Audi is primed to bring premium electric mobility to the heart of the market with the introduction of the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron.
Revealed on Wednesday and due out later this year, the new Q4 e-tron electric SUV is company’s cheapest electric model with a planned starting price below $45,000 before incentives.
The Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are Audi’s fourth and fifth dedicated electric vehicle, following the e-tron, e-tron Sportback and recently unveiled e-tron GT. The Q4 e-tron are Audi’s the first to be based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB EV platform – as used for the entire VW ID lineup and Skoda and Seat EVs.
With the addition of these models, Audi plans to have more fully electric models on sale in the U.S. than any other luxury brand by the end of 2021.
The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are expected to arrive in the U.S. toward the end of 2021. Further details will be provided for pricing of trim level-specific packages closer to on-sale timing. Pricing for the Q4 e-tron model line is planned to start under $45,000 and it is anticipated that it may qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives as well as possible local and state tax incentives, depending on the owner’s municipality.
For urban commuters and long-distance drivers
The drive portfolio of the two electric SUV models lives up to the expectations of a wide range of customers – from the urban commuter to the long-distance driver. The entry Q4 40 e-tron has an estimated output of 150 kW, while the top-of-the-range Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro offer two electric motors with all-wheel drive. The combination of the two motors delivers a maximum estimated output of 220 kW.
For efficiency, the motor on the front axle comes into action only when high power or a strong grip is needed, with the electric all-wheel drive featuring a temporary on-demand asynchronous motor (ASM) for the front wheels. An asynchronous motor’s key advantage, especially on the front axle, is that it does not use any energy when it is not needed and does not add load resistance, keeping efficiency similar to that of the rear-wheel-drive Q4 40 e-tron.
The rear motor in all models is a permanently excited synchronous motor, similar to what is found in the Audi e-tron GT introduced earlier in the year. Its advantages are instant torque and efficiency. Another important factor in energy-saving driving is intelligent recuperation, which also incorporates navigation and topographical data. Optimal recuperation remains a priority with three-stage operation selected through the available paddles on the steering wheel as well as through brake pedal modulation.
Battery and thermal management
The two power outputs are achieved by a single battery configuration – 77 kWh net (82 kWh gross). For optimal efficiency, the available onboard heat pump uses the waste heat from the high-voltage modules and the ambient air to control the climate in the interior. This makes another contribution to increasing efficiency, especially on longer drives. Active thermal management of the battery is achieved with external cooling through the vehicle’s base plate, while coolant circuits can be flexibly combined.
Audi’s two new electric SUV models can be charged with different outputs using alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) – up to 11 kW with AC, and up to 125 kW DC on a high-speed charger. Preliminary manufacturer’s estimated range based on approximation of EPA test cycles for a full charge is aproximately 250 miles on the Q4 40 e-tron. EPA estimates not yet available at this time.
Audi’s next step: the exterior design
With the Q4 e-tron and the Q4 Sportback e-tron, Audi has taken the next step in electric model design language. The Q4 e-tron models bring design characteristics that impress thanks to the striking proportions – enclosed singleframe grille, short front overhangs, large wheels with staggered tires, and powerfully sculpted, muscular panels. All lines are drawn with the greatest precision, and the surface treatment is clear and deliberate. In the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, the especially low coupe-style roofline ends in an expressively designed rear where the spoiler sits deep on the two-part window. The brand’s progressive design is true to form in the Q4 e-tron, as functional as it is aerodynamic: The Q4 e-tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.28, and the Q4 Sportback e-tron gets to an even lower figure, with a drag coefficient of 0.26. Unique sculpted side mirrors further enhance aerodynamics as well as acoustics.
Keeping innovation at the forefront, even at the brand’s most accessible EV entry point, the Q4 e-tron electric SUVs offer available Matrix design LED headlights with customizable daytime running light signatures – a world first. The driver can switch between four running light signatures in the MMI touch operating system. At the rear, a light strip links the taillight units to each other and is available with animated coming-home and leaving-home functions. A choice of four exterior colors is available, with S line and black optic exterior elements offered as well.
Other design highlights:
- Muscular surfacing and athletic stance underscore the bold design and SUV proportions
- An interior featuring recycled materials and intelligent storage solutions throughout, including in-door water bottle holders, an in-console mobile device charge and stow compartment, and a customizable load floor in the cargo area
- Driver-oriented cockpit angles the MMI touch response display toward the driver while pairing seamlessly with the available Audi virtual cockpit
- Available newly designed flat-top and bottom steering wheel with capacitive hands-on detection further enhance driving expereince withn the premium interior
One vehicle for everything and everyone
Thanks to its versatility, the Audi Q4 e-tron model line is the perfect companion in every situation. Similar in exterior dimensions to the popular Audi Q5, at 4.59 meters long, the Q4 e-tron offers passengers new storage solutions, and offers versatility beyond existing vehicles in its segment. The available interior space is comparable to Audi’s bestselling Q5 SUV, with impressive packaging and extra space due to the elimination of a traditional center tunnel. The feeling of spaciousness is not just confined to the front seats – with generous legroom, passengers in the rear also benefit from the advantage of the EV-specific platform.
New ideas for a new era: the interior and operation
The premium interior of the Audi Q4 e-tron is spacious and airy; the instrument panel intentionally turned toward the driver. A separate floating panel houses the shifter under which is a convenient storage and wireless charging cradle for compatible devices. Also new is the steering wheel with its seamless touch surfaces, which the driver can use to control the digital instrument cluster. Infotainment and navigation are operated primarily using the central 10.1-inch MMI touch display, paired with the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster or optional virtual cockpit. The available integrated surround-view cameras are especially helpful when driving in the city, and parking in tight spaces. Natural voice control provides a third operating interface.
Keeping technology at the forefront, Audi Q4 e-tron models can be equipped with another innovation onboard – the augmented reality head-up display. It superimposes the information provided by certain driver assist and navigation features, integrating them with the real-life external view conveniently for the driver to see. This information is displayed dynamically in a large field of view, where it appears in a virtual, floating image at a perceived distance of roughly 30 feet or more from the driver – creating an integrated and eyes-forward experience. Enhancing the vehicles’ premium sound, Audi brings a new partner into the vehicle – the Sonos® premium sound system which combines lifestyle, technology, and design in a new dimension.
Confidence inspiring driving
The high-voltage battery of the Audi Q4 e-tron lies between the axles, which ensures a low center of gravity and a balanced distribution of weight for controlled and responsive handling when paired with a McPherson front axle and a five-link rear suspension. The control systems for the drive and suspension work closely together – driving the electric SUVs is sporty and comfortable all at the same time. Thanks to thoughtful design, an elevated driving position allows for a commanding road view for driver and passengers alike. Meanwhile, the Audi drive select system with different driving profiles offers the driver configuration of Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual.
The new electric SUVs offer a wealth of driver-assist systems to ensure comfort and ease of use. These include pre-sense, side and lane assist, and high beam assist. Navigating highway driving with greater ease, the adaptive cruise assist offers assistance with longitudinal and lateral guidance over the entire speed range and in traffic scenarios through a combined Traffic Jam assist. Coordinating with the assistance functions, predictive efficiency assist supports a forward-looking driving style that optimizes the consumption of energy.
Sustainability and quality
Audi plans to produce the Q4 e-tron with a net neutral carbon footprint. The plant in Zwickau, Germany is intented to be certified as net carbon-neutral, and will incorporate renewable electricity. Emissions that cannot be avoided are offset by climate protection projects certified by the TÜV, the German authority for product testing and certification. The measures will be designed to meet the strict requirements of the Gold Standard Foundation. The Zwickau plant follows several other Audi plants around Europe certified as net carbon-neutral in addition to suppliers focused on reducing their carbon footprint.
Audi’s electrification commitment
The Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron models represent the fourth and fifth fully electric additions to Audi’s U.S. portfolio and contribute toward the brand’s goal of achieving a 30% electrified model portfolio globally by 2025, including fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. By the end of 2021 the Audi BEV portfolio expects to be comprised of the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback, Audi e-tron GT and high-performance RS e-tron GT derivative, the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Q4 Sportback e-tron.
Audi was among the first automotive manufacturers to publicly support and align its actions toward the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The company has set itself the ambitious goal of reducing vehicle-specific CO2 direct emissions by 30% by 2025. Audi aims to achieve full net CO2 neutrality globally across the lifecycle of its vehicles by 2050.