Audi is going all-in on EVs. The E-Tron crossover kicked off Ingolstadt's plunge into electricity on a mass scale with its arrival in 2018 (not counting the short-lived R8 E-Tron), joined by sleek E-Tron Sportback the following year and the E-Tron GT sedan earlier in 2021. Now that lineup grows by two with the introduction of the Audi Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron.
These two new compact offerings debut as direct competitors to other EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, and Audi's Volkswagen ID.4 cousin, among others. Audi touts a trio of trim levels (for Europe, at least – it's unclear which models will make their way Stateside), with two battery options and both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations at launch.
The Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron will go on sale in Germany beginning in June, with a starting price of €41,900. The US should see both models arrive closer to the end of the year, with Audi noting a starting price of "under $45,000," not including the available $7,5000 in federal incentives.
Pick Your Battery Power
At launch, the Q4 E-Tron will come in three different flavors, offer two battery options, and feature two motor layouts. The base Q4 35 model will wield the smallest 52-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a single electric motor at the rear, giving it 168 horsepower (125 kilowatts) and 229 pound-feet (310 newton-meters). The base Q4 is rear-wheel drive only, naturally, and will sprint to 60 miles per hour in a rather sluggish 9.0 seconds. The Q4 35 also achieves 212 miles (341 kilometers) on the European WLTP cycle while the slinky Sportback model will do 217 miles (349 km). Expect those figures to be less in the US on the EPA scale.
The mid-range Q4 40 E-Tron, meanwhile, gets a larger 77.0-kWh battery pack and a single electric motor on the rear axle. That setup produces 201 hp (150 kW) and 229 lb-ft, power again sent exclusively to the rear wheels. This model takes 8.5 seconds to hit 60 and achieves the best range of the bunch – 323 miles (520 km) on the WLTP cycle. If those specs look familiar, that's because the mid-range Q4 is pretty much identical to the current Volkswagen ID.4 – although Audi is adamant that the engineering and tuning is unique to the Q4.
At the top of the range is the Q4 50 E-Tron, which has the larger 77.0-kWh battery pack and two electric motors – one on the front axle and another on the rear. This is the only way you can get a Sportback model in the US. But this model is good for 295 hp (220 kW) and 339 lb-ft (460 nm), with the ability to hit 60 in 6.2 seconds. The Q4 50 E-Tron also achieves 303 miles (488 km) on the WLTP cycle in the normal body style or 309 miles (497 km) in the Sportback body style, with a maximum charging capacity of 125 kilowatts. Furthermore, the base 35 and 40 models can tow more than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms), while the range-topping 50 version will tug 2,654 pounds (1,203 kg).
|Q4 35 E-Tron||52-Kilowatt-Hour||One||168 HP / 229 LB-FT||212 - 217 Miles|
|Q4 40 E-Tron||77-Kilowatt-Hour||One||201 HP / 229 LB-FT||323 Miles|
|Q4 50 E-Tron||77-Kilowatt-Hour||Two||295 HP / 339 LB-FT||303 - 309 Miles|
Borrowed Styling, Distinct Dimensions
It's obvious at first glance that the Q4 E-Tron adopts a number of visual cues from its larger E-Tron siblings, like the faux hexagonal grille on the front fascia and the distinctive full-width LED light bar in the rear. Otherwise, the compact crossover wears a few distinctive cues that help it stand out – the Sportback model, in particular, gets a slinkier roofline in the rear versus the traditional tapered shape of the normal Q4. Buyers can also choose from available 19-, 20-, and 21-inch wheel options unique to this model, and up to eight exterior colors. One thing the American market won't' get, though, are Europe's fancy Matrix LED headlights. Those still aren't legal in the US.
Size-wise, these two Audis are pretty tiny – even for compacts. The Q4 twins have a wheelbase of 109.0 inches (2.8 meters) and measure in at 15.1 feet (4.6 meters) long, making them nearly half an inch shorter than the Tesla and Mustang in both respects. The track width is also 62.4 inches (1,585 millimeters) up front and 61.6 inches (1,565 mm) in the rear, which again, is narrower than both the Ford and Tesla.
Even with those shrunken dimensions, though, Audi thoughtfully packaged the interior to use all of the available space. Designers and engineers extracted 18.4 cubic feet from the cargo hold behind the second row in the standard Q4, and 52.6 cubes with the second row folded flat. The Sportback model, meanwhile, actually has more space behind the second row – a solid 18.9 cubic feet of room. And with the second row folded flat, that number grows to 51.6 cubes.
In terms of materials, Audi will offer buyers the choice of either artificial or Nappa leather. The S Line model, specifically, will come standard with the real hide. Joining the faux leather is a high-quality Dinamica trim that looks and feels like suede but consists of 45 percent recycled materials. Trim options like wood and aluminum will also be available, as well as plastic on the base model.
Biggest. Touchscreen. Ever (In An Audi).
The Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron come standard with a 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen with a digital instrument cluster. Optional is a larger 11.6-inch touchscreen with the more advanced MMI Plus setup with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. That optional screen is the largest offered on any Audi product to date, and the Q4 has a few features that you won't find any other Audi products as of yet: a "Hey, Audi" voice assistant and an optional augmented reality head-up display.
The new augmented reality is unique from some others you might have seen, “projecting” images on the windshield at an average distance of 32.8 feet from the driver. Things like arrows and waypoints will show up slightly further depending on the situation, but the general field of view is 70 inches diagonally and combines with a picture generation unit (or PGU) and an LCD screen. That's all to say: The picture should be crystal clear.
The Q4 also adopts an "E-Tron Route Planner," which calculates the fastest route and the best options for DC fast charging on the way. The route planner also tells you things like driving time, charging time, and estimated range at arrival. Plus the Q4 also gets an optional advanced Sonos speaker system with an output of up to 850 watts. And as Audi notes, this is the first Sonos system in any car – not just any Audi.
Pricing And Availability
German buyers will be able to get their hands on the new Audi Q4 E-Tron as early as this summer, with a starting price of 41,900 (not including a possible 9,000 subsidy). In the US, the Q4 won’t go on sale until the end of 2021. Audi has few specifics on pricing but promises that the asking price will be under $45,000, not including up to $7,500 worth of rebates.