$50K-$60K

$50K-$60K

A mysterious Audi SUV was recently spotted doing some runs on the Nurburgring . The sheer size of the vehicle suggests that this model could be the second generation Q7 . However, a recent confirmation from an Audi executive seems to indicate that this is not just an ordinary Q7, but the SQ7 that is scheduled to be released in 2016.

So why do we think that it’s the SQ7? It’s a little hard to catch but if you look closely, you’ll notice that it has a quad-pipe exhaust system instead of the dual-pipe setup on the standard Q7.

Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg has already confirmed to Autocar that the new Q7 will arrive next year. He also added that a more powerful SQ7 will come a year later. This spy video is the first indication that the car is right smack in the middle of development in time for its scheduled launch in 2016.

We don’t expect a whole lot aesthetic changes between the Q7 and the SQ7. But we do expect the latter to feature a completely different powertrain that could make use of a “supplemental electric charger” that will be used with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6 TDI engine and a lithium-ion battery.

Audi has already previewed this powertrain on a couple of concepts: the A6 TDI Concept and the RS 5 TDI-e Concept . The two concepts actually carried different iterations of this new powertrain technology. The A6 TDI used an electrically driven turbo combined with a single exhaust gas-driven turbocharger, whereas the RS 5 TDI used used a sequential twin-turbo system with a large and small turbocharger.

It remains to be seen what kind of engine configuration the SQ7 will carry but don’t be surprised if its hybrid system generates a little more than 370 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque output of the rumored Q7 e-Tron.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Audi SQ7.

The Challenger made its fateful return to Dodge’s lineup in 2008 following decades of remaining dormant. For the 2015 model year, the Challenger received a refresh that included a set of taillights that hark back to the 1971 model year. Those fancy taillights are small potatoes when compared to the big news of 2015, the addition of the 700-plus-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat.

The wait if finally over, ladies and gentlemen! Dodge has unleashed its most powerful Challenger ever — the Hellcat. Rumored since early last year and initially expected to show up at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, the monstrous muscle car was raised from the dark pits of Hell with a huge, supercharged, 6.2-liter, V-8 mill under the hood and an appearance that will make the Shelby GT500 tremble in fear.

Needless to say, the Challenger Hellcat is the first product of the newly consolidated Dodge and SRT brands, a range-topping model that will sit above the already beefed-up 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker that we’ve seen during the New York Auto Show last month.

"The new 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is the ultimate performance muscle car," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Dodge president and CEO, naming it "a true GT car with an all-new driver-focused interior." The beastly coupe will be built at Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, but production won’t begin until the third quarter of 2014.

If you’re as excited as we are, waiting that long to see and drive the most powerful Challenger ever made will be painful to say the least. However, that gives us more than enough time to go through all the details and find out what the Hellcat is made of. Aside from the supercharged, V-8 HEMI we’re already drooling over...

Updated 07/16/2014: Pricing for the 2015 Challenger Hellcat SRT have been officially confirmed by Chrysler: $59,995 (excluding $995 destination and including $2,100 gas-guzzler tax; $1,700 gas-guzzler tax on models with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic).

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

There are a lot of special-edition BMW models in Japan. Don’t ask us why that’s the case but something about that market really speaks to the Bavarian automaker. We’re admittedly jealous about this fact, more so now that another special-edition Bimmer — a Z4 , no less! — is headed to the Asian.

It’s called the BMW Z4 sDrive 20i GT Spirit and it looks downright gorgeous. The model is exclusively earmarked for the Japanese market as BMW’s way of celebrating the BMW Sports Trophy team’s one-two finish in the Super GT series. Care to guess what car the team was racing in? Yep, a BMW Z4 GT3 .

That’s the reason why BMW has allocated all 60 units of the Z4 sDrive 20i GT Spirit for Japan at a price of 6.090 million yen — close to $60,000 as of 7/8/2014. No other country will get these cars, which again is making us really jealous. Care to spare a few here in America, BMW?

The list of modifications for this special-edition Z4 are limited to cosmetic upgrades, some of which actually pay homage to the Z4 GT3 race car. The Alpine White body is the same as the race car with the tri-color M graphics also making an appearance in the front section of the Z4.

Those are just the start of the exclusive touches given to this particular Z4. There’s plenty more in there that really brings out the best in this special-edition model.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW Z4 sDrive 20i GT Spirit.

The Porsche Boxster was introduced in 1996 as an entry-level, mid-engined sports car . It was Porsche’s first road-going roadster since the 550 Spyder, which was discontinued in 1956, and it didn’t receive an S version until 2000. Although it was received with mild criticism and seen as a departure from Porsche tradition, the Boxster quickly grew on enthusiasts to become the company’s biggest volume seller until the Cayenne SUV was launched in 2003. Initially motivated by a 2.5-liter, flat-six engine, the Boxster started receiving larger, 2.7-liter and 3.2-liter units later in its life. By 2005, a second-generation model had already been introduced and powerplants were upgraded to 2.9-liter and 3.4 liter flat-six mills. The third-gen Boxster (981) arrived for the 2013 model year with extensive visual updates, uprated engines and a brand-new GTS version scheduled for 2015. As we move into the 2016 model year, the Germans are rolling out a mid-cycle refresh for the Boxster, one that follows into the footsteps of the 911 and possibly welcomes an all-new engine to the lineup.

Our spy photographers caught the new Boxster out testing, and let us in on what details they could make out on the new roadster.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Porsche Boxster.

Porsche has spent years working on the 911 , but while that might be its ultimate sports car, the Boxster is one of its best sellers. When the Boxster debuted in 1997, enthusiasts first saw it as a disgrace to the Porsche name, as it was smaller and not as powerful as the iconic 911. The second-gen Boxster hit the market for the 2015 model year with a light nip-and-tuck job on the exterior and a huge overhaul on the inside. In 2013, the third-gen Boxster arrived with another evolutionary change to the body and a revised cabin. This look carries into the 2015 model year with only minor changes.

The Boxster and its hardtop sibling, the Cayman, are now an accepted part of the Porsche family. In fact, some enthusiasts consider them better driving than the 911, thanks to their mid-mounted engine, as opposed to the 911’s rear-mounted unit.

This belief that the Boxster may be a better driver was only compounded with the release of the GTS model for 2014. This model gained 20-inch wheels, Porsche Active Suspension Management and the Sport Chrono package. Oh, and I almost forgot that the GTS gained an extra 35 horses and 7 pound-feet of twist to go with its better handling.

Updated 07/03/2014: Porsche announced a series of upgrades for the 2015 Boxster which is now on sale. Changes include new exterior colors, new two-tone leather and a series of new options.

Hit the jump to read more on the Porsche Boxster.

Back in 2001, the Lexus IS 300 debuted to give the Japanese automaker a competitor for the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class. The IS 350 took its place in 2006 with a revised body and a new, 3.5-liter engine. The IS 350 received yet another redesign in 2014, giving it a more modern design to better handle the growing and changing luxury sedan realm. Markets other than the U.S. received a hybrid IS 300h for the 2013 model year (same as the U.S.-Spec 2014 model year) and at the tail end of 2014, the UK earns a new trim for the IS 300h dubbed the Executive Edition.

The Lexus IS 300h is the kind of car that already speaks for itself. It looks good, and it has an impressive and efficient powertrain. But every so often, a highly regarded car like the IS 300h is still subject to more improvements. Not that any of us are complaining because an even better equipped IS 300h means a more attractive model for customers. That’s what happened here after Lexus introduced a new Executive Edition model to the IS 300h range. The changes aren’t significant enough to completely change the model’s aesthetics, but it’s still significant enough to warrant our applause.

With all these add-ons, the IS 300h Executive Edition only costs £33,385, which is about $57,000 based on exchange rates (7/1/2014). That represents an increase of just £3,390 ($5,780), which is affordable enough for some new digs.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus IS 300h Executive Edition.

The Volkswagen Amarok is one of the youngest pickup trucks on the mid-size market. Launched for the 2010 model year, and assembled in both Germany and Argentina, the truck is sold with a range of four engines across the world, three of which use diesel as fuel. Currently the Amarok is not available in the United States, but word has it Volkswagen is considering a North American introduction in the near future.

The fact that Volkswagen is not bringing the Amarok pickup truck to the United States has become increasingly frustrating lately. Especially with so many special editions and trims offered across Europe. The Canyon and the Dark Label editions are the first that come to mind, but we also dig the Power Concept , which could turn into a cool, sportier version of the pickup.

And to rub more salt in our wounds, Volkswagen is introducing a new high-spec model to sit atop the Amarok lineup for the 2014 model year. Dubbed Amarok Ultimate, the new truck borrows the well-equipped status of the Highline model it is based on, and features additional visual and tech upgrades meant to increase its appeal.

Making things even better is the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel unit that comes with it. The mill is available in two flavors, packing 138 horsepower and 177 horsepower, respectively. Like with the rest of the Amarok lineup, the only downside of the Ultimate is its exclusive double-cab body configuration. There’s also the hefty sticker, which is set at €34,770 and €41,376.30 respectively ($47,158 and $56,135 as of 06/12/2014).

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

The 2014 Worthersee Festival was packed with numerous high-performance machines and shiny concept cars , but there’s at least one certain pickup truck that literally rocked the Austrian event. We’re talking about the Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept, a truck created not just to showcase the company’s more aggressive side, but equipped with everything it needs to be the life of the party.

The most intriguing part about this pickup is the 5000-watt sound system and the DJ equipment fitted in its spacious bed. The gear includes a 92 Allen & Heath DJ kit, a Pioneer CDJ900NXS player, two Void Acoustics Impulse 3T speakers, a Stasys Xair subwoofer and six micro speakers. That’s more than enough to make a lot of noise while throwing a cool party at the beach.

Speaking of pumping, the party truck is fitted with a 3.0-liter, V-6, diesel engine that’s equally impressive in terms of performance. With help from a turbocharged unit, the oil-burner delivers 268 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, and launches the Amarok from a 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 130 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen Amarok Power Concept.

I’d honestly not given the S5 much thought before this week. Why, when Audi offers up much flashier models like the R8, RS7, and upcoming TT? It wasn’t until I drove the 2014 S5 Coupe that I discovered this hidden gem in Audi’s lineup. It might not be the most powerful version of the coupe, but with 333 supercharged horses under its mile-long hood and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sending power to all four wheels, I found myself finding excuses to go for a drive.

It hit me midway through the week that my black-on-black tester with satin chrome accents looks like something Bruce Wayne would drive when not fighting crime in the Batmobile. Its two-door architecture, sleek profile, and menacing color scheme lends itself for the perfect, if not stereotypical, wealthy bachelor’s car. The techno-filled cockpit further solidifies my thoughts as I found myself impressed with the level of refinement in Audi’s MMI infotainment system.

While the S5 might be better suited to a Bruce Wayne kind of lifestyle, it still performed decently enough when the time came to chauffeur the kids around. Yes, a full-sized child seat fits in the back seat. Ingress and egress was made easier by a quick-release lever on the front seatbacks that allowed the chairs to move forward without losing its last position. It afforded just enough room for crawling back to buckle the kiddo.

But a minivan this thing is not. The S5 is more at home on twisty, backcountry roads and making time on the interstate. Its demeanor changes with the driver’s mood – even without changing the Audi Drive Select system. The S5 makes a great grand touring car capable of long-distance travel and short distance track runs.

Click past the jump for the full review

Our spy photographers confirmed last month’s rumor about Mercedes-Benz working on a brand-new C-Class to fill the gap between the C400 and the more powerful C63 AMG . This confirmation comes by way of a wagon version of the C450 AMG Sport stretching its legs in Germany.

Caught completely undisguised, the second-brawniest current-generation C-Class Wagon sports a more aggressive front bumper that doesn’t stray too far from the piece seen on the regular model and an AMG-style grille that carries just one horizontal bar.

Around back, the differences are less noticeable, with only a dual-exhaust system catching our eyes. The wagon also benefits from a different set of wheels that are similar to some we’ve seen recently from AMG. The "4MATIC" badge on the rear hatch suggests the C450 AMG Sport will arrive with all-wheel-drive.

Scheduled to hit the market sometime in 2015, both the sedan and wagon versions of the C450 will carry a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6. This engine puts out 329 horsepower in the C400 model, so it wouldn’t shocked us to see the hotter C450 AMG Sport carry more than 370 ponies.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mercedes C450 Sport AMG Wagon.


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