Audi is certainly on board with the EV revolution sweeping the auto industry today teasing a concept car it plans to show at Auto Shanghai 2021 later this month while rolling out two new e-tron models available right now.
The teaser pic shows just the fire engine red front end of a concept, and there’s enough in the photo to make some educated guesses about what’s to come. First and foremost, it’s an EV given the “e-tron” badge nestled under what used to be a grille but is now more commonly being described as a vehicle’s face.
Additionally, the low-slung hood suggests its fairly low to the ground, which was seemingly take it out the SUV or even Sportback realm that the premium brand likes to play — see more on that in a few paragraphs — in these days. Because of that, safe money is on a sedan of some sort. It’s a fairly wide-looking picture so bigger than an A3 or A4. Also the current A5 isn’t offered as a sedan so it would be a way to fill a gap.
More and more e-trons
For Audi fans who want to see an electrified model from the German brand now, the company provided two pieces of good news this week: the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. Both models are ready for “today’s progressive luxury consumer” later this year.
In fact, officials boldly proclaim “Audi plans to have more fully electric models on sale in the U.S. than any other luxury brand by the end of 2021.” The two new models seemingly support that assertion while offering Audi’s usual mix of simple, elegant muscular style and performance.
“The Q4 e-tron models bring design characteristics that impress thanks to the striking proportions — enclosed singleframe grille, short front overhangs, large wheels with staggered tires, and powerfully sculpted, muscular panels,” the company noted in a statement.
The new Q4 e-tron
The more traditional-looking all-electric Q4 SUV retains the brand’s clean exterior aesthetic that suggests power and performance without ostentatiousness. However, where the Q4 shines is on the interior, offering room comparable to Audi’s slightly larger Q5 SUV.
Skateboard-style underpinnings of the all-electric Q4 allow for the additional room. The elimination of the transmission tunnel and architecture strength allows Audi to push the wheels out the corners a bit more while eliminating the transmission tunnel. This provides much more space for “intelligent storage solutions.”
Further enhancing the impressive cabin is a spate of the latest technological offerings sitting at the driver’s finger tips. The infotainment and navigation systems operate through a 10.1-inch touchscreen, which partners with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster to give the driver all of the information they could want easily and quickly.
Unsurprisingly on a vehicle in this segment, the integrated surround view cameras make for easy parking or exiting and an available head-up display makes needed driving information simple for the driver to see while on the road.
The Q4 Sportback
For drivers who want the capability and performance of the Q4 SUV, but not in such a large package, the Q4 Sportback answers the call. With a drag coefficient of just 0.26, it’s among the most slippery vehicles prowling the roads today.
The difference is easily spotted, especially with the sloping roofline at the rear of the Q4 Sportback. Fortunately the smaller, more compact look doesn’t cut down — much — of the ample interior cabin space. The low coupe-style roofline ends in an expressively designed rear where the spoiler sits deep on the two-part window. It also ends most the substantive differences between the two vehicles. Like on the Q4 SUV, Audi brings a new partner into the vehicle — the Sonos premium sound system which combines lifestyle, technology, and design in a new dimension.
The entry-level Q4 40 e-tron produces an estimated output of 150 kW, while the top-of-the-range Q4 50 e-tron quattro and Q4 Sportback 50 e-tron quattro offer two electric motors with all-wheel drive. The combination of the two motors delivers a maximum estimated output of 220 kW.
For efficiency, the motor on the front axle comes into action only when high power or a strong grip is needed, with the electric all-wheel drive featuring a temporary on-demand asynchronous motor (ASM) for the front wheels.
An asynchronous motor’s key advantage, especially on the front axle, is that it does not use any energy when it is not needed and does not add load resistance, keeping efficiency similar to that of the rear-wheel-drive Q4 40 e-tron. The second motor also helps provide more of the instant torque that so many EV aficionados enjoy.
The two vehicles get about 250 miles on a full charge, officials note, adding that’s an estimate as the actual certification hasn’t been completed yet. Once empty, the two models can be charged with different outputs using alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) — up to 11 kW with AC, and up to 125 kW DC on a high-speed charger.
The 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron are expected to arrive in the U.S. toward the end of 2021. The company isn’t providing specifics on pricing, but did note the “Q4 e-tron model line is planned to start under $45,000 and it is anticipated that it may qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives as well as possible local and state tax incentives, depending on the owner’s municipality.”