The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Debuts As The Brand’s Sub-$50,000 Tesla Fighter: News

This has the best shot at being Audi's volume-selling EV

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron
The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron debuts to join its big brothers, but with a much lower price tag. (Photos: Audi)

Audi’s staking a bigger claim in EVs with the new Q4 e-tron and its Sportback sibling.

Virtually every automaker is vying for a slice of the electric car market, and Audi is no exception. With the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and the more stylish Q4 Sportback e-tron, the luxury marque is taking a shot at a segment absolutely dominated by the Tesla Model Y. These are physically smaller than the big e-tron, but even being more affordable they don’t fall short in the range department, as Audi claims at least 250 miles on a charge. While the e-tron starts at $65,900 and the sporty e-tron GT touches the six-figure mark, this Q4 starts at $45,000 before federal and state tax incentives.

Unlike its big brother, the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are based on parent Volkswagen’s modular MEB platform. The base Q4 40 e-tron available in the U.S. manages that 250-mile estimate from its 77 kWh (82 kWh gross) battery pack and just a single rear-mounted electric motor. The Q4 50 e-tron models, on the other hand, offer a greater punch, though Audi did not disclose the range difference for U.S. models. Audi also offers a lower-spec Q4 35 model with a smaller battery and less potent motor, but we won’t see that in the American market.

Size-wise, the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron is somewhat similar to the conventional Q5 crossover both inside and out. It is a bit shorter at 180.7 inches, and rides on a slightly shorter 108.8-inch wheelbase. Cargo capacity for the SUV is 18.4 cubic feet with the seats in place. Once you fold them, that expands to 52.6 cubic feet. Sportback models, as you’d expect, offer slightly less space.

Performance figures

In base spec, the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron serves up 150 kW, equivalent to 201 horsepower, and 229 lb-ft of torque. The more powerful Q4 50 e-tron gets a healthy 295 horsepower (220 kW) and 339 lb-ft of torque, thanks to the extra motor on the front axle. According to Audi, that motor only kicks in when “high power or a strong grip” is needed, by way of an on-demand asynchronous that won’t use any power or create any drag on the drivetrain when it’s not in use. 0-60 acceleration comes in at 8.5 seconds for the single-motor version, dropping to 6.2 seconds if you nab a Q4 e-tron with all-wheel drive.

The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron in any spec can accept DC fast charging up to 125 kW. On Level 2 AC charging, you get up to 11 kW. Under best-case conditions, Audi says the battery can charge from 5% to 80% in about 38 minutes.

The tech

Far from just making the grade on range or performance, the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron also needs to bring tech to the table. You do still get the brand-standard 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit and an MMI infotainment screen up to 11.6 inches. On base models, that screen comes in at 10.1 inches. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard fare, but the real headline addition is the virtual reality head-up display. Rather than just displaying speed and simple navigation directions, it superimposes information from the driver assistance and navigation systems within the driver’s field of view.

Outside, the new Q4 e-tron gets Audi’s Matrix LED headlights (but only for global models, sadly, as U.S. regulations prohibit them actively working here). A new first, though, comes with the customizable daytime running light signatures. The driver can switch between four available signatures through the MMI infotainment system, so you do have some options to customize how your car looks to passersby. At launch, four exterior colors will be available, along with the expected, sporty S line trim and its gloss black elements.

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron

On sale date and pricing

In Europe, Audi plans to hit dealers with the Q4 e-tron SUV and Sportback in June 2021. The car should arrive in the U.S. toward the end of the year. By then, the automaker should reveal more specific pricing information by trim. For now, they’ve said only that pricing starts at $45,000, before qualifying for the $7,500 federal tax incentive as well as local and state rebates.