of the 2020 R8 lineup. Available with either 562 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of twist or 611 ponies and 417 lb-ft, it can be fitted with either Quattro all-wheel drive or optional rear-wheel drive in the R8 Coupe. The new entry-level engine will have just six cylinders which is quite a drop compared to the current setup. A 2.9L V6 will sport dual turbochargers, though, and currently provides as much as 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque in the RS5. These figures could see a further bump in the R8, but even the RS5’s numbers would be more than sufficient for a supercar-worthy performance with the right platform. The lower-spec R8 should be available exclusively with all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic.
07. 2020 e-tron GT
After delivering the e-tron SUV for MY 2019, the upmarket Volkswagen Group’s division has now turned its attention to the other production version of the e-tron concept vehicle – the e-tron GT sedan. The 2020 Audi e-tron GT should share a lot with the aforementioned e-tron SUV, but instead of focusing on range, the sedan will focus more on performance. It’ll also borrow the Porsche Taycan sedan’s platform and its ultra-fast charging system. Audi’s take on a performance all-electric sedan should thus benefit from the same 800-volt battery system and 350 kW charging which will allow it to fill the battery up to 80 percent in just 12 minutes. Based off this information alone, we would argue that the Tesla Model S P100D is in for some worthy competition at long last.
The Audi e-tron SUV sports a 95 kWh battery pack and around 350 horsepower, while its total range probably won’t exceed 250 miles. The Porsche Taycan should be able to squeeze as much as around 600 ponies from the same battery pack thanks to larger electric motors. It’ll also apparently deliver around 310 miles of range, but only in lower output models most likely. The upcoming 2020 e-tron GT should slot right in between the Audi SUV and Porsche sedan in terms of available power, but its total range will likely suffer, falling below the e-tron SUV’s 250-mile threshold. Whatever happens to be the case, the Volkswagen Group has evidently learned some valuable lessons from the “Dieselgate” scandal. They’re obviously working around the clock to redeem themselves, and we have to say we like what we see.
06. 2020 S3
The third-generation Audi A3/S3 has been around since 2012, prompting the Germans to finally treat their smallest U.S. offering with a long-awaited makeover. The next-gen S3 has already been caught testing in a hatchback form which won’t make it stateside. Imagine it with a longer rear overhang, though, and you have your S3 sedan that’ll arrive at dealerships across the country in time for MY 2020. After all, they’re basically the same car but with a different body. The new Audi S3 gets the same frontal fascia treatment as the flagship fourth-gen A8 introduced a couple of years beforehand. It’s also wider and leaner than the outgoing model, especially thanks to pronounced rear wheel arches that can’t be missed.
The next-gen Audi A3/S3 will share underpinnings with the new VW Golf scheduled to appear a few months earlier than Audi’s subcompact. They’ll also share the same powertrains as they’ve been doing for some time now. In the S3’s instance, that’ll be a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine shared with the Golf GTI. Outgoing models generated 292 ponies and 280 pound-feet of torque, but the new models could reportedly make as much as 350 horsepower. They could also feature a mild-hybrid system that would boost their fuel economy and provide that extra boost when necessary. The rest of the 2020 S3 innards, including the transmission, are still unknown at the moment. Additional info will follow after the Frankfurt motor show at which the next-gen Golf is scheduled to make its first official appearance.
05. 2020 RS Q3
Much like they’ve decided to update the smallest sedan offered in the U.S., the Germans have also started working on the second generation of their smallest U.S. crossover. The 2020 Audi Q3 will be a scaled-down Q5 in terms of overall design – with the Q5 only recently having undergone a full makeover itself. However, the subcompact luxury crossover will be available from under $35,000, whilst the compact Q5 costs well-north of the $40,000 mark. The most potent subcompact crossover within the Audi arsenal, however, won’t be as cheap. It will easily eclipse the entry-levels of the larger model by starting from around mid-$50k range before extras. The RS Q3 will have an ample amount of upgrades to offer in order to justify its hefty sticker, though. A sporty suspension, larger brakes, and of course a much more powerful powertrain should do the job.
Speaking of the RS Q3’s powertrain, it’s still unclear which unit the U.S. market models will be fitted with. The current-generation RS Q3 which is available overseas sports a 2.5L turbocharged inline-five mill capable of developing between 340 hp in stock form and 367 hp in the Performance trim. If the Germans decide to offer the upgraded version of the same engine stateside, expect it to make north of 400 horsepower in order to remain competitive with the future Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 which will reportedly offer a similar output. The regular Audi Q3 should hit the dealerships during MY 2019, but the RS version of the small crossover will likely trail by six months or so, effectively making it a 2020-year model.
04. 2020 RS 7
Since there’s very little chance the vaunted RS 6 Avant wagon will make it to the U.S., we’ll have to content ourselves with the next best thing, and that would be the RS 7 fastback. Although the RS 7 sportback sedan won’t be able to offer the Avant’s superlative cargo space which amounts to almost 60 cubic feet with rear seats folded, it’ll still manage to mimic the wagon’s power output. More on that later, though. Suffice it to say, the upcoming 2020 Audi RS 7 will be much more potent than the current model. It’ll also don a new facelifted frontal and rear fascias, but no major changes are expected to occur considering the second generation had only debuted for MY 2018. This will be one of many future Audi Sport models which are bound to increase in numbers much like their electric counterparts. The Germans are planning on expanding their performance portfolio to 16 vehicles by 2020 and the RS 7 should be the most powerful of them all.
The mentioned power will come from the company’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 mill already used in the likes of Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, and Porsche Panamera Turbo. The new Audi RS 7 is supposed to squeeze around 650 ponies from it which is a considerable increase over the current model’s 605 horsepower. That, of course, won’t be everything the Germans are cooking for us. Like the current model, the 2020 RS 7 will also be offered in both the regular and performance guises. The more potent of the two will utilize the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s electric motor and battery pack for a possible 700 plus horsepower output. The Panamera Turbo hybrid itself develops 671 horses at the moment. Accompanying the updated new V8 powerplant will be an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic and a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Currently, the RS 7 is worth around $114,000 for the base model and $131,000 for the Performance version, so expect these prices to rise slightly come MY 2020.
03. 2020 A8 Horch
Last time a Horch car was still in mass production, the world was largely at war. Winston Churchill had just taken the reign as a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the first time, while Franklin D. Roosevelt had won his unprecedented third term as president of the United States. Considering the year was 1940, you’re excused if Horch sounds just like another random German surname. August Horch was anything but a random German, though. He founded both Horch and Audi (after being ousted from his namesake company) and went full circle after being offered a position in the Auto Union board. Auto Union, if you didn’t know, is the predecessor to modern-day Audi and was established in 1932 by merging of four German automakers including DKW, Wanderer, Horch, and Audi. Horch cars were always a level or two above Audi, though. Much like Cadillac and Buick, or better yet, Maybach and Mercedes-Benz. This is exactly why the Germans are planning on reviving the Horch brand as Audi has never been considered as premium an automaker as its Stuttgart-based rival.
Enter the 2020 Audi A8 Horch – an ultra-luxury upcoming flagship sedan which is poised to take on the Mercedes-Maybach S Class. It’ll be built on a long-wheelbase A8 chassis and, naturally, fitted with one of the largest engines the Volkswagen Group has to offer at this moment. This might mean we’ll once again see an Audi with a W12 engine under the hood – exciting news for the Americans as we’ve yet to see this combination stateside. The company’s 6.0L twin-turbo unit is currently detuned to 585 horsepower in the current-gen A8 available overseas, but the luxury U.S. version would surely be set free and available with much more than that. It would also be the last Audi with this particular cylinder configuration as the four ring company is looking to establish itself as more environmentally-oriented in the future. If the mighty W12 doesn’t make it, fear not. The Germans still have a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 which can generate even more than the venerable W12 when properly configured. Expect the A8 Horch’s prices to land in the mid-to-high $100k region depending on chosen technology and luxury packages, which should be abundant.
02. 2020 RS5
The RS5 finally arrived at U.S. dealerships during MY 2019 and it’s safe to say it’ll remain one of the coolest Audi models for years to come. The stylish sports coupe offers everything you might expect from it, and more. It’s sexy, powerful, and above all, comfortable. The RS5 directly competes with the BMW M4 and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 coupe while leaving both in the dust while costing less money to begin with. Of course, both of its competitors can be outfitted with additional performance packages, but that’ll only raise their price tags further. The RS5 offers a blistering 3.7-second 0 to 60 mph acceleration for just south of $70,000 and that’s something neither of its rivals can boast. Although its donor car – the A5’s current generation – debuted back in 2016, the current models ride on an updated MLB platform.
The new RS5 also gets an updated engine. Actually, it received a completely new 2.9L twin-turbo V6 mill which replaced a larger naturally aspirated 4.2L V8. At 444 horsepower, the final power output remains unchanged, but the new engine dramatically impacts the torque curve. Instead of the naturally aspirated engine’s 317 lb-ft, the twin-turbo now delivers 443 pound-feet of rotational force. Needless to say, both the power and torque peaks arrive much earlier with the new engine as well. A transmission is also new. Instead of a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the new RS5 sports an 8-speed ZF unit. The Quattro all-wheel drive system remains a mandatory option in the new 2-door coupe and so does a standard torque-vectoring sport differential. There’s also an option to upgrade the RS5’s regular brakes with larger carbon-ceramic units – alongside a number of other features – at extra cost, of course. However, as mentioned already – even without them, the RS5 is a quicker car than its direct rivals.
01. 2020 RS Q8
The range-topping Q8 SUV only arrived recently, but the Germans are already working on not one, but two performance versions of the car. You guessed it – we’re talking about the SQ8 and RS Q8. The latter of the two is set to become the most potent Audi crossover in existence and one of 16 future Audi Sport models bound to arrive by 2020. Right now, the RS Q3 serves as the only crossover graced by Audi’s sport performance division. The performance version of the full-size three-row Q8 SUV will use the same underpinnings as the regular model, only with an alternatively tuned suspension. Larger disks will also poke the eyes from behind specially-designed wheels, whereas Audi Sport’s signature large oval exhausts are supposed to serve as a more potent exhaust system’s final piece. The Germans will pit the RS Q8 against the likes of the BMW X6 M, Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63, and Range Rover Sport SVR with prices reflecting that fact and likely starting from north of $100,000.
While the regular Q8 is using a 3.0L twin-turbo V6, and SQ8 might come with an uptuned version of the same or similar engine, the 2020 RS Q8 will get a full cylinder treatment thanks to a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 mill. It’ll probably be similar to a version used in the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera Turbo, which means it could well make north of 550 horsepower which is right up the aforementioned future competitors’ alleys. If the Audi performance division decides to utilize a hybrid system like that which can be found in its Porsche counterparts, the RS Q8 could even surpass the 680-horsepower mark. The numbers are only speculation at this moment, but a 4.0L V8 is sure to serve as the forthcoming RS Q8’s centerpiece. We’ll see how things play out sometime in 2019 as test mules hidden behind the regular Q8 frame have already been caught testing a while ago.
What’s Not in the New 2020 Audi Lineup
02. 2020 TT
The third-generation TT coupe and roadster was introduced to the U.S. market back in 2016, although its global production started a year before. By 2020, Audi’s dedicated 2-door will be a venerable sports car – opposite to what its character is supposed to be about. The Germans are preparing a minor facelift in order to counter the TT’s aging process, though. Question is: will it be enough to freshen the 2-door up and prolong its life? The answer would have to be “probably”. Although the third-generation will continue for a while beyond MY 2020, the quality of Audi’s coupe and roadster likely won’t be the same. Simple cosmetic changes won’t hide the fact the TT is currently one of the oldest Audi models offered in the U.S. despite being introduced not that long ago. There are simply no old models within the Audi lineup at the moment, and there’ll be even fewer of them in a year or two.
The Audi TT can be obtained in all three of the automaker’s performance ranges, but only if you’re shopping for a coupe. The roadster can only be had in the mildest of packages. The regular TT and middle-ground TTS coupes both use the same 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with either 220 hp or 292 hp respectively. The range-topping TT RS, on the other hand, gets a beefier 2.5L turbocharged inline-five mill for a hefty 400 hp output. Although no major powertrain changes are expected to occur after the proposed facelift, the 2020 TT coupes and convertibles might add a few more horsepower to their already respectable outputs. With more than 400 ponies on tap, the TT RS could become even more of a hardcore sports car than it already is. Expect the prices to remain steady as well, with coupes ranging from around $45,000 to $66,000 with the TT convertible warranting close to $49,000.
01. 2020 Q7
Introduced back in late 2015, the second-generation Q7 is another one of Audi’s senior models. The full-size SUV crossover still hasn’t received the facelift it’s due, but that should happen by the time MY 2020 arrives. Still, the three-row SUV will be one of the oldest Audi vehicles by then which doesn’t work in its favor, despite being one of the better options in its class available on the U.S. market. The mentioned third row was never meant for adults, especially larger ones, and the Q7’s cargo room isn’t any better in that respect. The new frontal fascia and tail-lights on the outside alongside minor design tweaks and new materials on the inside won’t fix that. The 2020 Q7 should retain its current price range with possible inflation adjustments which means it should start from around $50,000. That said, its higher echelons could come perilously close to a six-digit mark if fully equipped.
There’s very little chance the Germans will do something radical with the Q7’s powertrain options. Either a 2.0L turbo-four or a 3.0L supercharged V6 should carry over. A likely addition of a mild-hybrid system should render the mentioned engines more powerful and fuel-efficient at the same time, though. At the moment, the smaller engine develops 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque while returning up to 21 miles to the gallon combined. The more powerful V6 generates 333 ponies and 325 pound-feet of twist and manages to achieve the same fuel economy ratings in the process. Its only apparent downside is a $6,500 sticker, but that shouldn’t be an issue for people usually in the market for such a vehicle. All in all, the Audi Q7 is commendable in most segments and one of the best available options in its class, but could still benefit from more substantial improvements which would arguably put it atop its class.