- Attractive starting price
- Spacious interior
- Audi driving manners
- Base model’s 201 horsepower
- Range maxes out at 265 miles
- Rear-wheel-drive Q4 40 e-tron base model debuts
- Slightly larger infotainment touchscreen
The Audi Q4 e-tron is the newest all-electric vehicle from the German luxury brand and its second all-electric SUV after the larger e-tron. Pricing starts at $48,800.
In a matter of a decade, Audi plans for all of its cars and SUVs to be electric vehicles (EVs). It began that march several years ago with the e-tron SUV and then the e-tron GT sedan. Now there’s this, the newest electric Audi, the Q4 e-tron.
In addition to being the freshest EV in Audi’s fleet, it’s also the most approachable. Whereas its bigger SUV brother starts over $70,000, the Q4 begins under $50,000. That isn’t too far beyond the popular Audi Q5, which runs on that old-fashioned stuff called gasoline.
Like the larger e-tron, the Q4 e-tron is available in two body styles: the standard SUV or the Sportback, a more design-forward model with a sloping roofline.
The Q4 e-tron technically debuted for 2022, but that was a short model year hampered by supply-chain woes. It carries over mostly unchanged for 2023, though it does now include a larger touchscreen and the entry-level Q4 40 e-tron model.
Audi is hardly alone in becoming all-electric, and the Q4 e-tron already faces heady rivals in a growing electric SUV field that includes the Tesla
Model Y, Genesis GV60, Volvo XC40 Recharge and C40 siblings, Lexus RZ, and Cadillac Lyriq. We’d also be remiss to not at least mention the Volkswagen ID.4, a cousin to the Audi Q4 that shares its powertrain and starts over $10,000 less.
2023 Audi Q4 e-tron pricing
The 2023 Audi Q4 e-tron has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) starting at $48,800 for the SUV model and $56,800 for the Sportback. Keep in mind that the wide margin is partly due to the fact that the Sportback comes standard with the dual-motor setup. The Q4 SUV with that setup begins at $53,800. At the top, a Prestige trim starts just under $62,000.
At these prices, the Q4 is competitive with other all-electric luxury SUVs. The dominant player, the Tesla Model Y, begins quite a bit higher at $65,990, but also has significantly more range. The Volvo
XC40 Recharge and its sporty C40 sibling start in the mid-$50K range, and the Cadillac Lyriq starts just under $63,000. The Genesis GV60 is also higher at just under $59K.
Though it’s mainstream, we will point out that the Audi’s Volkswagen
cousin, the ID.4, starts at $37,495 and offers the same powertrains. And just to get a little deeper into the weeds, know that the Volkswagen is now made in America, while the Audi Q4 is made in Germany. We bring this up because, under the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, vehicles must be made in North America to qualify for the $7,500 federal EV incentive.
Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As the Q4 was just introduced last year, resale values are still unclear, but Audi vehicles generally tend to do well.
Driving the 2023 Audi Q4 e-tron
Good news: The Audi Q4 e-tron drives exactly as expected of an Audi — just one that’s powered by electrons instead of petroleum.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of piloting an Audi, you know we mean this as a compliment. Audis, whether they are SUVs, sedans, or some other body shape, have long been something like the Goldilocks of luxury vehicles. They finely straddle the sportiness of a BMW
and the comfort associated with a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. The Audi Q4 e-tron is no different.
We had the chance to be among the first to test the 2023 Audi Q4 e-tron, and were given the keys to a 50 quattro model. The 50 model is probably the one you want, as it has standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and 295 horsepower thanks to two motors. The Q4 40 has to make do with one motor powering only the rear wheels and just 201 horsepower (but it gets the most range).
Our test took us from Oceanside on the Southern California coast inland to Temecula and back around. We’ll save you the trouble of Google
Mapping this to just let you know there was a delightful mix of highways, mountain roads, and suburban traffic. And this electric Audi performed well in all, emphasizing that Audi ability to be a vehicular chameleon adept at bringing joy and involvement no matter the road.
For those counting, the Q4 50 e-tron is quick, hitting the 0-60 mph benchmark in a fleet 5.8 seconds. And as with other electric vehicles, a stab at the accelerator pedal will instantly push you back into the seat. Fun!
On the stopping front, Audi has managed to make its brakes and accompanying regeneration system feel natural — something of a feat in EVs. If you must have one-pedal driving, where the EV can come to a complete stop when you lift off the accelerator, know that isn’t part of the Q4’s repertoire. I got it down to 2 mph, then it creeped forward at that speed. Audi says this is intentional.
One idea is to keep it a driver’s car, and in that respect, we like that a tug of the steering wheel paddles can increase or decrease brake regen on the fly. Think of it as downshifting or upshifting. Various drive modes, from comfort to sport, also adeptly change the Q4’s character on the fly.
Three final notes: The Q4 is quiet and compliant. Thank that electric motor and floor-mounted battery. Even with quattro all-wheel drive, the Q4 feels like a sporty rear-drive vehicle. And finally, the tuning is said to be the same regardless of whether you choose the more traditional SUV body or Sportback design. So let your eyes, heart, and budget guide you on that choice.
Fun fact: Audi says the new 2-row Q4 has an interior space that’s almost as big as the brand’s 3-row Q7. Again, thank the ability to create an open cabin built on a flat, skateboard-like frame that houses the battery vs. something built around a combustion engine and its drivetrain.
And we’ve already mentioned another paradox within its own lineup, of the Q4 Sportback actually having slightly more cargo space than the Q4 SUV. Usually, a sloped roof means less space, but somehow Audi’s designers worked some magic. Not surprisingly, the Sportback does give up a bit of headroom to the SUV because of its sloping roof.
Up front, we found the seats very comfortable and supportive. Most of the cabin’s design execution is familiar Audi — sleek, contemporary, and minimalistic. Some bits will take getting used to or getting over, should you make this your next car.
Consider the gear shifter, which isn’t a lever but rather something of a broad toggle switch. Then there’s the emphasis on touch for doing something as simple as changing the volume. This is true even on the volume control of the steering wheel. More than once, I accidentally either muted the music or cranked it up to the disdain of the driver next to us. Sorry!
The Audi Q4 e-tron also offers a slick head-up display, but make sure it works with your sunglasses. Polarized ones made the HUD disappear in our test.
The Q4 slots between the Audi Q3 and Q5 in both name and size. It’s a tidy 180.7 inches in length, which is big enough to have a presence but small enough to be maneuverable and easy to park in a garage.
The overall design is handsome but not overstated, perhaps except for that big grille. But isn’t that the norm these days?
The standard Q4 e-tron has the familiar crossover SUV shape, while the Q4 Sportback is arguably the more stylish of the two with its sloping rear roofline. The height of the Sportback is a smidge shorter than the SUV — 64 inches versus 64.7 for the SUV — but other dimensions are the same.
Interesting design elements include the available Matrix-design headlights with digital daytime running lights. In addition to featuring startup animation, the daytime running lights can be customized to have a light signature of your choice.
1. Square-ish steering wheel
When is a steering wheel not round? When it’s square. Okay, not exactly square, but both the bottom and top of this optional steering wheel are flattened. This makes sliding your legs under the wheel easier, and it just feels great in your hands.
2. Sonos audio system
Sonos is known for its premium home audio systems, but this first automotive collaboration with Audi sounds great to our ears, delivering crispness and volume in spades.
3. Sportback model
In this era of automotive amalgamations and blurred lines in design, it’s no surprise to see this sloped-roof variant of the Q4. What is surprising is that it actually offers a bit more cargo space than the SUV model: 26.1 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 54.4 with them folded, vs. 24.8/53.1 cubic feet for the SUV model.
4. Sub-$50K starting price
In a year when the average new car price is over $48,000, it’s refreshing to have the option to buy an all-new, all-electric luxury SUV for not much more.
5. A big ’ol bottle holder
The Q4 e-tron seems made for the yoga crowd, with a nifty bottle holder built into the driver’s door. It’s deep and perfectly positioned to be within easy reach of the driver.
One motor, or two?
The Audi Q4 e-tron SUV is available with the choice of a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive (RWD) setup that makes 201 horsepower in the 40 model, or a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive (AWD) powertrain that makes 295 horsepower in the 50 model. The Audi Q4 Sportback is only available with the latter, more powerful setup.
The best range is had with the less-powerful Q4 40 model, delivering up to 265 miles between charges. The Q4 50 SUV has an estimated range of up to 236 miles, while the Sportback can go up to 242 miles. This is about average for the segment and falls between that of the pricier Tesla Model Y (up to 330 miles of range) and the Volvo XC40 Recharge (up to 223 miles of range). It’s right in line with the new Genesis GV60 and its 248 miles of range.
If accessing a DC fast charger, the Q4 can be juiced from 5% to 80% capacity in 36 minutes, according to Audi. A full recharge using an at-home 240-volt Level 2 charger can be done in as little as 7.5 hours.
The Q4 also can tow a modest amount: 2,200 pounds for the single-motor 40 model, and 2,650 for the dual-motor 50 model.
Audi Q4 e-tron 40
82-kWh lithium-ion battery
One electric motor, RWD
229 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBA
Estimated range: 265 miles
Audi Q4 e-tron 50
82-kWh lithium-ion battery
Two electric motors, AWD
339 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 97/87 MPGe (SUV), 100/89 MPGe (Sportback)
Range: 236 miles (SUV), 242 miles (Sportback)
The Audi Q4 e-tron is covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. The battery pack is guaranteed for 8 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). Additionally, new Audi models include 4 years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
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This story originally ran on KBB.com.