These latest e-tron models arrive at a more attainable starting price.
With a $65,900 price tag, the Audi e-tron isn't quite what we'd call an attainable electric vehicle for the masses. But we knew Audi planned to reveal more e-tron models, including a smaller Q4 to combat the Tesla Model Y. Today, the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and 2022 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron arrive as the most affordable entrants in the e-tron range. These models have already entered production in Germany following a lengthy teaser campaign. Though the Q4 and Q4 Sportback e-tron are less expensive than the larger e-tron and e-tron Sportback, their specs are anything but disappointing.
Audi will offer both variants with one battery configuration, an 82 kWh unit with 77 kWh of usable capacity. For reference, the Mustang Mach-E offers 68 to 88 kWh battery options. The base Q4 40 e-tron produces 201 horsepower going out to the rear wheels, while the Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro models add a second electric motor with all-wheel drive and approximately 295 horsepower.
To maximize efficiency, the asynchronous front motor only activates when grip is needed and it doesn't use any energy or create any load resistance when it isn't in use. The rear motor is a permanently synchronous unit like the one found in the Audi e-tron GT revealed earlier this year. Like the e-tron GT, the Q4 models feature regenerative brakes controlled by steering wheel paddles. An onboard heat pump is available to control the interior climate and further improve efficiency.
EPA range estimates are not available yet, but Audi has conducted preliminary tests and predicts the Q4 40 e-tron will go 250 miles on a charge. These vehicles can charge at up to 11 kW with AC, and up to 125 kW on a DC fast charger. Based on similar measurements from the Volkswagen ID.4, the Q4 should charge from 5% to 80% in under 40 minutes on a fast charger. Drivers will be able to cater their driving experience with Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic, and Individual drive modes.
Both vehicles are highly aerodynamic, with a 0.28 drag coefficient on the standard Q4 and an even lower 0.26 figure on the Sportback. The Q4 and Q4 Sportback look pretty similar in the front, with an enclosed single-frame grille, available Matrix design LED headlights with customizable daytime running light signatures, short overhangs, large wheels, and sculpted panels. Things get different in the rear of the Q4 Sportback. That model features a coupe-style roofline with a two-part window. It even gets a cool spoiler that splits the glass like an old Ford Escort Cosworth.
Audi says the Q4 models have similar proportions to the gas-powered Q5. And since the electric drivetrain allowed Audi's engineers to eliminate the traditional center tunnel, interior space should be comparable to the Q5 as well. The rear legroom should be generous due to the EV layout but trunk space in the Q4 Sportback will be smaller than the standard Q4.
This is not the first time we've seen the Q4's cabin, and it looks like a familiar Audi design. A 10.1-inch MMI touch display sits at the center paired with either a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster or the optional virtual cockpit. The Q4 gets some specific design elements including a new steering wheel with touch surfaces, and a separate floating panel for the shifter with storage and wireless charging underneath.
The Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron will arrive at US dealerships towards the end of 2021. Pricing is expected to start at $45,000 (plus up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives), making it only $2,000 more than a base Mustang Mach-E and around $5,000 less than the least expensive Tesla Model Y. Additional details about trim levels and options will come closer to the on-sale date.