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2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron EV debuts Sonos audio, augmented-reality head-up display

Audi is growing fleet of electric vehicles with two new SUVs, but this new compact range's most interesting tech is inside.

The Q4 E-Tron electric SUV will be available in both regular and Sportback flavors.

Audi

After a thinly veiled conceptual peek at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show and a few camouflaged appearances, the newest and most compact member of Audi's burgeoning E-Tron family of electric vehicles makes its world debut in production guise. Meet the 2022 Audi Q4 E-Tron and the slightly racier-looking Q4 E-Tron Sportback.

The compact Q4 E-Tron SUV and its Sportback variant join today's E-Tron SUV and Sportback as well as the E-Tron GT sport sedan in what is shaping up to be the most confusing naming convention in the industry.

Depending on the spec chosen, the Q4 E-Tron boasts either a 52-kWh lithium-ion battery or a larger 77-kWh pack. The smaller battery is capable of DC fast charging at up to 100 kW. The big battery can accept up to 125 kW and, under ideal conditions, juice up from a 5% state of charge to 80% in about 38 minutes. 

Globally, Audi is offering the Q4 in six configurations between the SUV and Sportback body styles. The base Q4 35 E-Tron mates the smaller battery with a single 168 horsepower motor to send 229 pound-feet of twist to the rear axle. So equipped, the Q4 will accelerate from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in around 9 seconds. With the larger battery, single-motor output is boosted to about 201 horsepower for the midrange Q4 40 E-Tron, while the 0-62 sprint is shaved to 8.5 seconds. Both single-motor models are able to pull up to a modest 2,205-pound trailer.

Finally, the top-spec Q4 50 E-Tron Quattro steps up to dual-motor all-wheel-drive with a total output of 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. For efficiency, the front motor is only used on-demand in situations where extra grip or grunt are necessary. This most potent model hustles from 0-100 km/h in just 6.2 seconds and boasts a touch more towing capacity of 2,646 pounds.

Here in the US, we'll only get three of those configurations, all with the larger 77 kWh battery pack. For the SUV that means Q4 E-Tron 40 and the 50 Quattro. The Sportback will only arrive here in the top 50 Quattro spec.

Performance


Battery Horsepower Torque 0-100 km/h
Q4 35 E-Tron 52 kWh 168 hp 229 lb-ft 9.0 sec
Q4 40 E-Tron 77 kWh 201 hp 229 lb-ft 8.5 sec
Q4 50 E-Tron Quattro 77 kWh 295 hp 339 lb-ft 6.2 sec

We expect that when the Q4 arrives stateside, the EPA's range estimates will be lower than the more lenient European WLTP tests. So, while the preliminary range projections look promising, they should be taken with a healthy dose of salt. The entry point Q4 35 E-Tron has the shortest range of the bunch, cruising for up to 212 miles with the SUV silhouette or 217 miles for the more aerodynamic Sportback. The bigger battery extends the 40 series SUV's range to 323 miles or 328 miles for the Sportback, the longest of the bunch. With two motors to feed, Q4 E-Tron 50 Quattro models fall to mid-range with the SUV's 303 miles and 309 miles for the Sportback. 

Range (WLTP)


SUV Sportback
Q4 35 E-Tron 212 mi 217 mi
Q4 40 E-Tron 323 mi 328 mi
Q4 50 E-Tron Quattro 303 mi 309 mi

Perhaps the most interesting technology that debuts with the Q4 E-Tron is Audi's new Augmented Reality Head-Up Display (AR HUD). With a combination of enlarged projection hardware and clever optics, Audi's engineers have expanded the HUD to overlay more of the driver's field of vision with even deeper perceived depth. The result appears as the virtual equivalent of a 70-inch display projected some 33 feet ahead of the windshield.

Within this large virtual space, the Q4 is able to overlay AR graphics onto the driver's view through the windshield. Animated arrows appear above the intersection at the next turn indicated by the navigation, while the destination is marked with a virtual flag. Full-color driver assistance information, like the distance to the leading vehicle, can be marked on the road, visible even in poor weather conditions. It remains to be seen how well Audi has executed the AR accuracy, but there are a host of technologies behind the scenes working to reduce HUD latency and increase overlay accuracy -- even over bumps in the road -- so hopefully it will be a pleasant and safe experience.

Meanwhile, the physical dashboard is home to the 10.25-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster and either an optional 11.6-inch version of Audi's MMI center display -- the largest currently offered by the automaker -- or a standard 10.1-inch screen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard technologies with wireless connectivity, though Google and Apple Maps directions are not compatible with the AR HUD, which can only overlay directions from the onboard navigation.

For the Q4's premium audio option, Audi has partnered with Sonos -- the first in-car partnership for the home audio brand. The union brings Sonos' expertise in honing digital audio quality and shaping sound stages, but the Q4 won't feature the networked speaker tech that the brand is perhaps best known for in its home systems. Audi says that it's working on ways to bring that element of the Sonos experience on the road. I'm not sure you need multi-room music streaming in a car, but future integration with Sonos' app would be a good starting point.

The new Augmented Reality HUD virtually overlays turn-by-turn directions and driver aid info over the road ahead.

Audi

Despite the short 180.6-inch overall length, the interior should offer decent legroom thanks to the generous 108.8-inch wheelbase and compact EV platform with minimal cabin intrusions. Audi is particularly proud of the Q4's unique armrest bottle holders in the doors that can fit up to a 1-liter beverage upright and within easy reach. Speaking of bottles, each of the E-Tron's seats use around 26 recycled 1.5-liter PET bottles in their construction. Neat.

Out back, the SUV chassis boasts 18.4 cubic feet for cargo, which expands to 52.6 cubes with the second row folded flat. Sportback models fit between 18.9 and 51.6 cubic feet beneath their reconfigured liftback. Like the larger E-Tron, there doesn't appear to be an underhood "frunk."

Of course, this wouldn't be a new Audi model without some innovation in lighting technology. The Q4 E-Tron is the first Audi to feature a user-customizable light signature for the daytime running lights. But don't get too excited; there are only four patterns to choose from the in-dash MMI system and they're not dramatically different from one another. Plus, the technology is rolled in with the Audi Matrix LED adaptive headlights which is still not legal in the US and so won't be active here. Audi says that if the law changes, it'll be able to activate the tech post-purchase via an over-the-air update.

Audi's designers are particularly proud of this in-door drink nook which can swallow up to a one-liter bottle for easy access.

Audi

Rounding out the rear of the vehicle is a full-width LED light strip, which previously only featured on Audi's larger models. The headlamps and taillights will feature wake up and departure animations, a cool touch that makes approaching the vehicle feel special.

The all-new Audi Q4 E-Tron SUV and Sportback have already begun production ramping to hit dealerships in Europe in June 2021. Pricing in Germany starts at EUR 41,900 (around $50,000 US) with Sportback variants commanding a EUR 2,000 (about $2,388) premium due to more standard equipment, such as the power liftback, Audi Drive Select and more. The compact EV should make landfall in the US sometime in the Fall, though specific pricing and availability haven't yet been announced.