German automaker Audi is courting mainstream EV buyers with its newest all-electric crossovers: The 2022 Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. They are the first electric Audi vehicles to utilize parent company Volkswagen’s MEB platform, the same architecture underpinning the VW ID.3 (not coming to America) and ID.4 crossover (which is here now).
Both the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are mechanically identical, with the only differences being styling and aerodynamics. The Q4 e-tron has a conventional SUV shape like the Audi Q3 and Q5, whereas the Q4 Sportback e-tron has a coupe-like vibe with its sloping roofline. And due to its curvier silhouette, the Sportback’s drag coefficient is only 0.26 Cd, two points better than the Q4 e-tron’s 0.28 Cd.
Audi Q4 e-tron & Q4 e-tron Sportback: Identical Twins?
From the nose to the B-pillar, the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback are virtually identical. Both vehicles even share the same headlight and taillight clusters. The Sportback model is, well, sportier-looking with its rakish top, hatchback-style rear windshield, and rear spoiler. Both vehicles have striking proportions with muscular panels, short overhangs, and large wheel sizes.
In Europe, the Q4 e-tron and Sportback come with optional Matrix design LED headlights with customizable lighting signatures. It’s a feature similar to what you get in an RGB keyboard, only better. We’re not sure if U.S.-bound Q4 e-tron models will have this feature, but it’s high time we get those fancy Matrix LED lights and laser lights for a change.
Optional across the board is Audi’s sport suspension (15 mm lower ride height) and active air suspension. The Q4 e-tron Sportback has Audi drive select with multiple driving modes, while the same feature is optional in the Q4 e-tron.
Audi Q4 e-tron: How Much Range?
Official EPA figures are not yet available. However, Audi of America is quoting an estimated 250 miles of range for the mid-tier Q4 40 e-tron with a 201-horsepower single rear-mounted electric motor and 77 kWh battery pack. Audi claims zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, a limited top speed of 99 mph, and a WLTP-rated driving range of 323 miles in this spec.
Meanwhile, the base Audi Q4 e-tron (Q4 35 trim in Europe) has a 168-horsepower single electric motor and a smaller 52 kWh battery, enough for 212 miles of range (WLTP cycle) for the Q4 e-tron and 217 miles for the Sportback model. And since it has a less powerful electric motor, the base Q4 e-tron goes from zero to 60 mph in around nine seconds.
The range-topping Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron have two electric motors producing a combined 298 horsepower and 339 lb-ft. of torque. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds courtesy of electric quattro AWD. Powering the two motors is the same 77 kWh battery pack as the midrange model for a WLTP-rated range of 303 miles (309 miles for the Sportback).
The smaller 52 kWh battery supports DC fast-charging up to 100 kW and 7.2 kWh of AC charging, while the 77 kWh battery accepts up to 125 kW of DC fast-charging and up to 11 kW of AC juice.
Photo: Audi of America.
Premium, Roomy & Hi-Tech Interior
Size-wise, both Q4 e-tron crossovers are 3.5-inches shorter than a standard Audi Q5, but the former offers more room. Audi designers had the freedom to create a spacious and modern living room on wheels, given the absence of an internal combustion engine, conventional transmission, driveshaft, and other oily bits.
The Audi Q4 e-tron has a standard 10.25-inch digital cockpit and 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen infotainment system, the latter responding to natural voice control. There’s also a new steering wheel with touch-sensitive switches and paddle shifters to shift between different regeneration modes. The cabin is resplendent in genuine Nappa leather or your choice of sustainable materials like artificial cowhide and Dinamica microfiber. According to Audi, up to 31 percent of the Q4 e-tron’s cabin is made from recycled materials.
Also standard is an augmented reality heads-up display (AR-HUD) that makes it seem you’re in a video game while driving the Q4 e-tron. Other features include an automatic HVAC system and a premium Sonos audio system.
The Q4 e-tron offers 18.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats. Fold the seats down, and you have 52.6 cubic feet of storage room. The Q4 e-tron Sportback offers 18.9 cubic feet with the seats up and 51.6 cubic feet with them folded down. Additionally, the cabin has a bevy of cubby holes, cup holders, bottle holders, and storage compartments for all your stuff.
Photo: Audi of America.
Audi Warranty & Maintenance
Currently, every Audi comes with standard bumper-to-bumper coverage for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. As of this writing, Audi has not released all of the warranty details for the Q4 e-tron. Depending on how much you drive, it might be a good idea to invest in additional warranty coverage. This helpful guide covers what is included in an Audi extended warranty. Our research shows that the average Audi maintenance cost is between $200 and $300 every 10,000 miles for routine maintenance.
The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron will arrive first in Europe this June, followed by the Q4 Sportback e-tron in late summer. We reckon both Q4 models will be available at U.S. Audi dealerships later in 2021. Audi claims a base price of $45,000 with up to $7,500 in federal tax credits along with possible local and state tax incentives.
If Audi stays true to its pricing estimates, the 2022 Q4 e-tron and Sportback model will seriously give the Ford Mustang Mach-E and incoming BMW iX a run for the money. And if you haven’t noticed yet, the all-electric assault is in full swing. Audi plans to have at least 30 percent of its global portfolio consist of all-electric and plug-in hybrid offerings by 2025. And by the end of 2021, Audi will have no less than six all-electric models in its lineup, including the all-new Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.