- Compact electric SUV with an EPA-estimated range of 241 miles
- Available with rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive with more power
- Impressive tech, including a revamped head-up display and industry-first Sonos audio system
- 2022 marks the debut of the Q4 e-tron
2022 Audi Q4 e-tron Packs Audi Style and Luxury Into a Small, Affordable Electric SUV
The New Q4 e-tron is an affordable luxury EV
What's powering the Q4 e-tron?
The Q4 e-tron comes standard with a 77-kWh battery pack. This is similar in capacity to those in other luxury SUVs. From there the base Q4 e-tron has a single electric motor that drives the rear wheels and produces 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. According to Audi, this single motor can motivate the Q4 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. That's underwhelming for a luxury EV, but you can opt for all-wheel drive that adds a motor at the front axle. The combined output of those motors is 295 hp and 339 lb-ft, and gets the Q4 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds.
How does the Q4 e-tron drive?
We drove the dual-motor version. While not blazing fast, acceleration is sprightly and more than what most people will need in a vehicle like this. As a complement to its power, Audi has endowed the Q4 with enjoyable handling. Our test car has the optional 20-inch all-season tires and they provided more than enough road grip to whip around a few corners, and the combination of a low center of gravity, due to those underfloor batteries, and taut suspension give it some surprising athleticism for an SUV.
The only thing that left us wanting while driving the Q4 e-tron is the amount of regenerative braking available. Regenerative braking allows the electric motors to recuperate some of the battery's spent energy as you come to a stop. You can dial this in on the fly using the Q4's steering wheel paddles, from zero regen (coasting) all the way to a max level of 3, or have it set to max regen at all times by selecting the B setting on the transmission control. Even in its max setting the Q4's regen feels a bit light and will not bring you to a complete stop like some other EVs will — a feature in EV circles that has come to be known as one-pedal driving. Audi says this is intentional to provide a smoother and more efficient driving experience, but we'd still like to have the option.
How comfortable is the Q4 e-tron?
Any luxury EV worth its lithium should place a priority on comfort, and the Q4 delivers pretty well here despite being the brand's entry-level EV. The cabin is pretty quiet thanks in part to the optional dual-pane acoustic front windows that help cut down the wind buffeting noise around the mirrors. The Q4 hardly makes any noise other than a faint amount of electric motor whine, so on some road surfaces it's nearly completely silent.
Ride comfort over highways and fairly bumpy roads is also reasonably good. But we were a bit less impressed by the seats. The front seat cushions feel a bit flat and lack lateral support, and if you have longer legs, there is no extendable thigh cushion like you might expect on a German luxury SUV. Four-way adjustable lumbar support is standard for the driver's seat (optional for front passenger), as are heated front seats, but there's no seat ventilation or massage function offered.
On the upside, climbing in and out of the Q4 is a breeze thanks to generous door openings and easy step-in heights. There's also plenty of room in back for adults. Every version comes standard with tri-zone climate control, and we like the straightforward approach of controls that consist of a row of buttons and rocker switches. The system was put to the test as temperatures climbed into the upper 90s on our drive, and it never felt like doing a good job of maintaining the temperature edit setpoint. The air vents are simple to use too, though we noted the driver's side vents point directly at where your hands are on the wheel, so before air hits your face it needs to bypass your hands first.
How's the Q4 e-tron's interior?
If comfort comes first, then quality is a close second in all things luxury. Audi always does a nice job with interior design, which really helps to elevate the feel and modernize the appearance of the cabin. Design can only take you so far, though, and a few of the areas like the plastic center console and even the natural-wood dash inlay look a little more budget than bourgeois.
But for the most part it's a nice and attractive interior and delivers that tech-forward design philosophy that Audi has built its reputation on. A 10.25-inch digital instrument panel sits in front of the driver, while the newest version of Audi's MMI infotainment interface is housed in a centrally located 10.1-inch touchscreen. It's worth noting that model year 2023 Q4s all get a larger 11.6-inch central screen, the largest screen offered from Audi to date. The screen menus have an intuitive structure, which should make finding things relatively easy, but we were also able to use the voice control system for quick tasks, like shutting off pesky voice guidance commands from the nav.
The touchscreen in the Q4 doesn't provide haptic feedback as it does in some other Audi models, so some of that tactility is lost. We're also not quite sold on Audi's move to touch-sensitive steering wheel controls. They look pretty cool, but aren't as fumble-free as the buttons and thumb wheels that Audi has traditionally used in its vehicles.
How's the Q4 e-tron's tech?
Audi's navigation systems have always been among the best in the industry, and that remains true here. The optional Virtual Cockpit puts the map right in the instrument cluster right in front of you, while the new augmented reality head-up display (HUD) projects amazing turn-by-turn directions right on the windshield. The image is designed to appear 30 feet in front of the vehicle and helps to eliminate the guesswork of when to initiate a turn. We also like the integration of the adaptive cruise system function into the HUD, which highlights the lead vehicle when the system is active.
We're fans of how Audi's advanced driver aids are tuned and implemented. The lane keeping assistance is sensitive enough to know when you have a hand resting on the wheel and doesn't require that you tug on it every minute just to prove that you're still paying attention. And all the alerts from systems like blind-spot warning are obvious but subtle enough not to startle you into awareness.
The Q4 also debuts the industry's first sound system tuned by Sonos, a company known for wireless home speakers. In the Q4, the optional 10-speaker system is not wireless, but it did provide a decently rich audio experience with no bass distortion even when maxing out the levels.
Both wireless and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are standard and worked decently well during our test drive. There are a total of four USB-C ports, two per row, for keeping devices charged as well as an optional wireless charger.
How's the Q4 e-tron's storage?
Cargo space is usually another important factor for any SUV buyer, and there's a good amount of it in the Q4. By the numbers, the Q4 has 24.8 cubic feet, which is comparable to the Genesis GV60 and Volvo XC40 Recharge, but much less than Tesla Model Y. The load floor is configurable, and when it's in its highest position, the area looks a bit small. But in that position, it creates a flat load surface when the rear seats are folded forward, and you can still store things underneath the floor and out of view. Otherwise you can drop that floor down by a few inches to maximize the depth of that area.
Up front, the Q4 offers a decent amount of small-item storage. There is a pretty sizable rubberized spot for phones or other personal effects right underneath a cantilevered control panel. This is also where the USB ports are and where the wireless charger would be should you have one. We love how Audi integrated sizable bottle holders into the doors and found them both aesthetically cool but very functional.
And if you're someone that has young kids to cart around, there's a good amount of space for car seats in back, with LATCH anchor covers that cleverly slide up out of the way, rather than popping.
How economical is the Q4 e-tron?
By official EPA estimates, the 2022 Q4 50 e-tron has 241 miles of electric range on a single charge. For 2023 those estimates have been updated.. The base rear-drive 2023 Q4 40 e-tron can make it 265 miles on a full charge while the dual-motor Q4 50 e-tron is estimated to return 236 miles. That's about the going range for luxury compact SUV EVs these days, with the Genesis GV60 offering up to 248 miles of range and the Volvo XC40 Recharge delivering around 223 miles, both of which come standard with dual electric motors. The Tesla Model Y is the only standout here; it offers more than 300 miles of range but has a significantly higher base price than the others, though it's fallen slightly short of its EPA range estimates in our real-world range testing. To date, Audi EVs have comfortably exceeded their range estimates in our testing, so we're pretty confident the Q4 will follow suit. We'll be doing some real-world range testing on the Q4 e-tron very soon. Stay tuned.
The Audi Q4 e-tron offers an interesting mix of luxury, tech and performance at a competitive price. While it's not as quick as some of its direct competitors, it's also not as expensive as some of them either. It's missing some features we'd expect in a luxury vehicle, like ventilated seats and a surround-view camera system, but has some impressive new tech like the head-up display that features augmented-reality navigation. And for those who are fans of the Volkswagen ID.4 but are frustrated with the clunky infotainment system, the Q4 e-tron offers a much better user experience encompassed in a prettier package.