An Entry Level Luxury BEV That Audi Buyers Will Feel At Home In
While many brands are just now dipping their toes into the battery electric vehicle pool, Audi has been swimming around in it for quite a few years, and is making even more waves with perhaps their most significant stride yet, this Q4 e-tron. So, let’s dive in for the details.
The e-tron name has been floating around Audi since 2009, originally signifying both their plug-in hybrid and all-electric concept and production vehicles. But it officially became the sub-brand for their fully electric lineup with the launch of 2019’s Audi e-tron SUV. Next up was the high-performance e-tron GT, and Audi has now followed that up with this entry-level 2022 Q4 e-tron crossover.
Available in BOTH regular SUV shape and Sportback flavor, we chose the Sportback. Its easily one of the best looking BEVs yet; and while we’re not generally in favor of giving up practicality for style, there isn’t a lot of compromise in this electric.
Based on VW’s modular EV platform, shared with the ID.4, there’s not much about the Q4 Sportback that screams all-electric. It sure doesn’t look much different from any of the other stylish European utility vehicles you see zipping down the road these days. Audi has kept a very traditional looking face, full of grille-work, only it’s mostly blocked off. While all Q4s have a descending roofline, the Sportback shape means it descends much more dramatically than the on the regular Q4.
One thing, a rear spoiler wraps over the rear glass creating a split see-through from the driver’s seat. Another thing is innovative lighting. The Q4 e-tron’s LED daytime runners are switchable between 4 different themes.
Driving this Sportback e-tron feels incredibly normal, in that it doesn’t really feel like a battery electric at all. Power is plentiful but not overwhelming; and both steering and braking have a very natural feel. A 201-horsepower single-motor rear-wheel drive setup is standard in the Q4 with a range of 265–miles; but the Sportback comes standard with the dual-motor quattro all-wheel-drive arrangement outputting a combined 295–horsepower and 339 lb-ft. of torque.
Both share the same 82-kWh battery. The Q4 Sportback’s range is rated at 241-miles; we drove 216 using 94% of the battery capacity, putting realistic range right around 230-miles. ’23 models, which are just going on sale as this test airs, will get a slight increase of range. Efficiency rating is a good 36 kWh/100 miles.
The Q4 Sportback’s interior feels more spacious than you would think based on its compact coupe-styled SUV shape, with an almost Honda-like attention to detail when it comes to thoughtfully placed storage. There’s a heavy use of recycled materials, which all look great. The 10-inch MMI touchscreen is oriented slightly towards the driver, mounted high in the dash, well-separated from the traditional-looking hooded gauge display, which is Audi’s 10-inch digital cockpit.
Cargo capacity is a great 24.8 cubic-ft.; folding the rear seatbacks bumps it up to 53.1. A sliding gear selector works well, positioned high on a floating console-like panel. We shifted to Drive and headed for our Mason Dixon Dragway proving grounds.
Like its VW ID.4 counterpart, the Q4 doesn’t explode powerfully off the line as some EVs do, taking more of a measured approach to gaining speed; but our 5.8-second trip to 60 is plenty fast for an entry-level luxury utility. Power delivery stayed smooth and steady for the entire ¼-mile, finishing in 14.4-seconds at 97 miles-per-hour.
On our handling course, the Q4 Sportback really came alive, with good steering feel, minimal understeer, and mild body roll. Grip was quite impressive, encouraging us to push harder and harder with each run. It’s a heavy toddler, yes, but also very responsive, solid-feeling, and just a pure joy to drive with enthusiasm. Panic stops from 60 averaged a good 114-feet, and that’s with drum brakes on the rear axle believe it or not. The pedal feels soft initially, but firms up nicely as travel progresses.
Pricing for the standard single-motor Q4 e-tron SUV starts right around $50,000; with the all-wheel-drive Sportback starting at $59,395.
As Audi continues to expand their BEV offerings, they’re doing it in what we feel is the best way possible, which is keeping them very Audi-like; giving buyers of this Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron not only a highly stylish fully-electric alternative, but one that Audi fans will feel right at home in.
Torque: 339 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.4 seconds at 97 mph
60-0 Braking: 114 feet (avg)
MW Range: ~ 230 miles
EPA Range: 241 miles
Efficiency Rating: 36 kWh/100 miles