2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron revealed: More affordable EVs

Audi has unveiled what will be its most affordable all-electric models, with the 2022 Q4 e-tron and 2022 Q4 Sportback e-tron promising a sub-$45k starting price and around 250 miles of range. Rather than chasing jaw-dropping performance, Audi has opted to take on the heartland of compact crossovers instead, making its pitch interior space, technology, and attainable refinement.

There's no shortage of reasons that these are important cars for Audi, but arguably the most significant is that they're its first to use VW Group's MEB platform. Designed specifically for EVs, and for affordable EVs at that, it should help bring the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron into far easier reach compared to the automaker's other electric models.

Q4 e-tron design

As with Audi's concepts, there are two body styles for the new electric crossover. The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron has a more traditional SUV shape, while the 2022 Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron gets a sloped roofline at the rear trunk. It also adds a spoiler midway up the rear glass, bisecting the window and adding aerodynamic efficiency.

The decision between the two isn't just a matter of style. The Sportback is actually more aero-effective: it has a coefficient of drag of 0.26, versus 0.28 for the SUV. That can help add more than 6 miles of range, model-depending, Audi says.

Both have the same short overhangs and wheels pushed out far into the corners. Matrix LED headlamps are optional – with a choice of four driver-selectable daytime running light patterns – and the grille is blanked out as with other Audi EVs to emphasize the electrification at play.

Sport suspension is optional, dropping the body by 15 mm; it's standard on S line packages. Audi drive select with multiple drive modes is optional on the Q4 e-tron and standard on the Q4 Sportback e-tron. Audi also offers active damper control for the suspension.

At the rear there's a body-spanning light bar, complete with subtly-glowing red Audi rings. The Sportback has an electric tailgate as standard, while the regular Q4 e-tron can be had with roof rails.

Audi Q4 e-tron range, batteries, and charging

Audi is announcing three versions each of the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron to begin with, at least for Europe. The entry-level model will have rear-wheel drive, with a single electric motor driving the rear wheels. Dubbed the Q4 35 e-tron it'll have a 52 kWh (net) battery, and offer 125 kW (168 horsepower) for a 0-62 mph time of 9.0 seconds and an electronically limited to speed of 99 mph. Audi expects the Q4 35 e-tron to achieve 212 miles on the WLPT cycle, while the Q4 Sportback 35 e-tron will do 217 miles.

The Q4 40 e-tron will have a 77 kWh net battery, and a single rear electric motor with 150 kW (201 hp). It will trim the 0-62 mph time to 8.5 seconds, though top speed is subject to the same 99 mph limit. It'll do up to 323 miles on the WLTP cycle, Audi estimates.

Finally, the Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro have two electric motors for a total of 220 kW (298 hp) and 339 lb-ft of torque. With electric all-wheel drive they'll do 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds, and have a top speed of 112 mph. With the standard 77 kWh battery, the Q4 50 e-tron will do 303 miles on the WLTP cycle, while the Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron will do 309 miles.

US EPA test results will be confirmed closer to the Q4 e-tron's release in America. However we're expecting the numbers to be lower than these, given the EPA cycle tends to be more conservative than the WLTP. Audi US is estimating 250 miles from the Q4 40 e-tron.

As for charging, the smaller battery supports up to 100 kW of DC fast charging, or up to 7.2 kW of AC charging. The larger battery nudges those numbers up to 11 kW on AC, and up to 125 kW with a DC fast charger. For the latter, figure on about 81 miles worth of range in roughly 10 minutes.

Inside, space from the segment above

Though 3.5 inches shorter than an Audi Q5 on the outside, the Q4 e-tron promises significantly more cabin space: more akin to SUVs in the class above, Audi says. That's down to the space-efficient packaging of EVs, with the battery slung under the floor and the electric motor – or motors – pushed out to the axels. There's no driveshaft to break up the middle of the cabin either, and Audi has pared back the traditional center console between the front seats too.

Instead you get raised rear seats with extra legroom. A panoramic glass sunroof is optional, while automatic air conditioning is standard; three-zone HVAC and a heated windshield are available. There's no shortage of cubbies in the cabin either, including space for big water bottles in all four door pockets, a big 4.4 liter storage compartment in the front, and multiple cup holders.

The Q4 e-tron has 18.4 cu-ft of trunk space, expanding to 52.6 cu-ft with the split rear bench folded. The Q4 Sportback e-tron offers 18.9 cu-ft or 51.6 cu-ft respectively. An optional moveable trunk floor can be set at two different height levels.

Audi already showed us the Q4 e-tron dashboard, including its MMI infotainment system, new steering wheel, Sonos audio system, and augmented reality head-up display (AR HUD). The new wheel has the revamped four-rings logo for the first time, and touch sensitive controls on the double-spokes. Heating is optional, as are paddle shifters which flip the EV through three levels of braking recuperation. 90-percent of braking is typically done via regen, Audi says.

As well as traditional leather and upgraded Nappa leather there'll be animal-friendly options like artificial leather and Dinamica microfiber. Puls upholstery will be offered in the S line interior. Aluminum dashboard trim has two different textures, while the wood version has 3D texturing. Altogether, Audi says, 31-percent of the interior of the Q4 e-tron is made up of recycled materials.

The infotainment gets either a 10.1- or 11.6-inch central touchscreen, while the driver gets a standard 10.25-inch digital instrumentation display. Optional is Audi's full virtual cockpit system. Natural language voice control – triggered with the "Hey Audi" wake-word – is standard, with local and online processing. There's also Audi's new AR HUD, which adds a second layer of graphics that appear to float over the roadway ahead.

That can be used by the navigation system, for example, hovering animated directional arrows over the upcoming turn. It's the equivalent, Audi says, of looking at a 70-inch display floating around 33 feet ahead of the car. A second, "closer" layer of the HUD is reserved for things like speed and battery status. In Q4 e-tron models with Adaptive Cruise Assist, the HUD shows graphics which explain what the system is doing, and when the driver might need to take over.

Freshly added is a partnership with Sonos, which provides the premium audio system for the Q4 e-tron.

For the US, a Q4 e-tron wait ahead

Europe will get the 2022 Q4 e-tron first, with the crossover going on sale in June 2021. It'll be priced from 41,900 euro ($48,700) before incentives in Germany. The 2022 Q4 Sportback e-tron will follow in the late summer, commanding a roughly 2,000 euro ($2,300) premium.

As for the US, we'll need to show a little more patience. Audi is still finalizing availability, but it's expecting the EVs to arrive toward the end of this year.

US buyers will get three models to choose between, all with the larger 77 kWh (net) battery: the 2022 Q4 40 e-tron (RWD), the 2022 Q4 50 e-tron quattro, and the 2022 Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro. Individual pricing will be confirmed closer to release, but Audi says it'll start at under $45,000 before the $7,500 federal tax incentives.