Car.co.uk Weekly News - July 23 2021

Audi RS3 2021

Two very different Audis, more electric plans from Mercedes and Jeep creates a special edition Wrangler as a birthday present to itself.

Audi RS3 drifts in

Audi has finally pulled the camouflage off the new RS3 saloon and Sportback, both of which go on sale in August with first deliveries towards the end of the year. It’s likely to be the last RS3 without any form of electrification, instead relying purely on the 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol motor that now pushes out 400hp and 500Nm of torque. The little pocket rocket will hit 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and if you specify the op-tional Dynamic Pack then the top speed is 180mph. But that’s not as cool as the fact it has a new RS Torque Splitter and a mode called RS Torque Rear, or drift mode to the rest of us. There’s loads of other stuff too, updated interior with race-style digital instrumentation option, RS sports seats, optional carbon ceramic brakes, new driver assistance systems, but the one that will grab the attention is, drift mode. Ex-pect an advert with a person at the end very quickly saying something like: “RS Torque Rear should only be used on closed roads. Audi AG and its affiliates in no way condone the use of RS Torque Rear on public roads. Really we’ve only included it so you sound cool when you tell your mates you have it. Other terms and conditions may apply.” Something like that. Anyway, 400hp and drift mode, nice.

Mercedes turns on to electric avenue

The announcement this week by Mercedes-Benz that it will go all-electric is surprising, not that the company is going that way, but that it hadn’t announced this already. We thought everyone had done their drum beat-ing and was getting on with it. What it means is Merc is investing £34-billion pounds to make be all electric by the end of this decade, although it should be noted that it adds “where market conditions allow” to that. From 2022 there will be a battery-electric version of every model it sells and then all new architectures for its vehicles from 2025 will be electric-only. Basically anything it launches between now and then with petrol or diesel will continue past the end of the decade but anything from 2025 will be electric. What really grabbed our attention though is the development of the EQXX which is due next year with the promise of 6mi/kWh or a range of 621 miles. For those wondering about AMG, a platform called AMG.EA will launch in 2025 prom-ising all the performance although sadly for many, none of the noise. 

 

Electric Mercedes Cars - EV's of the future

Happy birthday to Jeep, happy birthday to Jeep

Jeep has updated its Wrangler including the introduction of a new petrol engine across the range which emits 10g/km less CO2 than the last model. Granted it still chucks out 243-251g/km but Jeep is working on its future electrified solutions. It’s the 80th birthday of the famous brand this year so obviously that means a special edition to celebrate. The Wrangler 80th Anniversary gets a metallic grey grille, leather interior, nine-speaker Alpine audio system and some 80th Anniversary badges. It probably looks more special in the metal than it sounds. 

Finally, another Audi, but not one you were expecting

Strangely quiet week unless you want to hear even more about car company strategies and results? You don’t? Ok, we understand. What we can do though is finish up as we started, with the reveal of an Audi. This is not one you will see in showrooms though because it’s the RS Q E-tron Dakar Rally Audi, set to take on the desert challenge in Saudi Arabia at the end of the year. Like Volkswagen’s Race Touareg, Audi’s con-tender looks nothing like a car you can buy, nor does it have the same technology. However, the company says it is a test bed for its future tech and so it has thrown everything in. This includes not one, not two, but three electric motors, almost identical to the ones used in the Audi Formula E car. One is on each axle and the other is used as an energy converter between the 50kWh battery pack and a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine which acts as a generator to produce power to keep the batteries charged up. The total power output is 670hp, although the organisers of the rally have not yet confirmed how much of that power the car will be allowed to use in the event. It will be very interesting to see how the RS Q E-tron compares to the regular entries when it takes to the start line.